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    Native American Banking Resource Directory

    This directory provides descriptions and contact information for a sampling of organizations that can provide resources to banks interested in lending, investing, or providing retail financial services in Indian country. These activities are organized under the following categories:

  • General Information
  • Single Family Lending
  • Multifamily Lending
  • Public Facilities Lending
  • Commercial Lending
  • Retail Financial Services/Financial Literacy
  • Native American Financial Institutions

    General Information

    2002 Native American Banking Forum was held in Washington, DC, on October 16, 2002, for the purpose of exploring the issue of access to credit for Native Americans.  This forum featured keynote messages from the OCC’s First Senior Deputy Comptroller and Chief Counsel, Julie Williams, the CDFI Fund’s Director, Tony Brown, and HUD’s Deputy Assistant Secretary for Native American Programs, Rodger Boyd.  Two panels were held during the day: 

    Access to Retail Financial Services and Financial Literacy This panel explored access to financial services as provided by tribally-owned financial institutions, large banks, and community organizations.

    Economic Development in Indian Country This panel reviewed commercial lending programs in Indian country and highlighted what banks look for when establishing a relationship with a tribe. 

  • OCC’s Fall 2001 Community Developments Newsletter “Banking in Indian Country” contains articles addressing how financial institutions, tribal organizations, and others have developed partnerships that lead to increased access to lending and other financial services on tribal lands. Successes are described in the areas of home mortgage lending, commercial lending, retail services, financial literacy initiatives, and development of Native American financial institutions.

  • OCC’s Guide to Providing Financial Services to Native Americans in Indian Country is a study about banks that have effectively offered products and services to Native Americans living in Indian country. The study’s results suggest that banks have made significant progress in recent years in delivering products and services to Indian country. An important factor when banks attempt to offer products and services in Indian country is the bankers’ ability to recognize the problems and needs of tribes in their market areas. The report highlights some keys to success, such as consumer education and marketing and how banks provide access to credit, deposit services, and nontraditional activities.

    Lending in Indian Country: Cultural and Legal Issues is a video series developed by the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis to help lenders understand and establish profitable relationships with tribal governments and individuals on Native American reservations. The video set and a guidebook discuss cultural differences, land and title issues as they relate to tribal powers, sovereign immunity, tribal courts, collateral, and remedies. Experts on Native American economic and business development are featured in the videos.

    Code Talk is a federal inter-agency Native American Web site that provides information for Native American communities. Information on HUD’s One-Stop Mortgage Center can be accessed from this site. The HUD Office of Native American Programs (ONAP) maintains the Code Talk Website.

    Native eDGE is a Web site which links to 17 federal agencies, educational institutions, and organizations through a single portal so that tribes, Native Americans, lending institutions, and private businesses can collaborate to promote economic growth.  Native eDGE serves as a one-stop shop for access to information, federal and non-federal grants, loans, loan guarantees, and technical assistance for Native Americans and Alaskan Native organizations and individuals. Click here for a summary of Native eDGE programs and initiatives.

    Tiller’s Guide to Indian Country: Economic Profiles of American Indian Reservations profiles the economy of 500 Native American reservations in 36 states. The guide indicates that wherever possible, it has relied upon information provided by Native American tribes. For each reservation, the guide describes its location and land holdings, culture and history, government, economy, infrastructure, and community facilities. State maps are included to provide the general locations of the reservations.

    Housing Assistance Council - Case Studies on Lending in Indian Country is a report produced by the Housing Assistance Council (HAC) that describes partnerships between Native American tribes and private lending institutions to increase the supply of housing funds on Indian lands. Two partnerships in Wisconsin and one in Washington state are profiled and evaluated as potential models for similar efforts around the country. The report briefly examines other approaches that have been taken, looks at barriers to private credit initiatives in Indian country, and provides conclusions about such lending programs based on the case studies presented.

    Guide to USDA Programs for American Indians and Alaskan Natives provides a summary of the Department of Agriculture’s programs and services for Native Americans and Alaskan Natives. Includes summaries of the Section 502 home loan program, business and industry loan guarantees, and Rural Utilities Service guaranteed loans.

    Federal Enterprise Zone and Empowerment Communities are programs providing special financial incentives for businesses that locate in certain designated areas. The following are links to summaries of the Empowerment Zones and Enterprise Communities located on Native American Reservations.

