By Lilli Dubler, Building Kentucky
Dealing with finances can be stressful for almost anyone. Imagine how daunting that can be for someone new to the United States and its financial system or for someone who needs guidance and lives in underserved communities.
That’s where Laurent Houekpon comes in. As Director of Engagement and Outreach with Stock Yards Bank & Trust, he understands the importance of connecting with people across the community and providing culturally responsive services to ensure financial success and generational prosperity.
“My role at Stock Yards Bank is to take the pulse of the community at all times, in real time,” Houekpon said. “What is it that we can do to accompany them as partners and through them, understand the community needs and together, find the appropriate local solutions? That is how I define my work here.”
Stock Yards Bank & Trust is committed to helping people belong in their community and thrive. Houekpon came to the United States from France and received his citizenship while living in Kentucky. He knows firsthand what that process entails and how difficult it can be to adjust.
“For new Americans for example, trust is even more of a factor. They need someone to legitimize their entry. Seeing me, somebody who speaks with an accent and speaks several languages, there is already an emotional connection right there,” Houekpon said. “That relationship, we don’t see it as a transaction. It’s something that we forge and nurture, something that we grow. That is one thing that makes our bank unique, we really strive to relate to our partners and meet them where they are.”
Houekpon understands how valuable it is to have support during times of transition and is able to use his own unique experience to best serve clients. Stock Yards Bank & Trust provides opportunities to make the home-buying process easier to understand. Complimentary seminars are hosted by local branches or with community-based organizations for first-time homebuyers to attend.
“There are so many factors in becoming a homeowner,” Houekpon said. “It is important for folks to make the best, educated decisions for something that is probably one of the largest investments of their life, we need to accompany them. That accompaniment requires: creating a safe space, patience, guidance, homebuyer’s education through a network of local and community-based partners, etc.”
Stock Yards Bank & Trust also offers the Right at Home program, which gives homebuyers the opportunity for 100% financing on their home purchase.
“There is still that myth out there for first-time homebuyers that you need a 20% down payment to purchase a home. With the Right at Home program, the homebuyer doesn’t need a down payment” Houekpon said. Houekpon added, “Though the steps and the paces might require you to go a greater length, you are still bringing along someone to the path of success. We have been very successful with the Right At Home program.”
Laurent has a passion for helping the community. His role at Stock Yards Bank & Trust has allowed him to harness his own experiences to best serve clients and ensure they can make transitions with ease.