updated 8/31/2010 12:17:14 PM ET 2010-08-31T16:17:14

ARKADELPHIA, Ark., Aug. 31, 2010 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- When it was time for Ruggles-Wilcox Funeral Home to replace two of its vehicles, Mike Wilcox approached Summit Bank for assistance.

Mr. Wilcox is a loyal, long-time customer of Summit Bank and has worked with many of its bankers for more than 30 years. Mr. Wilcox learned about the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas's (FHLB Dallas) Economic Development Program (EDP) and the Economic Development Program Plus (EDPPlus) when discussing small business banking options with his banker.

A few months later when Mr. Wilcox applied for assistance to purchase two Cadillac sedans for the funeral home, he revisited the qualifications for the EDP and EDPPlus programs. He was able to qualify for a favorably priced loan from Summit Bank and a $12,000 EDPPlus grant through FHLB Dallas.

Through EDP, FHLB Dallas provides favorably priced advances to its member institutions, such as Summit Bank, in order to support economic development and community revitalization projects that are qualified by location, income, or consumer demographics. If a member institution is approved for an EDP advance, the member's customer may then be eligible for an accompanying EDPPlus grant. EDPPlus grants are noncompetitive and available on a first-come, first-served basis to promote and enhance small business development in underserved areas or to underserved populations. Through its member institutions, FHLB Dallas has awarded $1 million in EDPPlus grants in 2010.

"Our goal is to run through our maximum EDPPlus allocation each year," said Chris Wewers, executive vice president and chief financial officer at Summit Bank.  "We want to support local businesses in any way possible.  Local businesses provide jobs and drive revenue for our city, which benefits our community as a whole.  As long as the programs are available, it's a great way for us to look out for the best interests of our clients."

Ruggles-Wilcox Funeral Home has been in operation since 1905 and is located one block off of Main Street in Arkadelphia. Originally founded as Murry Funeral Home, Mr. W. K. Ruggles, Mr. Murry L. Ruggles, and Mr. Wilcox have owned the funeral home together since 1980. They employ seven full-time and two part-time employees that provide medical, professional, administrative, and case management services.

"With this economy, I was just looking for funding options that were available to small business owners," said Mr. Wilcox. "Through the years, I have developed personal relationships with the people at Summit Bank, and I trust them to give me the best option for my business. There are a total of four funeral homes in our town, and it's very competitive. It's important for us to keep up-to-date, and it was time to replace our cars to better accommodate our customers. The loan and grant funds definitely helped us make the purchase."

Mr. Wilcox said Summit Bank has been a tremendous partner for him over the years. He said they also referred him to Henderson State University's Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center to develop a business plan summary. Kelly Massey, business consultant at the development center, worked with Mr. Wilcox and helped him qualify for the EDPPlus grant.

"I just can't say enough good things about Summit Bank and the Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center," said Mr. Wilcox. "Both organizations significantly helped me receive the loan and grant funds. Their work is much appreciated, and I would highly recommend them, along with the FHLB Dallas EDPPlus program, to any small business owner."

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 $57.1 billion as of June 30, 2010, 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

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