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Southern Bancorp offers $12,000 forgivable loan for prospective “Black and Brown” homebuyersSouthern Bancorp offers $12,000 forgivable loan

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Southern Bancorp offers $12,000 forgivable loan for prospective “Black and Brown” homebuyersSouthern Bancorp offers $12,000 forgivable loan

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Southern Bancorp Community Partners (SBCP), a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) and an affiliate of Southern Bancorp, Inc., on Jan. 23 announced a down payment assistance program designed to help remove barriers from the home buying process for minority and low-to-moderate income (LMI) individuals and families. 

The “Wealth Builders for Everyone Down Payment Assistance Program” will offer up to $12,000 as a forgivable loan that eligible prospective home buyers may use toward their down payment, prepaids, and closing costs. The program is the product of a collaboration between SBCP, the nonprofit, loan fund, and financial development arm of Southern Bancorp, Inc., and the institution’s growing mortgage division. 

Owning a home is one of the most important ways to build generational wealth and break cycles of poverty, but for too long there have been barriers to entry for Black and Brown families and in underserved communities,” said Kenya Davenport, interim president of SBCP. “This down payment assistance will support our continued efforts to close these long-standing wealth gaps, creating more accessible and affordable paths to homeownership.” 

The down payment assistance program features a zero percent interest rate, zero dollar monthly payment, and staggered loan forgiveness at 20% per year; the loan is fully forgiven at five years if all criteria are met. The program will also prepare borrowers with HUD-Approved Homebuyer Education, a unique service provided by SBCP’s HUD-Certified Housing Counselors. Qualifications are intentionally direct, so as to make an immediate impact for individuals who most need it; eligibility guidelines focus on assisting LMI home buyers, minority families, and other traditionally underserved communities. 

Southern Bancorp has a geographical banking footprint that spans Arkansas and Mississippi, and in 2023 began the expansion of its mortgage division to provide equitable mortgage solutions to more families throughout the entire South, building out a team of experienced lenders and support staff across the region – from San Antonio to Atlanta. 

This mortgage team operates under the mission focused framework of the CDFI, purpose-driven to help reduce the homeownership gap in communities within its reach. According to the U.S. Department of the Treasury, the homeownership rates for Black and Hispanic households are around 30 points lower than for white households nationally, a demographic discrepancy that is often even wider in underserved communities, particularly in the South

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