JACKSON, Miss., Nov. 1, 2011 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Mississippi is home for Nancy Kynerd, but several years ago, after being diagnosed with cancer, she sold her house and moved to Utah to be near her children. When they later decided to relocate, Ms. Kynerd decided it was time to return home to Mississippi.

She returned to her home state in early 2011 and rented a place to live while she searched for a home that fit her budget. After looking at several properties, she decided on a house in Clinton.

"It needed some work, so at first I wasn't sure about it, but I liked the floor plan. And since I've been able to get some of the work done, I really like it now," she said.

Out-of-pocket expenses connected to the purchase of her home could have quickly stretched her budget to the breaking point if not for the financial help she received through the Homebuyer Equity Leverage Partnership (HELP) grant program from BankPlus and the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas (FHLB Dallas). Ms. Kynerd received a $7,000 HELP grant and was also able to leverage the HELP grant with another statewide grant for first-time homebuyers.

"It was a substantial amount and it was a big help," she said.

HELP grants assist income-qualified, first-time homebuyers with down payment and closing costs. The funds are available through FHLB Dallas member institutions, such as BankPlus. In 2011, FHLB Dallas awarded $1.7 million in HELP funds through its members. HELP grant recipients can receive up to $5,000 in grant money, but that amount can increase up to $7,000 if a member, or another mortgage lender, contributes at least $350 toward costs associated with providing the mortgage to the homeowner.

Ms. Kynerd, a 69-year-old retired physical therapist, learned about the HELP grant program through family friend Mark Ouellette, first vice president and director of Affordable Housing at BankPlus in Jackson, Mississippi. "When he told me about it, I immediately told my realtor," Ms. Kynerd said.

The process of obtaining the grant was simple with the help of BankPlus.

"I was happy to learn that Ms. Kynerd was coming home to Mississippi," said Mr. Ouellette. "After meeting with her and reviewing her information, I was pleased to inform her of the grants she potentially qualified for. The HELP grant has a significant impact on a borrower's ability to purchase a home. I have been fortunate to use this grant to help many families realize the dream of homeownership."

Since 2002, nearly $750,000 in HELP grant funds have been awarded through BankPlus to assist nearly 125 first-time homebuyers with their down payment and closing costs.

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 $31.4 billion as of September 30, 2011, 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 website at fhlb.com.

The Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas logo is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/newsroom/prs/?pkgid=3013

About BankPlus

BankPlus, with total assets of more than $2.2 billion, has over 60 banking offices in 33 Mississippi communities. In addition to its Belzoni Main Office, other BankPlus offices are located in Bentonia, Brandon, Byram, Canton, Clinton, D'Iberville, Durant, Flora, Flowood, Gluckstadt, Hernando, Holly Bluff, Horn Lake, Isola, Jackson, Lexington, Madison, Meridian, Newton, Olive Branch, Pearl, Picayune, Pickens, Poplarville, Quitman, Ridgeland, Shubuta, Southaven, Stonewall, Tchula, Waynesboro and Yazoo City. For additional information on BankPlus, please visit http://www.bankplus.net/">www.BankPlus.net.

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