2020 has certainly been an unexpected and turbulent year. The Federal Home Loan Bank of Des Moines has proudly remained a stable and reliable source of funding for our nearly 1,350 member financial institutions, with 2020 being no exception. The bank is no stranger to crisis. In fact, the Federal Home Loan Bank System was created in 1932 during the Great Depression. We’ve been tested several times over our 88-year existence, and we’ve consistently demonstrated our ability to provide liquidity through all economic cycles.
SERVING YOU DURING COVID-19
We’re proud of the way you have adapted your business to address the urgent needs of the communities you serve. As your trusted partner, it’s also been our job to make adjustments to better support you during this time.
As you’ve implemented loan forbearance or loan modification agreements for your borrowers, we’ve made modifications to our collateral eligibility guidelines to better align with those practices.
Additionally, as credit is extended on a secured basis, we’ve expanded our collateral menu. Shortly after the passing of the CARES Act, we began to accept SBA Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans as collateral. As technology evolves (with or without the necessity of social distancing), so has the desire for borrowers to conduct transactions electronically. As a result, we are now able to accept residential mortgage eNotes (electronic promissory notes) as collateral.
For members participating in the Mortgage Partnership Finance® Program, up to 12 months of forbearance relief is available under the MPF Traditional Program. The addition of payment deferment as another viable post-forbearance repayment option for participating financial institution servicers to assist impacted borrowers.
In April, we began offering special relief funding on three-month or six-month advances to help you fund your PPP loans and other short-term funding needs. These discounted advances are available until Oct. 15, 2020, or until the allocated funds are exhausted, whichever occurs first.
For long-term funding needs, all members have access to $10 million in low-cost funds through our Community Investment Advances (CIA). These discounted advances are specifically designed to support small business lending, economic development and housing needs. Recently, we expanded CIA discount advance rate eligible loans to include members providing financing to PPP eligible entities, whether or not the entities are PPP participants.
Like many of you, the current environment has moved some of our offices closer to home. When the decision was made in March for 90% of our employees to work from home, the transition happened seamlessly with no disruption in service to our members. As previously mentioned, we’ve been tested over the years, most recently with the flood of our Des Moines headquarters in 2017. That experience resulted in a sound business continuity plan that has functioned well.
This migration to dining rooms and basements also affected our 16 annual regional member meetings. In response, we quickly adapted and moved our programming to a four-part webinar series, now available on-demand for you to access at your convenience here:
Our Affordable Housing Program (AHP) is turning 30 in 2020! Participation in AHP, Home$tart® or the Native American Homeownership Initiative (NAHI) has had a profound impact on communities across Montana and throughout our district. In Montana alone, more than $31 million in grant funding has been disbursed, impacting over 4,900 homes. Funding for AHP wouldn’t be possible without the business you do with us each and every day. It’s because of this that we are able to reinvest 10% of our net income through our members back into communities they serve.
To better accommodate our housing organization partners and our members during this time, we extended the application period for the Competitive AHP, which provides up to $1,000,000 in grant funding to housing organizations.
We also remain committed to providing over $8 million in grants for down payment assistance through Home$tart and the Native American Housing Initiative.
STRENGTHENING OUR FOUNDATION
This year we’ve also seen significant change within our own walls. In January, Kristina “Kris” Williams began her role as CEO, taking the helm after the retirement of former CEO Mike Wilson.
Kris has more than 15 years of experience within the FHLBank System, most recently as the chief operating officer (COO) at FHLB Pittsburgh. While her first few months have certainly been different from expected, it hasn’t changed her commitment to ensuring the bank remains financially strong and ready to serve our members. Passionate about the work our members do within their communities, Kris is looking forward to being able to safely connect with you all in the future.
To ensure the bank remains a strong partner for our members, Kris has made some changes to our executive team. New to the bank are Chief Information Officer Kevin Larkin, Chief Risk and Compliance Officer George Collins and Chief Business Officer Wil Osborn. All three of these new executives bring extensive FHLBank System experience and will be instrumental in making the bank even stronger and positioning us well for the future. Also joining the bank as part of a new role on the executive team is Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer Deb Baldwin, who will oversee all aspects of our diversity and inclusion efforts.
YOUR PARTNER ALWAYS
We know this year has presented both ups and downs for all of us. You can rest assured that we are financially strong despite all of the unknowns this pandemic has presented. Being a reliable partner in a time of crisis is in our blood and we remain dedicated to helping you meet your affordable housing, lending and economic development needs.
Though meeting face-to-face may not be feasible for the time being, we are always available via phone, video call or email with tools and strategies to help you and your institutions take advantage of these historically low rates. Visit our website, www.fhlbdm.com, for current rates and information on COVID-19 related changes.
Please don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions you have, my “door” and ears are always open. I wish you and yours a safe and healthy summer and I look forward to seeing you again soon!