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Photo Release -- Grant Program Helps Provide Start-Up Costs for New Mexico Business

Kerry Ratzlaff
Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas Logo

LAS VEGAS, N.M., April 18, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Kerry Ratzlaff is no stranger to entrepreneurship. He owned his own business for years in northeast Kansas, but while visiting his brother in New Mexico several years ago over Thanksgiving, he fell in love with the area and told his wife, Annette, that he would move to New Mexico if an opportunity arose.

Kerry Ratzlaff received a $25,000 Economic Development Program grant from FHLB Dallas and Community 1st Bank Las Vegas to help kick-start his new business.


A photo accompanying this release is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/newsroom/prs/?pkgid=18223

When a job opportunity presented itself, Mr. Ratzlaff sold his business and home in Kansas, and moved to the Las Vegas, New Mexico, area. He worked in propane delivery, but missed being in business for himself.

"I knew going from running my own business to being an employee would be tough on me. I missed the challenge of growing a business," he said.

A friend told Mr. Ratzlaff about a portable storage business opportunity. "When I first heard about it, I jumped at the opportunity," he said. "It took tenacity and a lot of legwork, but we stuck with it."

Mr. Ratzlaff opened Ponderosa Portable Storage in February 2013. The facility, located about 10 miles north of Las Vegas, houses assembly stations for portable storage units. Contractors use the stations to build the units, and Mr. Ratzlaff collects a percentage of the purchase price of the final product. Mr. Ratzlaff's wife, Annette, a stay-at-home mom who cares for the couple's five children, helps as the company's part-time office manager.

Mr. Ratzlaff obtained a loan from Community 1st Bank Las Vegas to help purchase and remodel the facility. The loan was funded by a low-cost Economic Development Program (EDP) advance from the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas (FHLB Dallas). He also qualified for a $25,000 EDPPlus grant, which provided additional capital to get the business off the ground.

Mr. Ratzlaff learned of the grant through Deborah Romero, vice president of commercial loans at Community 1st Bank Las Vegas.

"I sat down with Deborah on countless visits and she alerted me to the possibility of the grant. If not for the grant program, I would not have had enough capital to get my business started," Mr. Ratzlaff said. "That grant money was just the shot in the arm I needed. I knew the loan from Community 1st was depleting fast, so once the money from the grant kicked in, we were able to buy the supplies and equipment we needed, and pay the electrician and plumber."

Community 1st Bank Las Vegas has utilized the EDPPlus program for several years.

"We have found that the EDPPlus grant has helped supplement and mitigate our risk when we assist some of the start-ups and expansions in our area," said Community 1st Bank Executive Vice President Ernesto Salazar. "When business owners launch new projects or expansions, they are often undercapitalized. We use EDPPlus to promote further capitalization for the business, whether it is for working capital or fixed assets."

Also, because the loans Community 1st Bank offers under the program are funded by low-cost advances from FHLB Dallas, Community 1st Bank Las Vegas is able to offer its borrowers long-term financing with preferential rates, Mr. Salazar added.

"We're excited that the Ratzlaffs were willing to give us the opportunity to offer financing for their new project," Mr. Salazar said. "The whole community is excited that they chose Las Vegas and we wish them a long and prosperous stay here."

Since opening Ponderosa Portable Storage, Mr. Ratzlaff says the business has exceeded all of his expectations.

"I feel like we've put together an excellent product," Mr. Ratzlaff said. "We have a lot of options our customers can look at, and we're in a great location."

EDPPlus grants are available through FHLB Dallas member institutions, such as Community 1st Bank Las Vegas, and are offered in conjunction with EDP advances. The program provides favorably priced advances to FHLB Dallas member institutions to support economic development and community revitalization projects that qualify by location, income, or targeted services.

If a member institution is approved for an EDP advance, the member's customer may then be eligible for an accompanying EDPPlus grant. EDPPlus grants are non competitive and available on a first-come, first-served basis to promote and enhance small business development and job creation in underserved areas or to underserved populations. In 2013, FHLB Dallas has made $1 million in EDPPlus grant funds available through its members.

About the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas

The Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas is one of 12 district banks in the FHLBank System created by Congress in 1932. FHLB Dallas, with total assets of $35.8 billion as of December 31, 2012, is a member-owned cooperative that supports housing and community development by providing competitively priced loans and other credit products to approximately 900 members and associated institutions in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, and Texas. For more information, visit the FHLB Dallas website at fhlb.com.

The photo is also available via AP PhotoExpress.

CONTACT: Corporate Communications Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas www.fhlb.com (214) 441-8445

Source:Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas