DALLAS, Aug. 4, 2009 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- A $5,000 Homebuyer Equity Leverage Partnership (HELP) grant from the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas (FHLB Dallas) was awarded to Lloyd Videau, a first-time homebuyer in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The grant, made available through Whitney Bank, helped Mr. Videau achieve his dream of homeownership.

Mr. Videau, a 59-year-old executive chef at a Baton Rouge hotel, has been saving money for a home but could not afford the increasing costs that come with becoming a homeowner. Homeowners insurance, in particular, has almost doubled over the last few years, and closing costs have skyrocketed because of four hurricanes that have struck the area in recent years.

In search of help, Mr. Videau went to Whitney Bank and learned about various programs that could help him with the purchase of a home. He was thrilled to hear that he was eligible to receive a HELP grant and that his dream of owning a home would soon become reality.

"I am married with four kids and have been trying to get out of apartments for many years," said Mr. Videau. "The HELP grant allowed me to buy a home for my family. Without the grant, I wouldn't be able to afford it."

Brandy Blankenship, Community Development Assistant at Whitney Bank, submitted the funding request for Mr. Videau's HELP grant.

"Submitting the grant request to the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas is a very easy process," said Brandy Blankenship, Community Development Assistant at Whitney Bank. "Everybody at FHLB Dallas is extremely helpful, and the funding always comes very quickly. The recipients want to close as soon as possible, so the timely manner in which funding is made available is always appreciated."

Gloria Winchester, Community Mortgage Lender at Whitney National Bank, works with first-time homebuyers in need of financial assistance, and was also involved in funding Mr. Videau's grant. Most of her clients, including Mr. Videau, are required to attend a first-time homebuyers program in order to receive a grant. By participating in this program, potential homeowners receive information about obtaining and maintaining a home, budgeting, and various other tips that will help them with the purchasing process.

Along with income and counseling requirements, FHLB Dallas also requires that homebuyers contribute at least $500 of their own funds toward the required down payment or closing costs. After making his required contribution, Mr. Videau received his $5,000 HELP grant from FHLB Dallas.

In addition to the HELP grant, Mr. Videau also qualified for a $4,000 grant from the Louisiana Housing Finance Agency (LHFA), a state bond program that offers assistance to income-qualified individuals. The $4,000 provided by the LHFA was able to cover the 3.5 percent down payment required by the Federal Housing Administration, and the $5,000 HELP grant assisted with closing costs.

In 2009, FHLB Dallas set aside $2 million of its annual Affordable Housing Program (AHP) for HELP to assist income-qualified, first-time homebuyers with down payment and closing costs. Each HELP recipient is eligible to receive $5,000. The amount increases 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.

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 $68.7 billion as of March 31, 2009, is a member-owned cooperative that supports housing and community development by providing competitively priced loans 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

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