March 18, 2015

AZ Business Magazine

FirstBank fund helps qualified homebuyers buy new homes

FirstBank Holding Company, a holding company with 15 banking locations throughout Arizona, announced a $1 million community development investment with Trellis (formerly Neighborhood Housing Services of Phoenix), an organization dedicated to making financially stable homes, neighborhoods and communities possible in Maricopa County. FirstBank’s contribution will provide qualified homebuyers up to $25,000 to be used as a down payment toward the purchase of a new home.

Trellis was founded in 1975 with the help of the City of Phoenix and Neighborhood Works America, a national nonprofit organization that provides financial support, technical assistance and training for community-based revitalization efforts. The organization focuses on lending, learning and building by offering mortgages with little to no down payment, providing financial literacy classes and acquiring and renovating distressed properties, respectively.

“We made this contribution to Trellis because we believe in helping people who are pursuing the American Dream of home ownership,” said Angelo Chin Foo, banking officer at FirstBank and Trellis board member. “Trellis is a multi-service organization that has made a significant impact on the community over its 40-year history. With this investment, we hope to play a small role in helping Trellis deliver its mission of providing more affordable housing to Arizonians.”

Structured as an “equivalent equity investment,” FirstBank’s $1 million contribution allows qualified homebuyers to borrow up to $25,000 towards the purchase of a new home. Homebuyers repay the loan to Trellis over a 15-year period, and Trellis will use the repaid funds to provide assistance to homebuyers across Maricopa County, in perpetuity.

“Access to affordable housing benefits everyone. Individuals and families become stable and more economically secure, neighborhoods become more active and cities gain jobs and tax revenues,” said Patricia Garcia-Duarte, president and CEO of Trellis. “We rely on generous partners like FirstBank to help us strengthen our local communities and empower homebuyers, and we couldn’t be more grateful for this generous support.”

FirstBank opened its first location in Arizona in 2007 and has since expanded to 15 locations. All Arizona branches offer a full range of services, including Free Checking, Free Business Checking, mortgages, home equity loans and commercial loans. The bank is the main sponsor of Arizona Give Day, a 24-hour online giving initiative aimed at increasing individual giving throughout the state.

For more information, visit TrellisAZ.org.