The 12 Federal Home Loan Banks are cooperatives owned by their members who are more than 7,700 community financial institutions of all sizes and many types in every U.S. state and territory.
Created by Congress, the purpose of the Federal Home Loan Banks is to be a strong and reliable source of funds for local lenders to finance housing, jobs and economic growth. They are well capitalized, prudent and responsible.
The Federal Home Loan Bank cooperative model fosters conservative management and a long-term view of financial performance. They protect the taxpayer and assure safety and soundness through multiple layers of protection.
The secured loans that Federal Home Loan Banks make to their members are called "advances". Through advances, local community financial institutions have a nearly instantaneous source of funding.
The 12 cooperatives are regionally focused and controlled. Members use the funds they obtain from their Federal Home Loan Bank to invest in their local communities by making hometown loans to families, farms and businesses.
The Federal Home Loan Banks are the only way most of community financial institutions can access the global capital markets. It is the method by which the funds from these markets make it to Main Street America.
They do not receive federal appropriations. During the nation's 2008 financial crisis, the Federal Home Loan Banks stayed strong and took no government money (as other sources of funding dried up, they increased their lending).
The Affordable Housing Program (AHP) has made more than $4.6 billion in grants through members. The $64 billion in below-market loans of the Community Investment Program (CIP) have benefitted millions of American families.
Through their community banks, credit unions, insurance companies and community development financial institutions, the Federal Home Loan Banks are a mechanism for economic stability and growth.