Thinking about entering the world of first-time homebuyers? If so, before you get a mortgage through a big, corporate bank, consider going to a local credit union like BECU instead.

BECU announced in mid-February that it will offer assistance to first-time homebuyers through its First-Time Homebuyer Grants program. The grants help buyers with the first, and often most difficult, step in buying a home — coming up with a down payment.

The grants award 2 percent of a down payment, up to $6,500, to qualified BECU members looking to purchase their first home. To qualify for the grant, BECU members must apply for, qualify for, and close on the home of their choice. The home must be purchased with a BECU mortgage of up to $453,100. Any grant money awarded must be used toward either the down payment or the closing costs of the home.

“Purchasing your first home is not only a major milestone, it can help lead to a more financially stable future,” said Scott Strand, BECU’s senior vice president of lending and wealth management. “Our goal with this program is simple: to help more people become homeowners. Many of our members are qualified homebuyers, but they simply need help clearing the hurdle of a down payment.”

BECU has earmarked $1 million in funds to go to qualified members who are buying their first home. Grants are awarded on a first-come-first-serve basis. Find out more here.