Headquartered in the vibrant city of Asheville, HomeTrust Bank has served the communities of western North Carolina for nearly 100 years. The bank has grown exponentially in the last 25 years – from $250 million to $3.4 billion in assets – and expanded its market coverage to include central North Carolina, southwest Virginia, upstate South Carolina, and east Tennessee.
As a shareholder of FHLBank Atlanta, HomeTrust has leveraged a variety of products to help manage its growth. Tony VunCannon, executive vice president and chief financial officer, says that FHLBank Atlanta’s ability to grow with HomeTrust has been the core source of value in their relationship.
“An institution’s needs at $250 million in assets are much different than the needs at $3.4 billion,” said VunCannon. “FHLBank Atlanta has offered products that met our business requirements at various stages of growth.”
HomeTrust is active in both residential and commercial lending; however, commercial real estate and C&I lending have been the primary drivers of the bank’s recent growth, particularly in its newer geographic markets. VunCannon says that access to FHLBank Atlanta advances during this time has been important since loan growth has outpaced deposit growth.
HomeTrust currently uses short-term Fixed Rate Credit advances to manage liquidity. The bank also maintains a book of convertible advances, which VunCannon says offer lower funding costs without much added risk.
In addition to advances, HomeTrust uses FHLBank Atlanta’s letter of credit to collateralize deposits from public entities. VunCannon says that the letter of credit has worked well for this purpose as HomeTrust does not have a lot of unpledged liquid assets available to secure public deposits.
“FHLBank Atlanta offers a streamlined approach to obtaining the letter of credit and we can complete the process in one day,” said VunCannon. “Additionally, it’s a cost effective form of collateral for these deposits.”
Supporting Communities through Affordable Housing
HomeTrust Bank has been a long-time participant in FHLBank Atlanta’s Affordable Housing Program (AHP), working with local community developers to apply for AHP grants and extending down-payment assistance to first-time homebuyers.
Between 1994 and 2018, in partnership with various Habitat for Humanity affiliates and other community developers, HomeTrust received 21 AHP Competitive awards totaling nearly $4.5 million. These funds supported $36 million in real estate development, including the construction or rehabilitation of 478 units of affordable housing in the communities HomeTrust serves. The bank has also participated in FHLBank Atlanta’s AHP homeowner assistance products, delivering $963,000 in down-payment assistance to help 158 families purchase a home.
“We are pleased to help facilitate getting AHP funds into our communities,” said VunCannon. “The funds are valuable for the community and the bank generates positive publicity by being active participants in local projects.”
Whether HomeTrust is applying for AHP funds, borrowing advances, or obtaining a letter of credit, VunCannon says that he can always depend on his FHLBank Atlanta relationship manager and other staff to be responsive.
“Our relationship managers have always been able to get us in touch with the right people,” said VunCannon. “This responsiveness combined with FHLBank Atlanta’s ability to provide products that meet our changing business needs make the bank our first choice for wholesale borrowing.”