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    Single Family Lending

    OCC’s Guide to Home Mortgage Lending in Indian Country is a publication that gives background information on Native American culture, contains demographic information about Indian reservations, and provides insights into the ways that the mortgage lending process differs in Indian country. It is divided into four sections, separately dealing with legal issues relating to Native Americans; the steps involved in the residential mortgage lending process that are unique to Indian country; various government loan guarantee and secondary market programs available to lenders doing business with Native Americans; and some of the compliance issues involved in mortgage lending on Native American reservations. The guide also includes appendices that list regional offices of relevant organizations and government agencies.

    HUD Indian Home Loan Guarantee Program (Section 184) provides Native Americans access to sources of private mortgage financing, secured by HUD loan guarantees. Section 184 covers one- to four-family homes located in Native American or Alaskan Native areas where land may be held in trust by the U.S. government for the benefit of a particular tribe or individual. The loans may be used for construction, acquisition, or rehabilitation of homes.

    USDA Section 502 Program includes a direct single family loan program, which can be used as a down payment or as a sole source of assistance, and a guarantee program, for a loan that is placed through a private lender. Click here for a program summary.

    Fannie Mae has a number of secondary market programs offered through the Native American Conventional Lending Initiative (NACLI) that are for Native Americans who are interested in purchasing homes. The loan products are available on fee simple land or land that is restricted by tribal trust agreements. Most involve the use of private mortgage insurance (PMI).

    Freddie Mac has a program for conventional lending for Native Americans that is available to lenders making loans on unrestricted fee simple land, federally restricted trust land, and tribally restricted fee simple land.

    Guidelines for Federal Native America Mortgage Programs is a quick reference side-by-side comparison of the key guidelines of each of the federal programs providing guarantees on loans made by private lenders in Indian country.

    HUD’s Title VI Loan Guarantees assist Indian Housing Block Grant recipients who want to finance eligible affordable housing activities, but, are unable to secure financing without the assistance of the federal guarantee. A private lender provides the financing, and HUD issues the guarantee to the lender. The HUD guaranty is for 95 percent of the unpaid principal balance and accrued interest. Lenders or investors assume a 5 percent risk.

    Federal Home Loan Bank of Seattle purchases loans from Federal Home Loan member institutions that have been guaranteed under Title VI of the Native American Housing Assistance and Self Determination Act (NAHASDA).

    HUD’s One-Stop Mortgage Center Initiative identifies barriers and recommends solutions to make the mortgage process more user friendly for homeownership opportunity in Indian country. Appendix K describes innovative private sector lender initiatives using section 184, Low Income Housing Tax Credits, Federal Home Loan Bank Affordable Housing Program, NAHASDA Title VI, and Bond Financing.

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    Multifamily Lending

    USDA Section 515 Program is a competitive loan program available to underserved communities to develop affordable multifamily housing on a colonia, tribal land, Empowerment Zones, Enterprise Communities, or other areas identified by a state government.

    Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC) are used by a number of tribes to subsidize the cost of creating multifamily rental housing. Under the Low Income Housing Tax Credit program, taxpayers may take a credit against federal income taxes for qualified rental housing development expenditures. Tribes have sold the Low Income Housing Tax Credits, on projects the tribes have developed, to funds or other investors. Click here for a summary of these initiatives.

    HUD’s Title VI Program is a guarantee program that may be used to assist a Native American tribe or housing entity in obtaining financing for affordable multifamily housing. This guaranty is available only if the tribe or housing entity has made efforts to obtain such financing without the use of such guarantee and cannot complete such financing consistent with the timely execution of the program plans without such guarantee.

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    Public Facilities Lending

    USDA’s Rural Utility Service,  which is a unit of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development Office, provides direct and guaranteed loans to Native American tribes to develop water and wastewater systems in rural areas with populations under 10,000.

    Rural Community Assistance Corporation (RCAC) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for rural communities and disadvantaged people through partnerships, technical assistance, and access to resources, with a priority on providing information and assistance to Native American groups. Technical expertise and experience include the development of guidance documents, reference materials, and dispute resolution activities. Major funders of the division include the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Rural Community Assistance Program (RCAP), USDA, California Department of Economic Opportunity, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and The Ford Foundation.  RCAC has assisted hundreds of communities with water or wastewater activities, leveraged millions of dollars for water and wastewater facilities development, and trained thousands of officials and citizens.

