updated 6/9/2011 3:19:19 PM ET 2011-06-09T19:19:19

TUPELO, Miss., June 9, 2011 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas (FHLB Dallas) and BancorpSouth have awarded a $7,000 Homebuyer Equity Leverage Partnership (HELP) grant to Tupelo resident and first-time homebuyer Kathy Holcomb. HELP provides grant funding to assist income-qualified, first-time homebuyers with down payment and closing costs on a newly constructed or existing home.  

Ms. Holcomb began house hunting in early 2011, turning to her longtime bank, BancorpSouth in Tupelo, for financial assistance. BancorpSouth loan originator Leslie Pettey introduced Ms. Holcomb to the HELP program available through FHLB Dallas and was able to secure a $7,000 HELP grant for Ms. Holcomb, along with a home mortgage through BancorpSouth.

"This home is such a blessing," said Ms. Holcomb. "I would not have been able to purchase it without the help of BancorpSouth and the HELP grant. I would definitely recommend both the HELP program and BancorpSouth to other first-time homebuyers. They are the reason I have a house."

Ms. Pettey frequently works with FHLB Dallas's grant programs, awarding six or seven grants a year on average to first-time homebuyers. Ms. Pettey has awarded three HELP grants so far in 2011, and has several others in the pipeline.

"Ms. Holcomb was the most excited client I have ever seen," said Ms. Pettey. "This was her first big purchase, and the HELP grant enabled her to do it. She is very thankful, and seeing her so happy makes it a very special experience for BancorpSouth."

Ms. Holcomb, a full time human resources professional, moved into her parents' home for several months with her two daughters following her divorce. She wanted to purchase a home to build equity and provide a stable environment for her family, but worried that homeownership was out of reach on her salary alone.

"This is my first home, and I was nervous about the upfront costs of purchasing," said Ms. Holcomb. "The monthly mortgage was well within reason, but I didn't have a lot of cash on hand to make the initial payments. I knew the Lord would provide for me, and guide me to the perfect home for my family and me."

Ms. Holcomb applied for the HELP grant in March 2011 and was awarded the funds in April. By late May, she and her daughters were moved into their new 1,300 square foot home, which has three bedrooms, two bathrooms, and is centrally located in the city of Tupelo. The home is situated on a one acre lot and has a two-car garage, storage facility, and fenced backyard for their two Boston Terriers. Ms. Holcomb said the back door even has a doggie door for the dogs to come and go as they please.

The Homebuyer Equity Leverage Partnership (HELP) provides grant funding up to $5,000 to assist income-qualified, first-time homebuyers with down payment and closing costs on a newly constructed or existing home. HELP grants are available on a first-come, first-served basis through FHLB Dallas member institutions, such as BancorpSouth. If a member institution contributes at least $350 in financial incentives toward the mortgage, the homebuyer is then eligible for up to $7,000 in grant funds. Through its member institutions, FHLB Dallas awarded approximately $3 million in HELP grants in 2010 and allocated $1.7 million in HELP funds for 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
         (214) 441-8445

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Data: Latest rates in the US

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Home equity type Today +/- Chart
$30K HELOC FICO 3.79%
$30K home equity loan FICO 4.99%
$75K home equity loan FICO 4.69%
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