$12.5 Million in Downpayment Assistance Grants Offered by FHLBank San Francisco

Federal Home Loan Programs

The Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco (FHLBank San Francisco) has initiated its 2023 WISH matching grant program, offering $12.5 million in funds to assist lower-income families and individuals in realizing their homeownership dreams. This year, 41 member financial institutions of FHLBank San Francisco, headquartered in Arizona, California, and Nevada, have committed to helping eligible low- to moderate-income first-time homebuyers by providing 4-to-1 matching grants. These grants can be applied to downpayment and closing costs, with a maximum subsidy of $29,172 as set by the Federal Housing Finance Agency.

Teresa Bryce Bazemore, the CEO and president of FHLBank San Francisco, emphasized that saving for an initial downpayment often poses a significant barrier for first-time homebuyers. Through the WISH matching grant program, the aim is to assist buyers in overcoming this hurdle and set them on a path to build equity more rapidly.

Research conducted by the Urban Institute confirms the effectiveness of initiatives like WISH in increasing access to homeownership, which is a key means for Americans to accumulate wealth. Downpayment assistance programs play a crucial role, particularly for young, low-income, or first-generation aspiring homeowners, in reducing wealth disparities and addressing the Black/white homeownership gap. The research states that “Less access to generational wealth among young Black adults is a root cause of higher student debt burden and a substantial barrier to accessing homeownership.”

Since its launch in 2000, the WISH program has provided over $141 million in homeownership grants, enabling more than 9,500 low- and moderate-income families in communities served by member financial institutions to become homeowners. One recent grant recipient, Doris Ealy from Long Beach, California, purchased her first home in May 2022 at the age of 56. She attributes her ability to make a larger downpayment in the competitive Long Beach housing market to the $22,000 WISH grant from FHLBank San Francisco. Luther Burbank Savings, an FHLBank San Francisco member, facilitated her mortgage and the WISH grant.

Simone Lagomarsino, president and CEO of Luther Burbank Savings and chair of FHLBank San Francisco’s board, describes WISH as a game-changing program for low- to moderate-income homeowners and communities across Arizona, California, and Nevada. The WISH grant often makes the difference between homeownership being a mere dream or a reality.

WISH grants are specifically targeted at working families and individuals who are ready to transition from renting to owning. These grants can be combined with local, state, and federal mortgage loan programs, such as Fannie Mae HomeReady and Federal Housing Administration-insured mortgages.

First-time homebuyers interested in learning more about WISH matching grants are encouraged to directly contact participating member institutions. Further information about WISH and other grant programs offered by FHLBank San Francisco can be found on their website at fhlbsf.com.

About the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco: FHLBank San Francisco is a cooperative organization driven by its members, dedicated to helping local lenders in Arizona, California, and Nevada build resilient communities, create opportunities, and improve lives. By equipping member financial institutions, including commercial banks, credit unions, savings institutions, and community development financial institutions, with tools and resources, FHLBank San Francisco contributes to the promotion of homeownership, financing of affordable housing, stimulation of economic growth, and revitalization of communities. Together with their partners, FHLBank San Francisco strives to create vibrant, equitable, and resilient communities in the regions they serve.

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