BLYTHEVILLE, Ark., May 20, 2010 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — At 25 years old, Monica Reed never thought she would be a homeowner. But with the help of a $5,000 grant from the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas (FHLB Dallas) and Southern Bancorp Bank of Blytheville, she is now a proud homeowner.

“I was lucky to get the grant,” said Ms. Reed, a factory worker in Blytheville, Arkansas. She closed on her three-bedroom, one-and-a-half bath home on April 20. “The grant helped me because I was able to pay my closing costs and use the other portion as a down payment so my note wasn’t so high. I got my note where it needed to be.”

Ms. Reed had been renting for five years, but wanted a larger home for her and her 5-year-old son. Her realtor told her about a program through the Mississippi County, Arkansas, Economic Opportunity Commission, Inc. (MCAEOC) that could help her with her down payment and closing costs.

MCAEOC began working with Southern Bancorp Bank in 2010 to utilize FHLB Dallas’s Homebuyer Equity Leverage Partnership (HELP) program. HELP assists income-qualified, first-time homebuyers with down payment and closing costs. Each HELP recipient is eligible to receive up to $5,000. The amount may be increased to $7,000 if a member financial institution or another mortgage lender contributes at least $350 toward costs associated with providing the mortgage to the homeowner. In 2010, FHLB Dallas has set aside $3 million for HELP. The grants are awarded through participating member financial institutions, such as Southern Bancorp Bank of Blytheville.

“Southern Bancorp is a very proud participant in the Homebuyer Equity Leverage Partnership program.  This program fits our mission statement, which is ‘Building Communities. Changing Lives,'” said Jerry T. Sims, regional chief executive officer for Southern Bancorp.

In order to access the grants, MCAEOC requires potential homeowners to attend classes about buying a home, keeping a home, managing money, and other relevant topics.

“It’s a great program; it’s really accessible and really filling the gap with the homeowners as far as the need they have for down payment and closing costs assistance,” said Shirley Marshall, housing director at MCAEOC. “The grant supplied Ms. Reed with the necessary closing costs to purchase the home that she is now in. It’s a good program and I am really looking forward to doing more of the grants. I think HELP is a lot more accessible than some of the other down payment assistance programs, and it’s needed because people are in need of down payment assistance.”

For more information about FHLB Dallas programs, contact the Corporate Communications Department at 214.441.8445.

About the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas

The Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas is one of 12 district banks in the FHLBank System created by Congress in 1932.  FHLB Dallas, with total assets of $58.7 billion as of March 31, 2010, is a member-owned cooperative that supports housing and community development by providing competitively priced advances and other credit products to more than 900 members and associated institutions in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, and Texas.  For more information, visit the FHLB Dallas web site at fhlb.com.

The Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas logo is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/newsroom/prs/?pkgid=3013

CONTACT: Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas
Corporate Communications
(214) 441-8445
www.fhlb.com