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February 01, 2010 at 12:44 PM EST
Whitney Participates in Collaborative Homeownership Initiative

NEW ORLEANS, Feb. 1, 2010 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Whitney National Bank is participating in a collaborative effort with Habitat for Humanity and the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas (FHLB Dallas) to provide homeownership opportunities to low-income households in East Baton Rouge and St. Tammany parishes.

“Whitney Bankers are committed to improving the communities we serve, and an important part of that endeavor is being a catalyst for building thriving neighborhoods,” said John C. Hope, III, Whitney Chairman and CEO. “This has been a challenging time for anyone struggling to achieve the American Dream of homeownership. By working resourcefully with our partners we can turn that dream into reality for many deserving families.”

Habitat for Humanity of Greater Baton Rouge Parish will assist 20 such households with obtaining closing cost and down payment assistance as a result of the $200,000 in FHLB Dallas grant money they were awarded. Habitat for Humanity St. Tammany West will have $300,000 in FHLB Dallas grant funds available to assist 30 qualified first time homebuyers. Prospective homeowners are identified by Habitat for Humanity, and after receiving homebuyer training and credit counseling, the families can access the grant money for the purchase of their home.

“A major obstacle for many potential homeowners is accumulating enough savings for a down payment and closing costs,” said Sunada Henderson, Whitney Community Affairs Officer. “While this can seem insurmountable to a low-income family, access to these grants lowers those barriers and makes homeownership a tangible goal; more than just a dream.”

Whitney has participated in FHLB Dallas’s Affordable Housing Program (AHP) since 2000. During that time, more than 325 families have benefited from more than $3.4 million in grants obtained by Whitney National Bank through the FHLB Dallas’s Community Investment Programs.

Whitney has participated in other FHLB of Dallas grant programs that are awarded on a first come first serve basis, including the FHLB Dallas’s Homebuyer Equity Leverage Partnership (HELP) program, which provides grant funds for down payment and closing costs of eligible first-time homebuyers and the Special Needs Assistance Program (SNAP), which provides grant funds for rehabilitation costs of eligible special needs households.

Whitney has received the Community Reinvestment Act’s (CRA) highest rating of “Outstanding,” a direct reflection of the Bank’s substantial community involvement. “Several factors contribute to the Bank’s ‘Outstanding’ rating,” said Richard C. Ainsworth, Corporate CRA Officer and Director of Community Affairs. “The Whitney’s commitment to affordable housing and the activities of the Whitney Community Development Corporation, our multi-million investment in Gulf Opportunity Zone Bonds and low-income tax credits, the Bank’s $77 million investment in projects through the Whitney New Markets Fund, LLC, Whitney’s standing as a leader in small business lending, our high level of community development loans, and the active participation of our employees in providing financial counsel and services to civic organizations are all key to our ‘Outstanding’ rating.”

Whitney Holding Corporation (Nasdaq:WTNY) through its banking subsidiary Whitney National Bank, serves the five-state Gulf Coast region stretching from Houston, Texas, across southern Louisiana and the coastal region of Mississippi; to central and southern Alabama; the panhandle of Florida; and the Tampa Bay metropolitan area of Florida.

The Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas is one of 12 district banks in the FHLBank System created by Congress in 1932.  The Bank, with total assets of $67.3 billion as of September 30, 2009, is a member-owned cooperative that supports housing and community development by providing competitively priced loans and other credit products to more than 900 members and associated institutions in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico and Texas. For more information, visit the Bank’s web site at

The Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas logo is available at

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

          Whitney Holding Corporation
          Liza Copping

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