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October 18, 2017


Corporate Communications
Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas
(214) 441-8445

$32K Grant Awarded to Neighborhood STRONG in Lufkin, Texas

Funds Provided by Austin Bank, Citizens National Bank and FHLB Dallas

Neighborhood-STRONG1_web.jpgLUFKIN, TEXAS, October 18, 2017 — The community revitalization nonprofit Neighborhood STRONG got stronger yesterday, thanks to a $32,000 Partnership Grant Program (PGP) award. The funds were provided by Austin Bank, Citizens National Bank and the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas (FHLB Dallas). 

Neighborhood STRONG, which stands for "Striving To Rebuild Our Neighborhood Great," will use the funds for two computers, a printer, rent for its new office space and two part-time positions. The nonprofit pays for critical home repairs of qualified Lufkin, Texas, homeowners living in Wards 1 and 2. A committee for arts and beautification was also formed to bring the visual and performing arts to north Lufkin.

"We renovate homes for people who, through no fault of their own, are in economic need," said Dr. Wayne Lawrence, executive director of Neighborhood STRONG. "We provide these services at no charge to the homeowners, who can make no more than 80 percent of the area median income for Angelina County."

Austin Bank Senior Vice President of Risk Management and CRA Officer Debbie Braune said re-roofing, leveling and replacing rotten windows and doors are among the repairs frequently requested by homeowners.

"We support the work of Neighborhood STRONG and their commitment to helping meet a great need in Lufkin," Ms. Braune commented. "The Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas has been a supportive partner in our community investment projects, and working, as well, with Citizens National Bank on this endeavor has produced some exciting results. Thank you to all."

Lufkin resident Sidney Benemon received assistance in April with the leveling and re-roofing of her home.

"My house was really in bad condition," Ms. Benemon said. "They came in and did the work last April while I was in the hospital, and they were here recently, painting some areas that were hit when we had the hurricane. It gives you a renewed sense that there are people who care and want to help."

Awarded annually via a lottery system, PGP awards provide grants up to $12,000 to community-based organizations (CBOs), like Neighborhood STRONG. FHLB Dallas matches a member's contribution to a CBO of $500 up to $4,000 at a 3:1 ratio. Total contributions from Austin Bank and Citizens National Bank plus FHLB Dallas' matching funds brought Neighborhood STRONG's overall grant to $32,000.

"Lufkin is a resident-centered community where people act on their belief in helping neighbors," said Kerry Bennett, vice president and retail manager at Citizens National Bank. "We appreciate and support the service of Dr. Lawrence and all of the Neighborhood STRONG team who are making a real difference in people's lives."

PGP funds may be used for research, organizational capacity-building, grant-and funding-application assistance, or contractual services.

"Citizens National Bank is proud to partner with Neighborhood STRONG as we both have a strong desire to improve the quality of life for those who live in a particular economically distressed area in our city," said Trent Ashby, Angelina County chairman for CNB. "We're excited to see this partnership grow and know that lives will be changed because of it."

In 2017, FHLB Dallas awarded $300,000 in PGP funds through 31 member institutions to assist 30 community-based organizations. Combined with the $104,550 contributed by FHLB Dallas members, a total of $404,550 was awarded to the organizations.

"We extend sincere thanks to our member institutions Austin Bank and Citizens National Bank," said Greg Hettrick, first vice president and director of Community Investment at FHLB Dallas. "Through their combined community leadership, FHLB Dallas is able to partner with them to improve housing conditions for Lufkin homeowners, as well as provide neighborhood revitalization."

To learn more about the Partnership Grant Program or other Community Investment programs from FHLB Dallas, visit

About Austin Bank

Austin Bank, a community bank headquartered in Jacksonville, Texas, with assets in excess of $1.6 billion, has 32 locations serving 23 cities and eleven counties throughout East Texas. Austin Bank is locally owned and operated by the Austin Family who is celebrating 108 years of service in the Texas banking industry.  Austin Bank has been voted one of the "Best Companies to Work for in Texas" for nine consecutive years.

Austin Bank is a trusted financial source for the families and businesses of East Texas. The Bank's lengthy legacy is the foundation of their philosophy to provide the financial stability and trust that contributes to the growth and prosperity of the communities they serve.  More information about Austin Bank can be found on the bank's website at

About Citizens National Bank

Citizens National Bank, which was established in 1930 at the height of the Great Depression, is a $1.8 billion community bank that serves East and Central Texas with its network of 28 conveniently located branches. CNB also has trust assets under management in excess of $450 million. Throughout its existence, CNB has remained committed to providing excellent personal service with the latest in banking technology. Citizens National Bank can be found online at

About the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas

The Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas is one of 11 district banks in the FHLBank System created by Congress in 1932. FHLB Dallas, with total assets of $62.9 billion as of June 30, 2017, is a member-owned cooperative that supports housing and community investment by providing competitively priced loans and other credit products to approximately 850 members and associated institutions in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico and Texas. For more information, visit