updated 5/24/2011 3:16:48 PM ET 2011-05-24T19:16:48

VICKSBURG, Miss., May 24, 2011 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas (FHLB Dallas) and BancorpSouth are pleased to announce they have awarded a $198,000 Affordable Housing Program (AHP) grant to the city of Vicksburg to assist 18 first-time homebuyers with down payment and closing costs. The grant funds will help income-qualified homebuyers purchase a new or existing home within the city limits of Vicksburg, Mississippi.

The City of Vicksburg has utilized AHP funding since 1997, and has received nine grants totaling more than $1 million. These funds have assisted 167 homebuyers with purchasing a home. 

AHP funds are available through FHLB Dallas member institutions, such as BancorpSouth, to assist in the development of affordable, owner-occupied and rental housing for very low- to moderate-income households primarily across FHLB Dallas's five-state District of Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, and Texas. Each year, FHLB Dallas returns 10 percent of its profits to support the AHP. In 2010, FHLB Dallas awarded $18.5 million through its member institutions in the form of AHP grants, the largest amount in any single year since the program's inception in 1990. Approximately $6.2 million of the 2010 AHP funds were allocated to projects in Mississippi to assist in the development or renovation of 851 units within the state.

"We have worked with BancorpSouth on a number of AHP grants, and they have been a tremendous partner for us," said Beatrice Moore, director of housing and community development for the city of Vicksburg. "AHP funding is so important because it is one of the city's only resources to support first-time homebuyers in our area. The number of renters in Vicksburg is very high, and many continue to rent because the upfront costs of buying a home are out of reach. The AHP funds provide a lifeline for the city to step up and help residents purchase a home, which often results in a lower monthly mortgage payment than what many residents paid in rent."

Ms. Moore said about 44 percent of Vicksburg residents rent their homes, which is above the national average. Helping residents purchase their own home promotes stability for families and allows them to establish themselves and remain residents of the city. 

"We are proud to have been a partner with the city of Vicksburg for so many years," said Forbes Grogan, senior vice president at BancorpSouth in Vicksburg. "We believe the fortunes of a community are a direct correlation to the involvement of its banks. As a corporate citizen, BancorpSouth wants to continue to have a strong impact on the economic development of Vicksburg and AHP funding is a great opportunity for us to meet those goals."

Eligible recipients include first-time homebuyers with household median incomes of 50 to 60 percent less than the area median income of Vicksburg. Eligible homebuyers must also purchase a home within the Vicksburg city limits. Ms. Moore said all of the funds from the 2010 AHP grant have been allocated for specific families, but the city will continue to apply for future AHP grants.

"There is such a significant need in our community to assist low-income, first-time homebuyers," said Ms. Moore. "The AHP funds we have received through the years have enabled us to keep our first-time homebuyer program alive."

FHLB Dallas has offered $10.5 million in AHP grants in 2011. The application period began in February and closed on April 15. Grant recipients will be announced during the summer of 2011.

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 $33.2 billion as of March 31, 2011, 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 website at fhlb.com.

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

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

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