DALLAS--(BUSINESS WIRE)--According to the United States Census Bureau, Arkansas ranks 46th in the nation with an 18.7 percent poverty rate in 2018. The availability of affordable housing is critical to easing the financial burdens on Arkansans struggling to make ends meet.
Through community partnerships and membership with the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas (FHLB Dallas), Bank OZK works to make the lives of struggling Arkansans easier.
“Affordable housing is a huge need in Arkansas,” said Eric Gustafson, CRA and community development investment officer at Bank OZK. “We have a large population of low-to-moderate income individuals who are rent burdened and many of them need help with affordable housing.”
Bank OZK was honored Friday with FHLB Dallas’ 2018 CARE Award. An acronym that stands for “Community Area Revitalization Efforts,” the CARE Award recognizes Bank OZK’s commitment to affordable housing, disaster recovery and community revitalization.
“Bank OZK has worked tirelessly to positively impact its community in partnership with community nonprofits and with FHLB Dallas,” said FHLB Dallas President and CEO Sanjay Bhasin. “For their altruism, their partnership and more, we’re proud to award them the 2018 CARE Award.”
Bank OZK has leveraged more than $10 million in FHLB Dallas grant funding to invest in its communities. Projects include down payment and closing cost assistance for first-time homebuyers, rehabilitation grants for the elderly and other special-needs households, housing repair and rehabilitation assistance for veterans, operational funding for community-based organizations, small business grants and disaster recovery assistance grants.
“The dollars that the organizations receive from FHLB Dallas are invaluable to them so it’s very gratifying for us to see that level of impact for our nonprofit partners,” said Mr. Gustafson.
Angela Hudson, director of community responsibility at Bank OZK, said using FHLB Dallas’ community investment programs has been integral in not only helping the bank’s customers address affordable housing needs, but also in recovery from disasters such as Hurricane Harvey.
“After the dust settles, after the water dries, there’s a need for continued support for repairing homes, just the basic necessities,” said Ms. Hudson. “Everyone wants a safe home. Everyone deserves a home to go to. When it comes to rebuilding those communities, the Federal Home Loan Bank dollars really go a long way and really are the most impactful.”
In conjunction with the award, Bank OZK will receive $7,500 to donate to a community-based organization of its choice. Bank OZK has chosen to award the funds to Habitat for Humanity of Central Arkansas, which constructs and rehabilitates homes in partnership with homebuyers in line with the organization’s vision that everyone needs a “simple, decent, affordable place to live.”
“We’re able to put people in their own homes at typically half the price than what they’re paying for rent. Without the support of our partners like Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas and Bank OZK, we simply couldn’t exist,” said Lee Bass, executive director at Habitat for Humanity of Central Arkansas.
Mr. Bass said Habitat’s partnership with Bank OZK is critical to the nonprofit’s mission.
“We live here, and if you care about your community, you want it to be a little bit better when you leave than when you came in. One of the ways to do that is partnering with the community and staying involved,” said Mr. Bass.
About Bank OZK
Bank OZK (Nasdaq: OZK) is a regional bank providing innovative financial solutions delivered by expert bankers with a relentless pursuit of excellence. Bank OZK has been recognized as the #1 bank in the nation in its asset size for eight consecutive years. Headquartered in Little Rock, Arkansas, Bank OZK conducts operations through 251 offices in Arkansas, Georgia, Florida, North Carolina, Texas, Alabama, South Carolina, California, New York, and Mississippi. Bank OZK can be found at ozk.com and on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn or contacted at (501) 978-2265 or P. O. Box 8811, Little Rock, Arkansas 72231-8811.
About the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas
The Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas is one of 11 district banks in the FHLBank System created by Congress in 1932. FHLB Dallas, with total assets of $75.9 billion as of June 30, 2018, is a member-owned cooperative that supports housing and community investment by providing competitively priced loans and other credit products to approximately 825 members and associated institutions in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico and Texas. For more information, visit fhlb.com.