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    Commercial Lending

    USDA’s Rural Cooperative Business Service , which is a unit in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development Office, provides business and industry loan guarantees up to 90 percent of a loan made by a commercial lender. Loan proceeds may be used for working capital, machinery and equipment, buildings and real estate, and certain types of debt refinancing. The primary purpose is to create and maintain employment and improve the economic climate in rural communities.

    Small Business Administration Office of Native American Affairs (ONAA) is dedicated to ensuring that Native Americans, Native Alaskans, and Native Hawaiians seeking to create, develop and expand small businesses have full access to the necessary business development and expansion tools available through the agency's entrepreneurial development, lending and procurement programs. Additionally, ONAA administers the Tribal Business Information Centers project designed to offer culturally-tailored business development assistance to Native American entrepreneurs. SBA's Web site contains information on:

    Native Center for American Indian Enterprise Development operates the Native American Business Consultants (NABC) program in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Commerce Minority Business Development Centers. The NABC is a nationwide project that provides management and technical assistance for Native Americans in areas with no access to economic and business development assistance. This assistance extends to both tribes and individuals living on or off the reservation. Assistance is available for all stages of business from start-up through expansion.

    Native American Business Development Centers (NABDC) are part of a national network that was established to increase the growth of new minority-owned business and strengthen existing ones. NABDC consultants offer a wide range of services that include initial counseling, government/private sector contracting assistance, and financial management. Native American Business Development Centers across the United States are funded by the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) of the U.S. Department of Commerce. Click here for a list of Native American Business Development Centers.

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    Retail Financial Services/Financial Literacy

    First Nations Development Institute promotes culturally-appropriate economic development by and for Native peoples. First Nations helps develop the capacity of tribes, Native organizations, and Native American people to better manage their financial assets. A curriculum, “Building Native Communities: Financial Skills for Families,” developed in partnership with the Fannie Mae Foundation, is available free of charge. First Nations also maintains a listing of Native American-owned and -managed financial institutions.

    HUD’s One-Stop Mortgage Center Report identifies barriers and recommends solutions to make the mortgage process more user-friendly for homeownership opportunity in Indian country.

    HUD-Approved Housing Counseling Agencies  is a list of agencies that have been identified as providing homebuyer education and counseling. The listing is by state and includes some counseling groups administered by tribal entities.

    National Centers of Excellence: Tribal College Partnership Project is sponsored by the USDA Rural Development's Office of Community Development (OCD) in conjunction with four tribal colleges to build institutional capacity and provide education and training on rural community development issues.

    White House Initiative on Tribal Colleges and Universities was implemented through Executive Order 13021 with a goal of public-private partnerships to help tribal colleges bring economic development to their reservations and improve the quality of Native American higher education. The U.S. Department of Education Web site provides a listing of tribal colleges participating in this initiative.

    National American Indian Housing Council provides training in Native American housing management and technical assistance to Native American housing professionals.

    Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation (NRC) periodically offers the following two courses at its training institute: (1) “Designing a Home Ownership Program for Indian Country,” and (2) “Personal Financial Skills for Native Americans.”

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    Native American Financial Institutions

    A Guide to Tribal Ownership of a National Bank (September, 2002) is an OCC publication designed to help federally recognized Native American tribes explore entry into the national banking system by establishing or acquiring control of a national bank. A companion to the Comptroller’s Corporate Manual, the guide contains the OCC’s general policies and procedures for forming a new national bank or otherwise entering into the national banking system.

    First Nations Development Institute maintains a listing of Native American owned and managed financial institutions.

    Minority Bank Deposit Program (MBDP) is a voluntary program to encourage federal agencies, state and local governments, and the private sector to use MBDP participants as depositaries and financial agents. Qualified MBDP participants are certified by the Financial Management Service (FMS), a bureau of the U.S. Department of the Treasury, and included on a program roster distributed nationally to federal program agencies, contractors, and other public and private sector organizations.

    Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund stimulates the creation and expansion of CDFIs by providing incentives to traditional banks and thrifts through the Bank Enterprise Act awards program. The CDFI Fund also provides relatively small infusions of capital to institutions that serve distressed communities and low-income individuals. Technical assistance grants are also provided to strengthen the capacity of community development financial institutions. Click here for a list of CDFIs that have received an award from the CDFI Fund and that report that they primarily serve a Native American, Alaska Native, or Native Hawaiian community.

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