A Message From the President
May 13, 2021
Earlier this week, FHLBank Topeka filed our Form 10-Q for the first quarter of 2021.
We are always keenly focused on our financials as careful stewards of your stock investments. As your cooperative, our success is passed along to you and your communities in the form of access to our housing and community development programs, reliable wholesale funding and attractive dividends that lower your cost of doing business with us.
Read on to hear more about how our products, people and programs support your success.
Inside the Cooperative
We are launching a new tool to connect with members – our Bank Statements podcast. I was pleased to join Trent Meyer, our Oklahoma regional account manager, on the inaugural episode. Trent and I discussed how our cooperative structure helps our members secure reliable funding and gain access to mortgage products, letters of credit and grants for first-time homebuyers.
When you use our products, you support your cooperative, fueling our above-market dividend and increasing the funding set aside for our affordable housing programs.
I hope you’ll enjoy listening to the podcast. Watch for additional podcast episodes in the future covering topics important to you as an owner of, and member in, your FHLBank.
Housing and Community Development Programs
More than 125 FHLBank members have already reserved approximately $3.1 million in Homeownership Set-aside Program (HSP) grants since the program opened on March 1. HSP provides $5,000 grants to assist very low-, low-, and moderate-income first-time homebuyers. The money is available first come, first served, with a $25,000 per member per month limit. As of May 13, 2021, we have $1.5 million still available. Find out more about how you can participate on our website.
Our Affordable Housing Program (AHP) celebrated 30 years in 2020. This year’s AHP opens in July with $8.5 million available to finance owner-occupied and rental housing that address the needs of very low-, low-, and moderate-income households. The online application will be available on July 5.
We always enjoy seeing the many ways you use our housing and community development programs to better your communities. Each year, we prepare a report about the difference we’ve made together over the year.
Our 2020 Affordable Housing Advisory Council Report was recently released. I hope when you flip through the pages, you will be inspired by the work of your fellow FHLBank members and their nonprofit partners across the district. Some of the stories in the report include:
- A Colorado homeless shelter that was able to move forward with construction thanks to an AHP grant
- A Kansas City social services agency that improved 51 housing units for people with developmental disabilities with help from an AHP grant
- Three FHLBank members across the district that put HSP to work for local first-time homebuyers
- An Oklahoma member that used a discounted Community Development Program (CDP) advance to preserve a historical building for a local owner and a Community Housing Program (CHP) advance to help support needed housing in downtown Oklahoma City
- A Nebraska member that drew on a CDP advance to fund a family addition to a women’s recovery facility
We take great pride in being a part of your community development efforts. To learn more about our programs, visit our website or call our Housing and Community Development team at 866.571.8155.
Although it doesn’t span the 30-year history of our AHP, our #500forgood program has made a difference across our district. We started this program in 2018 to provide members with $500 for a cause they believe in.
In December 2020, we expanded the program in response to the great need brought on by the pandemic. Sixteen members received $500 grants to help causes varying from food banks to first responder appreciation to social and economic equality efforts. A full list of #500forgood recipients and short video profiles are available at www.fhlbtopeka.com/500forgood.
Products to Support Your Business
Although many of our members have informed us they do not currently need advance funding at this time, our access to the capital markets and our financial expertise allows us to identify unique funding opportunities and pass those benefits along to our members. In April, we offered an advance special on our callable structure that allowed members to lock in exceptionally low term funding while minimizing prepayment and interest rate risk. We plan to continue to look for opportunities in the market and will make you aware of those when we see them.
We are seeing continued interest in our letter of credit product to support public unit deposits. With the convenient online submission process we launched last fall, members are able to manage their letters of credit online and pre-submit their applications up to five days in advance.
Many of our members of all sizes continue to find value in our Mortgage Partnership Finance® (MPF®) Program. The MPF Program is especially important to smaller institutions across our district that have fewer outlets for their mortgage loans. More about the MPF Program is available on our website.
We have also hired staff to help serve our members. In April, Jeff Kuzbel joined the FHLBank team as our new Chief Financial Officer. You can read more about Jeff and his diverse experience with banking and financial markets in our March 15 announcement.
You may recall the member research we conducted in 2019 and 2020. To continue our member focus, we’ve established a Member Experience area within our Marketing and Communications department. Julia Burghart became our new Member Experience Manager in March. She has worked at FHLBank Topeka since 1997 in varied roles in Lending, IT and Internal Audit.
Representatives from nearly a third of our member institutions attended one or more Annual Management Conference webinar session last month. Thanks to all of you who joined us online. I hope we’ll be together in person again next April for this often thought-provoking and always entertaining event. Mark your calendar to join us April 20-22, 2022, at the Embassy Suites Olathe.
We are also planning some additional webinars this summer presented by industry experts inside and outside of FHLBank Topeka. We’ve secured Joe Sullivan from Market Insights for a July 20 session titled “The Post-Pandemic Consumer and How to Bank Them.” These webinars are offered to all members free-of-charge. Watch for more details by email and on our Events page.
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI)
DEI continues to be an intrinsic driver of our success now and into the future. Our board and senior management collaborated to recently update our long-term DEI plan. We also developed a driving vision for DEI:
By 2029, DEI will be in the DNA of FHLBank Topeka.
To continue moving forward with this vision, we offer many training and awareness opportunities for our business partners. One of our recent trainings was also available to all of you. Steve L. Robbins, a social neuroscientist joined us on our April 14 AMC webinar. His presentation, “Your Brain is Good at Inclusion … Except When It’s Not,” was highly rated by members and FHLBank staff alike.
FHLBank Topeka exists to serve our members. We always appreciate your feedback on how we can improve your cooperative. Please reach out to me or any member of the FHLBank team with your questions or suggestions.