With more companies requiring returning employees to get vaccinated, Neat Loans, a Colorado-based digital mortgage lender that’s licensed in 11 states, is offering a $500 discount to loan applicants who have received a COVID-19 vaccine.

“Neat believes that vaccinated individuals are making a crucial impact on the wellbeing of our community,” the company said in announcing the discount on closing costs to vaccinated applicants for purchase loans or refinancing.

The offer is also available to unvaccinated borrowers who say they can’t get vaccinated due to a health condition or their religious beliefs. Neat says it will help any loan applicants who want to be vaccinated get free access to a vaccine if they haven’t been able to yet because they lack access to healthcare, childcare or transportation.

There’s a practical reason from the lender’s standpoint for applicants to get vaccinated, said Luke Johnson, CEO of parent company Neat Capital, which announced a $22.5 million Series B funding round in January.

“Mortgage lenders need to have important conversations with their clients about the home-buying process and their vaccine status as it relates to employment,” Johnson said in a statement. “This is partly due to responsible companies requiring employees be vaccinated to keep workplaces safe, and employment status is critical when trying to fund a home loan.”

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) published guidance on COVID-19 vaccines on Dec. 16, 2020, saying that under federal law, companies can require employees to get vaccinated before returning to work.

In some cases, employers must make “reasonable accommodations” for employees who do not get vaccinated due to a disability, religious beliefs or pregnancy. Companies might consider allowing unvaccinated employees to return to the workplace if they wear a mask, socially distance or work a modified shift, the EEOC advised.

A few real estate companies including Corcoran, Brown Harris Stevens, Redfin, Related Companies and the Durst Organization have announced mandatory vaccine policies for returning workers. This week, Keller Williams co-founder Gary Keller urged real estate professionals to get COVID-19 vaccines and wear masks.

Email Matt Carter

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