NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark., June 8, 2010 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- At 24, Matthew Duvall is already a homeowner, thanks in part to a Homebuyer Equity Leverage Partnership (HELP) grant facilitated by First Financial Bank in North Little Rock, Arkansas.

HELP grants are awarded to income-qualified, first-time homebuyers by the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas (FHLB Dallas). FHLB Dallas member institutions, such as First Financial Bank, distribute HELP grants to assist qualified recipients with down payment and/or closing costs on a new or existing home. 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 towards costs associated with providing the mortgage to the homeowner, the homeowner is eligible to receive up to $7,000 in grant funds.

Mr. Duvall, a college graduate from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, moved to Little Rock after college to accept a job with the Arkansas Repertory Theatre. Mr. Duvall said he has been with the company for about a year and a half and was living in company-provided housing.

"I wanted to make an investment for myself, and I took this opportunity to own my home rather than continue living in company housing or renting from someone else," said Mr. Duvall. "It's an investment for my future, and homeownership will provide me stability and I'll be able to earn equity on my investment."

Mr. Duvall was recommended to Carla Nettles, branch manager at First Financial Bank in North Little Rock, for homebuyer assistance. Mr. Duvall said when he first met with Ms. Nettles, he had no knowledge of the HELP program.

"I initially met with Carla to review my finances to see if I could qualify for a home loan," said Mr. Duvall. "As a graduation gift, my family had given me money to help with the down payment on a home, and Carla suggested the HELP grant as an option."

Ms. Nettles said she just started using the HELP program in 2010, and felt that Mr. Duvall was a perfect candidate. 

"Matthew was trying to get all of his finances together so that he could cover his initial costs and be approved for a loan," said Ms. Nettles. "The HELP grant ended up being a perfect option. It gave him the extra funds he needed to fill the gap, and he was able to comfortably afford the closing costs and monthly mortgage on his new home."

Mr. Duvall was awarded a $2,600 HELP grant, and closed on a four-bedroom, 2.5 bathroom home in North Little Rock on April 30. He was moved in by early May. Mr. Duvall said his home is in a quiet neighborhood, with a mix of young professionals, families, and retired couples.

"The HELP grant really helped me purchase a home that was in better condition," said Mr. Duvall. "HELP is such a great program, and I have recommended it and First Financial Bank to several other first-time homebuyers."

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

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