First Bank Takes Steps To Help Home Buyers
In response to Washington's call for banks to improve lending using the Treasury's Capital Purchase Program (CPP) funds, First Bank is introducing a new builder finance program to assist local builders and home buyers in making ends meet through the economic crisis.
"When we decided to participate in the Treasury's Capital Purchase Program, we saw an opportunity to help our customers weather this economic storm," said First Bank President and CEO Jerry Ochletree. "Our new builder finance program will help in that effort."
"These mortgages, offered through builders that bank with First Bank, offer much better rates than the secondary market and remain fixed for the next decade," said Teresa Nixon, First Bank executive vice president and chief lending officer. "We look forward to working with customers that can benefit from more secure and reliable lending options."
As a healthy bank, First Bank was eligible to participate in CPP in order to improve the flow of credit in the regional financial system. From that capital infusion, First Bank has been able to extend credit to customers with programs like builder financing.
"Many people may think that banks that accept Treasury funds are part of the problem, and we want to assure people that is not the case for First Bank," Ochletree said. "We see participation in this program as a vote of confidence and we're privileged to have the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of our customers."
Last fall, the bank received national recognition as one of the top performing small-cap banks in the country by investment firm Sandler O'Neill & Partners. The firm's analysis focused on growth, profitability, credit quality, and capital strength.
"First Bank is in very good financial standing," Ocheltree said. "By making the decision to work with the Treasury, we are more capable in a volatile market to meet the needs of our customers and our community."
First Bancorp, the parent company of First Bank, announced its participation in the Treasury's Capital Purchase Program late last year and completed the sale of $65 million in preferred stock this January.
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