FORT SMITH, Ark., July 23, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Feliciano Soriano, 37, wanted to move his family of five from a cramped apartment to a single-family home. But, after paying his monthly bills, Mr. Soriano could not save for a down payment. Then he heard from a friend about the Homebuyer Equity Leverage Partnership (HELP) program through First Financial Bank, a member of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas (FHLB Dallas).
He turned to the Crawford-Sebastian Community Development Council (Crawford-Sebastian CDC) for more information about HELP.
"The HELP grants are crucial for these first-time homebuyers," said Griselda Perez, housing counseling manager at Crawford-Sebastian CDC. "Some of our clients are living paycheck to paycheck, and saving for a down payment is nearly impossible for them. The goal of homeownership is unattainable without a down payment. This problem is solved with the assistance of the HELP grants."
HELP grants are offered by FHLB Dallas through its member financial institutions, like First Financial Bank, to assist income-qualified, first-time homebuyers with down payments and closing costs on newly constructed or existing homes.
First Financial Bank works with the Crawford-Sebastian CDC, a community action agency working to improve the lives of low-income individuals and families by helping them achieve self-sufficient living.
"Homeownership is still the dream of many people, and experiencing the process with homebuyers continues to be the most rewarding part of our job here at First Financial Bank," said Sherry Holden, branch manager at First Financial Bank. "The HELP program has and will continue to make the dream of homeownership a reality for these buyers."
Mr. Soriano was awarded a $6,000 HELP grant that was applied toward the down payment of a three-bedroom home in Fort Smith. "My wife and children are happier living in the new house," he said. "The kids especially like having a bigger space. It's better than the apartment."
In 2015, FHLB Dallas made $1 million available for the HELP program on a first-come, first-served basis, just as it did in 2014. To date in 2015, First Financial has been awarded $29,985 in HELP grants to assist five income-qualified, first-time homebuyers.
"HELP is another avenue for our members to fund affordable housing opportunities in their communities," said Greg Hettrick, vice president and director of Community Investment at FHLB Dallas. "We are glad to be a partner with our members in that endeavor."
Owning a home has been a dream come true for the Soriano family.
Mr. Soriano said his wife and three daughters are so happy and excited to say "Nuestra Casa" — a statement of pride in ownership that means "our home."
About First Financial Bank
First Financial Bank first opened in 1934 in El Dorado, Arkansas. With mortgage office locations in Arkansas (Conway, El Dorado, Fayetteville, Fort Smith, Jonesboro, Little Rock and North Little Rock) and Mississippi (Carthage and Senatobia), First Financial Bank is a locally-owned, locally-managed bank, dedicated to providing the very best financial services. Our in-house team of experts is very experienced in the local market and will work closely with you throughout the entire process. Get the terms you're comfortable with - available through our wide range of financing options. For more information, visit ffb1.com.
About the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas
The Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas is one of 11 district banks in the FHLBank System created by Congress in 1932. FHLB Dallas, with total assets of $36.9 billion as of March 31, 2015, is a member-owned cooperative that supports housing and community investment by providing competitively priced loans and other credit products to approximately 865 members and associated institutions in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, and Texas. For more information, visit fhlb.com.
Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas
SOURCE Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas