EL PASO, Texas, April 1, 2010 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Owning her own home has been a longtime dream for Araceli Velez. A $5,000 Homebuyer Equity Leverage Partnership (HELP) grant from the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas (FHLB Dallas) and United Bank El Paso del Norte helped Ms. Velez make her dream a reality.

Until she became a homeowner, Ms. Velez rented mobile homes when she could afford it, and lived with her mother when she could not. For the three months prior to her home purchase, Ms. Velez said that she, her husband, and her three children were living in one room at her mother's house. There, her children sometimes had to sleep on the floor.

"We are very happy to have something that is ours," said Ms. Velez, adding that she wanted to thank everyone who made the grant possible. She and her children, ages 3, 12, and 15, along with her husband, Raul Vega, now have a three-bedroom, two-bath home that they can call their own.

Ms. Velez said her mother and another woman involved with affordable housing programs referred her to El Paso Collaborative for homebuyer assistance. There, the nonprofit obtained a HELP grant for Ms. Velez through FHLB Dallas member United Bank El Paso del Norte. Together, El Paso Collaborative and United Bank El Paso del Norte have provided 17 HELP grants to qualified, low-income El Paso residents.  

"On a daily basis, we have people calling in to see what help is out there," said Lorraine Frias, project coordinator at El Paso Collaborative. "There is a significant need in our area and these funds are put to good use."

Jessica Margherio-Alvarez, vice president of commercial lending at United Bank El Paso del Norte, said the bank is pleased to be helping families achieve the American dream.

"There are a lot of people who wouldn't be homebuyers if they didn't have this kind of assistance," said Ms. Margherio-Alvarez.  "Buying a home is expensive, but the grant funds make it more affordable for hard-working members of the community."

In 2009, FHLB Dallas, through its members, awarded nearly $3.2 million in HELP and subsequent HELP II grants throughout its five-state District, including nearly $1.2 million in Texas. HELP II was a special, one-time allocation in 2009 because of overwhelming demand for the funds. Each HELP recipient is eligible to receive $5,000. The amount may be increased up 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.

For more information about FHLB Dallas programs, please 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 $65.1 billion as of December 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

About United Bank El Paso del Norte

United Bank El Paso del Norte was founded in May 2000 by a group of local businessmen and women to serve the El Paso community. During its short history, it has expanded into three locations and has a fourth branch planned. It operates as a locally owned and operated financial institution, offering an array of financial services to small- and midsized business owners and professional practices, including personal and business loans and Internet banking. The bank has $140 million in total assets. Visit the bank's web site at unitedelpaso.com for more information.

Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas
Corporate Communications
(214) 441-8445