FHLBank San Francisco Makes $12.5 Million Available for Downpayment Assistance Grants

2023 funding for the WISH Program will enable 41 participating member banks and credit unions to deliver grants of up to nearly $30,000 to lower-income first-time homebuyers 

SAN FRANCISCO, April 11, 2023 – The Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco (FHLBank San Francisco) has launched its 2023 WISH matching grant program, making $12.5 million available to help lower-income families and individuals achieve the dream of homeownership. This year, 41 FHLBank San Francisco member financial institutions headquartered in Arizona, California, and Nevada have signed on to assist eligible low- to moderate-income first-time homebuyers by delivering 4-to-1 matching grants, up to the current Federal Housing Finance Agency maximum subsidy of $29,172, that can be applied to downpayment and closing costs.

“Saving for an initial downpayment is one of the greatest barriers to entry for first-time homebuyers,” said Teresa Bryce Bazemore, CEO and president of FHLBank San Francisco. “Through our WISH matching grant program, our goal is to help buyers overcome that hurdle and set them on a path to building equity faster.”

Recent research from the Urban Institute shows that initiatives such as WISH are a uniquely successful strategy to increase access to homeownership, one of the primary ways Americans build wealth. For young, low-income, or first-generation aspiring homeowners, downpayment assistance programs are particularly important in reducing wealth disparities. These programs also aid in closing the Black/white homeownership gap. As reported in Urban Institute’s research, “Less access to generational wealth among young Black adults is a root cause of higher student debt burden and a substantial barrier to accessing homeownership.”

Since the launch of WISH in 2000, FHLBank San Francisco has funded more than $141 million in homeownership grants, opening the door to homeownership for more than 9,500 low- and moderate-income families in communities where member financial institutions do business. Recent WISH grant recipient Doris Ealy, of Long Beach, Calif., purchased her first home in May 2022 at the age of 56. Ms. Ealy credits the $22,000 FHLBank San Francisco WISH grant she received with helping her make a larger downpayment on her home in the ultra-competitive Long Beach housing market. FHLBank San Francisco member, Luther Burbank Savings originated Ms. Ealy’s mortgage and facilitated her WISH grant.

“WISH is a game-changing program for low-to-moderate income homeowners and entire communities across Arizona, California, and Nevada,” said Simone Lagomarsino, president and CEO at Luther Burbank Savings and chair of FHLBank San Francisco’s board. “A WISH grant often times is the difference between homeownership being a reality rather than just a dream.”

WISH grants are targeted to working families and individuals who are ready to make the transition from renting to owning. The grants can be paired with local, state, and federal mortgage loan programs, such as Fannie Mae HomeReady and Federal Housing Administration-insured mortgages. 

First-time homebuyers interested in learning more about WISH matching grants are encouraged to contact a participating member institution directly.

Visit fhlbsf.com for more information about WISH and other FHLBank San Francisco grant programs

About the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco

The Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco is a member-driven cooperative helping local lenders in Arizona, California, and Nevada build strong communities, create opportunity, and change lives for the better. The tools and resources we provide to our member financial institutions—commercial banks, credit unions, industrial loan companies, savings institutions, insurance companies, and community development financial institutions—propel homeownership, help finance affordable housing, drive economic growth, and revitalize communities. Together with our members and other partners, we are making the communities we serve more vibrant, equitable, and resilient.