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Community Developments Investments (August 2013)

Indian Country Ezine Banner

A Look Inside…
Indian Country badly needs capital to counter the lingering problems caused by unemployment and poverty. For banks, there is a real opportunity for contributing to needed changes—as well as for making a profit. Understanding Native American communities is the key.

  With more than 5 million people and 566 sovereign tribal nations, Indian Country presents many opportunities for banks to do business.

Tribal Nations Ready and Able to Fully Contribute to America’s Prosperity 
Many banks don’t know how to engage Native American communities, says the Executive Director of the National Congress of American Indians, who offers a road map.

  Jacqueline Johnson Pata, Executive Director of the National Congress of American Indians

Open for Business: U.S. Bank’s Experience in Indian Country
U.S. Bank executives tell how their bank has tailored deals to fit the needs of Native American customers, offering examples of loans, investments, and service projects the bank has undertaken in various tribal areas.


Experienced in doing business with tribal nations, U.S. Bank uses SBA 7(a) loans and New Market Tax Credits to lend and invest in Indian Country.

Prospering Together on Top of the World
First National Bank Alaska has become a leading financial partner of Alaska Native corporations by becoming experts in a loan guarantee program offered by the U.S. Office of Indian Energy and Economic Development.

  Crews work on the underwater fiber-optic cable that connects Alaska’s Kodiak Island to telecommunications infrastructure on the mainland.

Lending in Indian Country: Opportunities in Partnerships
An Oklahoma banker shares lessons learned and best practices that have helped First National Bank & Trust of Shawnee do business profitably—and in a safe and sound manner. The bank’s diverse customer base includes many Native American tribal and individual customers.

  The Cultural Heritage Center of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, the owner of Shawnee, Okla.-based First National Bank and Trust.

Program Helps Dream of Home Ownership Come True
A home loan guarantee program from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has helped Bank of Oklahoma provide mortgages to Native Americans in New Mexico who never thought they would own homes.

  This home in Isleta Pueblo in Albuquerque, N.M., was financed by the Bank of Albuquerque with a loan guarantee through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Section 184 program.

Working Together: Native CDFIs and Banks Partner to Bridge Financing Gap

A Native American community development financial institution takes on the challenges of poverty and unemployment, helping to improve lives in one of the poorest places in the United States: the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation in South Dakota.

  This hunting lodge and cabins complex is one of the small business projects financed by the Four Bands Community Fund.

Secured Transactions Codes: A Stepping–Stone to Economic Development
An interview with Susan Woodrow of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis helps explain the importance of having uniform commercial and secured transactions codes in place to attract creditors to Indian Country.

  The Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis uses this private business development model in its approach to economic development in Indian Country.

Community Reinvestment in Indian Country  
A review of the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) rules as they apply to banks’ lending and investments in Indian Country, as well as a primer on CRA terms and how CRA rules apply to the use of some federal loan guarantee programs.


Useful links to help banks and borrowers find out about the options available to them, plus looks at two federal agencies that can help lenders get started.

Community Developments Investments is produced by the OCC’s Community Affairs Department. Articles by non-OCC authors represent their own views and not necessarily the OCC’s.