As 2023 comes to a close, on behalf of the executive management team at FHLBank Atlanta, I want to thank you for your trust and partnership.
I’m proud of the work we accomplished together this year amid challenges in the banking industry and housing market. I appreciate your ongoing engagement, which makes our cooperative stronger.
Three U.S. bank failures in March sent a ripple effect through our industry and led to a dramatic rise in financial institution demand for liquidity. The Bank executed on its mission effectively and reliably met member demand for advances during this time. This market disruption once again underscored the importance of our mission to be a stable source of liquidity and support your business and funding needs through all economic cycles.
Additionally, the Federal Reserve continued raising interest rates in 2023 in response to persistently high inflation. Higher rates led to lower mortgage activity, increased competition for deposits, and lower net interest margins. The Bank continued to support members in this challenging environment, providing funding solutions for liquidity and balance sheet management.
With the sharp rise in interest rates over the last two years, housing affordability fell to its lowest level in a decade in many of our communities. Given these challenges, we were extremely pleased with how members partnered with developers and community housing groups throughout 2023 to leverage Bank funding to produce affordable housing and help more people achieve homeownership.
The Bank awarded $20 million through our Affordable Housing Program (AHP) General Fund in August to support 28 affordable housing initiatives. Members also leveraged the Bank’s AHP Homeownership Set-aside Program to help low- to moderate-income families and individuals purchase homes. After initial set-aside funding became available in February, the Bank contributed $7.2 million more to the program in May, and then made another $4 million available in November. In total, the Bank provided $19.3 million in set-aside funds this year.
The Bank continually strives to identify and address issues impacting the availability of affordable housing and the development of vibrant communities. After announcing our Heirs’ Property Prevention and Resolution Grant initiative last year, we were pleased to award $1 million in total funding to 24 organizations early in 2023. Funds were granted to nonprofits and other entities that proposed creative pilot programs aimed at mitigating heirs’ property matters that often create barriers to building generational wealth.
Further, this year the Bank saw a need to assist affordable housing projects facing financing gaps due to rising interest rates and construction costs. We launched a new Multifamily Housing Bridge Fund in November, committing $8 million to help developers close funding gaps to complete multifamily affordable rental housing projects.
I know that 2024 will present continued opportunities for collaboration. We are also committed to keeping you updated on developments related to the FHFA’s FHLBank System at 100: Focusing on the Future report. Thank you to the members who joined the discussions we led immediately following the report’s release in November, as well as those who have shared perspectives with us otherwise. Your thoughts on the FHFA’s recommendations are important to us. The Bank is actively engaged with key stakeholders, including the other FHLBanks, to ensure a coordinated approach and ongoing advocacy for the needs of your business and communities.
I look forward to working with you next year toward our shared objectives.
Thank you again for your partnership and have a wonderful holiday season and a happy New Year.
President and Chief Executive Officer