Bank of Edwardsville snags FHLB award

Bank representatives present grant funds to, from left, Sheri Flanigan-Vazquez (Justine Petersen chief operating officer), Rob Schwartz (TheBANK SVP/retail banking), Galen Gondolfi (Justine Petersen chief communications officer), Jimmie Howlett (Busey Bank VP/community development & CRA officer), James Owen (Beyond Housing director of corporate and foundation relations), Jessica Caldwell (Beyond Housing giving manager), Paul Woodruff (Prosperity Connection executive director) and Sandy Smith (TheBANK AVP/community development lender).

An Illinois bank has snagged bragging rights and a $10,000 grant from the Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago for its innovative loan programs serving the underbanked.

The MyCOMMUNITY Home Loan and Home Improvement Loan Programs, developed by TheBANK of Edwardsville, Ill., is the recipient of the project or program award. The grant goes to a local nonprofit of the bank’s choice.

Realizing there are many barriers for low- to moderate-income borrowers to qualify for a mortgage or home improvement loan, TheBANK of Edwardsville took action to reach people in these underserved communities.

After much research, the bank introduced the MyCOMMUNITY Home Loan Program, which offers the use of an Individual Tax Identification Number, flexible underwriting criteria, and dedicated loan officers to help those who may not qualify for traditional banking products but hope to own a home. Shortly after the launch of the mortgage loan program, the MyCOMMUNITY Home Improvement Loan was created to provide home improvement financing to the same underserved population looking to repair and improve their homes.

Additionally, TheBANK of Edwardsville is able to help many participants in the MyCOMMUNITY Home Loan Program through the Downpayment Plus® Program, which offers FHLBank Chicago members down payment and closing cost assistance to help their income-eligible customers achieve homeownership.

“We are truly honored and humbled to be recognized by the FHLBank Chicago with its Community First Award,” said Sandy Smith, assistant vice president of business development and CRA. “We’re proud of the impact the MyCOMMUNITY Home Loan Program has had in our local communities and proud of how many people we’ve been able to help realize their dream of homeownership through this program.”

TheBANK split the accompanying $10,000 grant between four organizations – Beyond Housing, Community Action Agency of St. Louis County, Inc., Justine Petersen, and Prosperity Connection. Representatives from three of the four organizations were present, along with representatives from TheBANK of Edwardsville and Busey Bank during the check presentation. (Busey Bank agreed to acquire TheBANK last year.)

Through these innovative programs, TheBANK of Edwardsville is able to help with home purchases by people who take pride in homeownership, as well as with existing homeowners looking to make improvements,” said Suzi Thackston, community investment officer at FHLB Chicago. “Not only are they making their communities better places to live, they are educating members of the community that owning a home is an attainable goal. It was a pleasure to recognize TheBANK of Edwardsville with a 2019 Community First Award.”

Three additional Community First Award recipients are being announced at FHLBank Chicago member meetings in Green Bay and Madison, Wis.