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Spanning the Region

Saturday, April 1, 2000

"Next Step" Loan Finances St. Louis Homeowners' Down Payment

The St. Louis Community Development Administration (CDA) and Missouri Housing Development Commission (MHDC) are partnering to provide increased opportunities for homeownership in several St. Louis neighborhoods through their Next Step down payment assistance program. The CDA received $350,000 from MHDC to fund the program.

The program offers down-payment assistance for up to 20 percent of the sales price at no interest for up to 30 years and is financed through participating lenders. To participate, the homebuyers must invest at least 2 percent of their own funds toward the down payment.

Next Step is open to buyers of new homes or substandard rehabilitated older homes in the neighborhoods of Walnut/Mark Twain, North Central, HiPointe, Ellendale, Greater Garden District, Near Southside and South River District. Borrowers must have household incomes below $67,800, and the purchase price must be less than $149,010 for new construction and $123,210 for rehab and purchase of an existing home.

Next Step mirrors MHDC's regular Down Payment Assistance (DPA) program except that the regular program provides benefits only for first-time homebuyers and has lower income and purchase price restrictions. For more information on the DPA program or to obtain a list of participating lenders in the Next Step program, visit MHDC's web site at

Main Street Manual Now Available

Sharing Solutions: A Guide to Downtown Revitalization is a reference book that covers the basics of downtown revitalization. The publication, produced by Main Street Arkansas and the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, is organized by a four-point Main Street Approach—Design, Organization, Promotion and Economic Restructuring. In each of the four sections, the most-asked-about topics in each category are addressed. Also, each section includes references and resources for both Arkansas and national programs. For copies, call Tiffany Guynes of the Fed's Little Rock Branch at (501) 324-8240.

Delta BusinessLINC

A national initiative that encourages private-sector business-to-business linkages to enhance the capacity of small businesses now has a local flavor. The Delta BusinessLINC is being organized by the Enterprise Corporation of the Delta with three mid-south corporations—Entergy, Federal Express and Mississippi Chemical—as charter members. This local chapter will establish business-to-business relationships between large corporations and smaller Delta firms. These large companies will mentor and establish joint ventures with area small businesses to develop the viability and sustainability of the small companies, as well as to develop new supplier relationships that will benefit those larger corporations.

The national initiative is supported by the Business Roundtable, the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Small Business Administration and is targeting linkages to help small businesses that are located in economically distressed urban and rural areas. The Delta chapter is the only rural chapter to date.

Enterprise Corporation of the Delta will help match mentors with small business proteges and provide financial and technical assistance to participating companies. For more information, call (601) 944-1100.

Keyes Named to Fed's Consumer Advisory Council

M. Dean Keyes of Mercantile Bancorporation, Inc., in St. Louis, was one of seven new members named to the Federal Reserve Board's Consumer Advisory Council. Keyes is senior vice president and director of Corporate/Community Reinvestment Act Initiatives for Mercantile. She participates on the boards of organizations that promote affordable housing, racial equality, jobs and economic development.

At the suggestion of the Board, the Consumer Advisory Council was established by Congress in 1976 to advise the Board on the exercise of its duties under the Consumer Credit Protection Act and other consumer-related matters. Members of the 30-member council serve three-year terms that are staggered to ensure continuity. They meet three times a year at the Board's offices in Washington, D.C.