Program provides up to $12,000 for minority and low-to-moderate income home buyers
Little Rock, Ark. – Southern Bancorp Community Partners (SBCP), a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) and affiliate of Southern Bancorp, Inc., today announced a down payment assistance program designed to help remove barriers from the home buying process for minority and low-to-moderate income (LMI) individuals and families.
The “Wealth Builders for Everyone Down Payment Assistance Program” will offer up to $12,000 as a forgivable loan that eligible prospective home buyers may use toward their down payment, prepaids, and closing costs. The program is the product of a collaboration between SBCP, the nonprofit, loan fund, and financial development arm of Southern Bancorp, Inc., and the institution’s growing mortgage division.
“Owning a home is one of the most important ways to build generational wealth and break cycles of poverty, but for too long there have been barriers to entry for Black and Brown families and in underserved communities,” said Kenya Davenport, Interim President of SBCP. “This down payment assistance will support our continued efforts to close these long-standing wealth gaps, creating more accessible and affordable paths to homeownership.”
The down payment assistance program features a zero percent interest rate, zero dollar monthly payment, and staggered loan forgiveness at 20 percent per year; the loan is fully forgiven at five years if all criteria are met. The program will also prepare borrowers with HUD-Approved Homebuyer Education, a unique service provided by SBCP’s HUD-Certified Housing Counselors. Qualifications are intentionally direct, so as to make an immediate impact for individuals who most need it; eligibility guidelines focus on assisting LMI home buyers, minority families, and other traditionally underserved communities.
Southern Bancorp has a physical banking footprint that spans Arkansas and Mississippi, and in 2023 began the expansion of its mortgage division to provide equitable mortgage solutions to more families throughout the entire South, building out a team of experienced lenders and support staff across the region – from San Antonio to Atlanta.
This mortgage team operates under the mission-focused framework of the CDFI, purpose-driven to help reduce the homeownership gap in communities within its reach. According to the U.S. Department of the Treasury, the homeownership rates for Black and Hispanic households are around 30 points lower than for white households nationally, a demographic discrepancy that is often even wider in underserved communities, particularly in the South.
“Our mission is to be a bridge to financial opportunity, regardless of one’s zip code or financial position,” said Jeremy Davis, Southern Bancorp’s President of Mortgage. “Programs like this represent our ongoing commitment to this mission by helping more people become homeowners in the places we serve, especially those who otherwise may not have access to such opportunities.”
About Southern Bancorp
Founded in 1986 by some of the nation’s leading political, business, and philanthropic leaders with an initial investment of $10 million, Southern Bancorp, Inc., along with its development partners – Southern Bancorp Bank and Southern Bancorp Community Partners – has grown into a $2.5 billion asset organization with 56 locations serving 65,000 customers across two states. Southern Bancorp has a unique array of financial products and services designed to help individuals at all stages of life’s financial journey – from teaching kids how to save to helping entrepreneurs and families realize the American Dream. Southern Bancorp is a certified Community Development Financial Institution, certified B-Corp, and proud member of the Global Alliance for Banking on Values. Learn more at www.BankSouthern.com and www.SouthernPartners.org.