NEW ORLEANS, Aug. 28, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Community lenders along the Gulf Coast rose to a challenge that began 10 years ago tomorrow, and at times, seemed insurmountable — helping their communities rebound after two hurricanes caused more than $150 billion in damages.
After crucial levees failed in New Orleans, approximately 80 percent of the city was flooded, leaving a huge financial burden on the city and a huge onus for community financial institutions to fill the void.
Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas President and CEO Sanjay Bhasin reflected on the collaborative work of FHLB Dallas members to help the region.
"FHLB Dallas served as an important source of liquidity for members in those affected areas. In such a time of turmoil, lenders knew they needed to do all that they could to support their communities," Mr. Bhasin said. "Member institutions from our five-state District and beyond joined together to ensure appropriate resources were available. The rebuilding and restoration continues to this day. We are honored to have helped alleviate suffering and bring about healing."
FHLB Dallas' District spans Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, and Texas.
Soon after Hurricane Katrina's landfall on August 29, 2005, FHLB Dallas established a disaster relief grant program that provided $3 million in funding for housing across Louisiana, Mississippi, and later Texas, after the impact of Hurricane Rita on September 24, 2005.
Community lenders, like Fifth District Savings Bank, were able to serve the greater New Orleans area in its time of greatest need.
"We were able to help a lot of people with the funding that the Federal Home Loan Bank put out," said Brian North, senior vice president at Fifth District Savings Bank. "We wouldn't be where we are today as a community without the support of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas and so many other people and organizations who opened their hearts and wallets to help."
In addition to the housing grants, an additional $1.3 million was provided to assist small businesses, and a special allocation of $200,000 was awarded to nonprofits in the affected areas.
"After 10 years, the most immediate thought for me and many here is to express thanks to the many people, churches, and institutions for the tremendous help extended to those in need," said Robert Taylor, president of the Louisiana Bankers Association. "Left only to ourselves, the recovery would be very limited. Financial resources, and the most critically needed item, hope, were generously given."
Funding for New Orleans and the Gulf Coast has continued during the last decade through FHLB Dallas' Affordable Housing Program (AHP). This program annually awards 10 percent of FHLB Dallas' profits to affordable housing and community investment projects for very low- to moderate-income families. For example, from 2006 to 2008, scoring criteria of the annual AHP competitive grants allowed more points to be awarded if a project was located in an area eligible for FEMA Individual Assistance due to either Hurricane Katrina or Rita.
"The members have really backed their colleagues and friends in New Orleans and the region," said Greg Hettrick, vice president and director of Community Investment at FHLB Dallas. "It is incredibly rewarding to work with professionals dedicated to doing the right thing."
New Orleans has hosted a myriad of programs, observances, parades in the weeks leading up to the 10th anniversary. On the day of Katrina's landfall a decade ago — August 29 — New Orleans' Mayor Mitch Landrieu will convene a Day of Service to pair volunteers with projects around the city, along with multiple Katrina 10 events. President Barack Obama visited with residents August 28 of the once-devastated Lower 9th Ward and delivered a speech from a new community center there.
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 $42.6 billion as of June 30, 2015, is a member-owned cooperative that supports housing and community development by providing competitively priced advances and other credit products to approximately 865 members and associated institutions in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, and Texas.
Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas
SOURCE Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas