BLYTHEVILLE, Ark., June 30, 2010 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Theresa Metcalf has been telling everyone about her new home, and the grant program that helped her get into the home.

Ms. Metcalf, a 41-year-old single mother of six, heard about the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas’s (FHLB Dallas’s) Homebuyer Equity Leverage Partnership (HELP) program through her job as a substitute teacher for a Head-Start program in Blytheville, Arkansas.

After “years and years and years” of renting a house, Ms. Metcalf decided it was time to buy her own home. She attended homeownership classes through the Mississippi County, Arkansas, Economic Opportunity Commission, Inc. (MCAEOC), which enabled her to qualify for a $4,000 HELP grant that assisted with the down payment and closing costs on her home. The grant was issued through Southern Bancorp Bank of Blytheville, an FHLB Dallas member financial institution.

“I am so pleased with my new home,” Ms. Metcalf said. “I love the HELP program. It will help a lot of deserving people who couldn’t get that extra money. If it wasn’t for the HELP program, I probably wouldn’t have been able to buy the house. I love the program. I tell everyone about it.”

HELP, a first-time homebuyers’ program available through FHLB Dallas member institutions, provides grant funds to assist income-qualified, first-time homebuyers with down payment and/or closing costs on new or existing homes. In 2010, FHLB Dallas set aside $3 million in HELP funds, and each HELP recipient is eligible to receive up to $5,000. If a member financial institution contributes at least $350 toward costs associated with providing the mortgage, the homeowner is eligible to receive up to $7,000 in grant funds.

“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.

For Ms. Metcalf, the grant reduced the out-of-pocket costs to get her into the home. “The grant helped me a lot,” she said. “I have a low income and I didn’t have all of the money for the move-in costs. I’ve been telling people about you — all the mothers with kids who need help — I would tell anybody about it.”

The MCAEOC began working with Southern Bancorp Bank this year to utilize FHLB Dallas’s HELP program. 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.

“Thanks to FHLB Dallas and the HELP grant, we are a part of making homeownership dreams a reality in Mississippi County,” said Shirley Marshall, housing director at MCAEOC. “Many individuals would not have the opportunity to become homeowners without being provided the down payment and closing costs. We are very happy to sponsor the program. We have a good working relationship with Southern Bancorp as well, and feel that we are making a difference in our community.”

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 here.

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