Red River Bank Is Committed to Supporting Community Development and Affordable Housing in Louisiana

December 16, 2019

red_river_bank_prAlexandria-based Red River Bank was recently honored with the prestigious Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas CARE Award for its longstanding commitment to community revitalization and affordable housing. 

The community bank is a longtime partner of the Louisiana Housing Corporation in its efforts to educate residents about the availability of vital affordable housing and homeownership resources.

“The availability of safe, decent, affordable housing is fundamental to a family forging a path out of poverty, and that is really important to me,” says Jannease Seastrunk, vice president and CRA officer at Red River Bank. “I am very proud of the work we do around community development.”

Community Commitment

Since opening in 1999, Red River Bank opened has leveraged $9.1 million in Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas grants and community investment funds to assist about 530 households.

FHLB Dallas — one of 11 district banks in the FHLBank System created by Congress in 1932 — is a member-owned cooperative that supports housing and community investment by providing competitively priced loans and other credit products to about 810 members and associated institutions in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico and Texas.

FHLB Dallas President and CEO Sanjay Bhasin says Red River Bank has “fully embraced the community investment programs FHLB Dallas offers, and because of their commitment to affordable housing and community investment they are transforming communities and lives.”

Investing in the Community

Red River Bank serves customers from its 24 banking centers in and surrounding Alexandria, Shreveport/Bossier, Baton Rouge, Lake Charles and Covington. The bank specializes in financial services and solutions for Louisiana consumers and small to midsize businesses.

As one of two CARE award recipients honored during FHLB Dallas’ annual conference, Red River Bank received $7,500 to award to a nonprofit of its choosing. Red River Bank will disburse the funds to the GAEDA Revitalization Corp., which launched in 2017 with the mission of increasing the availability of affordable housing in Alexandria's inner-city areas.

The organization has already used special-needs assistance program funds through FHLB Dallas via Red River Bank, as well as a $339,876 affordable housing program grant, to help seniors revitalize aging homes.

Elsewhere in the community, Red River Bank has provided funding for a group home with new accommodations for St. Mary’s Residential Training Facility in Alexandria, which provides services to people with developmental disabilities.

“As a financial institution we have a responsibility to make sure we are reinvesting in the entire community,” Seastrunk says. “We have to make sure we’re offering our banking services to our whole community, so we can't just pick our upper- and middle-income families to service. We have to service everybody. A lot of times what that means is we have to raise their financial situation to a level where they can actually access those services.”

A Partnership With LHC

As a true community institution, Red River Bank has been an important partner in efforts to create more affordable housing for Louisiana’s most vulnerable residents.

LHC has for several years partnered with Red River Bank for homeowner education classes throughout the state. These events give prospective homebuyers information on how to prepare financially for a home loan and how to access first-time homebuyer resources available through the LHC and federal partners.

“We ask LHC to partner with us on providing different kinds of financial education,” Seastrunk says. “A lot of Realtors, nonprofit organizations and customers may not know how to access services that Louisiana Housing Corporation has to offer, and they may not know that Red River Bank is one of their lenders that can provide this service.”

Seastrunk says the partnership began several years ago when Red River Bank asked LHC experts to present at an education event in Alexandria. “It was so impactful and it got so many participants that we asked them to partner with us on other financial education presentations that we conduct around the state,” she says.

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