Through 2016,* the FHLBanks have awarded more than $5.4 billion that has assisted in the purchase, construction or rehabilitation of more than 827,000 units of affordable housing. Now in its 25th year, the FHLBanks’ Affordable Housing Program (AHP) has become one of the most successful and valuable private sources of funding for the financing and building of affordable housing in the United States.
The AHP is a competitive grant program created by Congress in the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery and Enforcement Act of 1989 and began operations in 1990. The AHP is designed to address local housing needs. It is administered regionally by each FHLBank, working through its financial institution members and those members’ community-based partners. Such community-based partners are working at the grass roots and most closely understand the housing needs of their communities. To further ensure that AHP-funded projects serve local housing needs, each FHLBank is advised by an Advisory Council made up of community and nonprofit affordable housing and economic development organizations from within the FHLBank’s district.
An AHP applicant must first coordinate through an FHLBank member financial institution in order to apply for the grant program. The AHP provides FHLBank member institutions the opportunity to partner with local developers and community organizations seeking to build and renovate housing for low- to moderate-income households. The AHP allows for funds to be used in combination with other programs and to support projects serving a wide range of community affordable housing needs. Many projects are designed for seniors, the disabled, homeless families, first-time homeowners and others with limited resources or special needs. In each funding round, grant applications are scored on a variety of factors intended to ensure that priority will be given to projects that will utilize the funding to create the greatest benefit. Each FHLBank designs its own competitive program, guided by federal regulatory parameters and input from its Advisory Council. Nationally, approximately one out of three applications is funded.
Each FHLBank also operates a Community Investment Program (CIP) that offers below-market-rate loans to members for long-term financing for housing and economic development that benefits low- and moderate-income families and neighborhoods. The program is designed to be a catalyst for economic development because it supports projects that create and preserve jobs and helps build infrastructure to support further growth. Unlike the AHP, the CIP does not provide grants.
Between 1990 and 2016, the CIP funded approximately $59.2 billion in housing advances and approximately $7.6 billion in economic development advances, benefitting over 839,000 housing units, as well as community development projects in very low-, low- or moderate-income areas.
Lenders have used the CIP to fund owner-occupied and rental housing; construct roads, bridges, retail stores and sewage treatment plants; and provide small business loans.
Additionally, several of the FHLBanks operate other voluntary programs focused on addressing special needs, such as financial literacy, foreclosure prevention, home rehabilitation and small business lending.
The FHLBanks are cooperatives that finance housing and economic development for approximately 7,000 member financial institutions to grow their business and their communities. The FHLBanks have been one of the largest sources of funding for community lending in the United States for more than eight decades. Each FHLBank is independently owned by its members and regionally focused. Additionally, each Bank is governed by its own board of directors selected from its district.
Commercial banks, thrifts, credit unions, community development financial institutions and insurance companies are all eligible for membership in their district’s FHLBank. Members range in size from some of the largest financial institutions in the world to community banks with just a single branch.
Each FHLBank is advised by an Advisory Council made up of community and nonprofit affordable housing and economic development organizations from within the FHLBank’s district.
*Based on the latest available report by the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA).
OFFICE OF FINANCE
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