The Zero Interest Fund (ZIF) provides zero interest loans in order to promote housing and economic development. ZIF loans, which are awarded up to $100,000, help fund the upfront infrastructure costs for housing, commercial and industrial real estate-related projects.

The purpose of the Zero Interest Fund is to support and advance the affordable housing and economic development activity of FHLB Cincinnati member institutions by providing resources for residential, commercial and industrial real estate-related projects.

Funds are available through member institutions. Non-profits, local governments, community development corporations, individuals, and other beneficiaries seeking funding must submit an application through a financial institution that is a Member of FHLB Cincinnati.

The Zero Interest Fund (ZIF) program will remain available until all funds have been committed or FHLB elects to terminate or suspend the program.

What is an eligible project?

Funds are awarded to projects that intend to assist in the development of housing, the creation or retention of jobs, or the provision of benefits that may lead to economic empowerment opportunities for low- and moderate-income individuals and communities, defined as those earning less than 100 percent of Area Median Income (AMI) in urban areas or less than 115 percent of AMI in rural areas. Only projects within the Fifth District (Kentucky, Ohio, and Tennessee) are eligible.

Eligible uses include early-in project costs such as land acquisition, packaging services, appraisals, architectural drawings, consulting fees, engineering fees, environmental testing, feasibility analyses, legal costs, licensing and permit fees, market studies, infrastructure, or other expenditures normally associated with the development of residential, commercial, or industrial real estate-related projects.

What is the member’s role?

Projects will be approved on a first-come, first-served basis so long as funds are available. Funds are available until the $2 million pool is fully committed; contact the FHLB to inquire as to availability. Members may request up to $100,000 per project and applications are processed within two business days from the online submission. There is no limit on the number of applications a member may submit. However, the FHLB reserves the right to limit the number of applications based on the general availability of funding for the program and utilization of the program throughout the District.

Upon project approval and execution of a funding agreement, members must submit an online Funding Request for the entire approved amount within 30 calendar days of FHLB approval of the application. Members are limited to one draw per year regardless of the amount approved. Funds will be deposited in the member institution's Demand Deposit Account.

Terms, Fees, and Conditions

All Zero Interest Fund transactions must be structured for repayment at the earlier of 24 months for economic development projects, 18 months for housing projects, or at the closing of either the construction or permanent loan. This must be evidenced by the note and/or loan document that contains a term not to exceed the aforementioned threshold for the project.

Members may not markup funds but may charge reasonable and customary fees, which can be financed by the ZIF.

Upon repayment of the note to the member, the member will notify the FHLB. In turn, FHLB will debit the member’s Demand Deposit Account for the amount repaid. If FHLB has not been repaid by the end of the 18- or 24-month period, the member’s Demand Deposit Account will be debited for the full amount of the Zero Interest Fund Advance.

Application Guidelines

Members applying for a Zero Interest Fund Advance should complete an online ZIF application in Members Only that describes the eligible activity for which the funds will be used within a 30-day period of the closing of their zero interest loan to the project beneficiary. The Housing and Community Investment Department will determine if the proposed activity is eligible for funding.


A funding agreement between the FHLB and the member must be executed (by an authorized FHLB signatory) prior to any disbursement of funds.

Additional information and technical assistance

For more information or assistance, please contact the Housing & Community Investment Department at (513) 852-7680 or toll-free (888) 345-2246 or email us at

For FHLB's Members Only assistance, please contact our Service Desk at (800) 781-3090.

Zero Interest Fund resources