United Cumberland and Welcome Home

United Cumberland Bank of Whitley City, Ky., has used the FHLB Cincinnati’s Welcome Home program to improve its area’s housing stock and help families find better housing.

“Welcome Home is improving the housing stock,” said Gordon Kidd, CEO of United Cumberland. The region, in southern central Kentucky near the Tennessee border, features many mobile homes and older homes, he said. Welcome Home helps, he said, by creating activity and turnover in the housing market.

Welcome Home provides downpayment and closing costs assistance for low- and moderate-income homebuyers. Grants up to $5,000 per house are available. Welcome Home is the FHLB’s most widely used affordable housing program, suited to the needs of community lenders and their customers.

Since United Cumberland began participating in Welcome Home in 2010, the bank has helped 56 families purchase homes, with $280,000 in grants awarded. Many of households are young families buying their first homes, or growing families acquiring larger homes.

But more than just putting roofs over their heads, “Welcome Home helps people to buy homes, gives them an entry into the economic system and helps them to build wealth and change lives,” Mr. Kidd said. “Truly for a lot of these folks, it’s life-changing.”

Welcome Home helped Jordan and Kameron Wilson buy a three-bedroom ranch in Whitley City in 2012 after their son Knox was born. “It’s home, my favorite place to be,” Kameron said. The family had been renting and didn’t have a lot in savings. United Cumberland helped them navigate the process and Welcome Home helped make them able to afford the downpayment home, she said.

“The bank scheduled a consultation, they looked over our application, figured out what kind of payment we could afford and a price range for the house,” Kameron said. “It was very helpful, especially for us not knowing what we were doing.”

United Cumberland benefits from Welcome Home because of the boost it provides to down payments, making the mortgages less risky. And it helps the bank connect to the community. “Those folks have such a pride of ownership, it really made a difference in their lives,” he said.