Learn How Native CDFIs Are Partners for Self-Determined Communities
Native CDFIs help you successfully drive investment and prosperity in tribal communities, rooted in culture.
Native CDFIs are led by people with deep knowledge of their communities. Most Native CDFIs operate on tribal lands, and many are managed and staffed by tribal citizens. They’re anchored in local culture and are passionate about creating opportunities for growth.
Native CDFIs weave together culturally informed relationships that bridge traditional cash economies with the financial mainstream, making financial education and services available to tribal members.
“We’re really building financial capabilities of our tribal members so now we’re [at] a point to where people know how to prudently manage their credit savings account. They know what’s good credit, what’s a predatory loan, and they’re ready to build their own assets, which in turn builds community assets.”
— Chrystel Cornelius (Ojibwe, Oneida), Executive Director, First Nations Oweesta Corporation
They help tribal members open bank accounts, access credit, and make savings plans. Families can purchase their homes, Native-led businesses can secure loans, and communities can build long-term wealth.
Native CDFIs help tribal governments achieve their economic development goals.
Native CDFIs can offer expertise to tribal governments, helping them advance their economic development goals and produce concrete results within their communities. Native CDFIs lay the groundwork for investment in Native communities and the growth of economic infrastructure by providing capital and financial assistance, education, and training.
It can be challenging for tribal governments to advance social entrepreneurship and economic development with existing resources. Native CDFIs connect tribal governments to new Native financial investment opportunities. This builds stronger ties between local enterprise and funding from banks, investors, and government agencies. These opportunities haven’t always been available in sovereign tribal nations.
Native CDFIs also help local economies grow beyond government support. Many development plans need a boost of awareness and support to move forward. Native CDFIs help provide this boost. They often advise tribal governments, providing support to craft policies, practices, written codes, and laws that encourage and sustain economic growth.
Here are some already-existing federal support programs that are strengthening Native CDFIs!
A number of economic and community development programs can provide equity, loans, loan security, and other credit enhancements that support Native CDFIs’ work.
The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s CDFI Fund (CDFI Fund) created its Native Initiatives program to bolster economic self-determination in Native communities through a variety of opportunities that foster Native CDFI/community bank partnerships.  In many cases, banks with a Native CDFI in their assessment area could leverage public funds to support technical assistance, trainings, and more.
Section 184 Indian Home Loan Guarantee Program (HUD) is a game changer for homeownership in tribal communities. HUD can attract outside investments from financial institutions. It provides them with a 100% loan guarantee to assure investments held in Indian Country trust lands will be repaid in full. 
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) encourages financial institutions to invest in Native CDFIs. Banks can choose to make a small dollar deposit (under $250,000) to a Native CDFI backed by FDIC insurance.  Credit unions participating in the Certificate of Deposit Account Registry Service (CDARS) can be insured if making a deposit over $250,000.