Community Spotlight

 

FHLBank Topeka's mission is to partner with our members to make a difference in communities throughout Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska and Oklahoma. Here are some examples of our partnerships in action.
 

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Homeownership Set-aside Program


Residential mortgages are a tradition at Great Plains Bank in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

In 2010, they established a secondary market mortgage division to provide customers with a wider range of real estate loan options. But it wasn’t until 2016 that Great Plains learned about a new game changer for customers.

“We are proud to say that since 2016 we have had the pleasure of helping 113 first-time homebuyers through FHLBank’s Homeownership Set-aside Program,” said Doug Park, National Sales Manager for Great Plains Bank.

 

FHLBank Topeka’s Homeownership Set-aside Program (HSP) provides up to $5,000 in closing cost, down payment and repair assistance for first-time homebuyers earning at or below 80% of the Area Median Income. The use of HSP has generated new business for Great Plains, Doug said, because previous customers refer friends and family. The bank even has Realtor referral sources asking each spring when HSP will be available.

Not only does the program benefit customers and the community, it has unique benefits for Great Plains as well. “In addition to the $5,000 grant,” Doug said, “I think the advantage is it allows Great Plains Bank to use its own loan programs and interest rates for the first mortgage instead of a rate offered by other down payment assistance providers.” Using their own loan programs and rates helps Great Plains pass even more savings on to customers. For instance, they have had numerous buyers with excess seller concessions, which they can use to buy down the interest rate, giving buyers an even lower mortgage payment than initially quoted.

“It’s a great program,” Doug said. “For our communities and Great Plains Bank.”

 

 

Independence, Kansas

Affordable Housing Program

Just because housing is affordable doesn’t mean it has to be unattractive. Washington Historic Residences dispels this myth. With its stark-white, modern exterior, the building stands out on an idyllic street in the small community of Independence, Kansas.


Cohen-Esrey Development Group, LLC, and PreservingUS, Inc., worked together to renovate the 1940s-era Washington School into a senior living community. “In rural areas, we often see schools going through consolidation,” explained Tim Quigley, development director for Cohen-Esrey.

“The school had sentimental value. After it closed in 2011, the community wanted to see the building used and embraced the idea of making it into housing.”

Washington Historic Residences includes 23 one- to two-bedroom units, 14 of which are targeted to seniors with incomes below 50% of the area median. It’s the third affordable housing development in Independence in recent years. In each instance, the project was met with high demand.
 

Once construction began, local seniors were clamoring to find out more. “We received many calls once the sign went up,” said Angela Morehead, executive director of PreservingUS, Inc. “We just had the official ribbon-cutting and we are nearly full.”
 

Besides the beautiful architecture, supportive services also make the community attractive to residents. PreservingUS customizes the services to what each community needs. In Independence, medical care is at the top of the list. With the local hospital closing a few years ago, people in Independence had to travel to neighboring communities to see a doctor.
 

Morehead’s organization is working on setting up a satellite wellness center in Washington Residences. They also expect to offer organized gatherings to build camaraderie among the residents, as well as provide transportation assistance for groceries and other doctor’s visits.
 

Paying for a community project like this isn’t easy. The project qualified for the National Register for Historic Places and as a result was eligible for both federal and state historic tax credits. After securing low-income housing tax credits (LIHTC), there was still a gap.


They filled the majority of the gap with a $301,697 Affordable Housing Program (AHP) grant from FHLBank Topeka. Every AHP project must be sponsored by an FHLBank member bank. In this case, BOK Financial acted as the construction lender and AHP sponsor. “BOK Financial is proud to be a part of the redevelopment of Washington School,” said Lisa Albers, Senior Vice President, Community Development for BOK Financial. “Washington Historic Residences will provide much needed quality affordable housing to the area while also preserving a building that means so much to the local community of Independence, Kansas.”


“The AHP grant was the final piece of the puzzle,” said Quigley. “It was integral for us to move forward with bringing this housing option to Independence.”

 

 

 
 

Address:

500 SW Wanamaker Road
Topeka, KS 66606

Phone:

785.233.0507

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