Washington: A new independent report on access to capital and credit in American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian communities (Native Communities) was released today by the Native Nations Institute. The Access to Capital and Credit in Native Communities Report (the Report), commissioned by the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Community Development Financial Institutions Fund (CDFI Fund), examines recent successes in the effort to improve access to capital and credit in Native Communities as well as what can be done to build on that success. The CDFI Fund commissioned the Report as a follow-up to its 2001 Native American Lending Study, which analyzed access to capital and financial services in Native Communities, identified barriers to access, and provided options to address the barriers.
“The lack of access to capital and credit has been a significant constraint on economic development in Native Communities,” said Annie Donovan, Director of the CDFI Fund. “While the Native American Lending Study focused on status of and barriers to accessing capital, the Access to Capital and Credit in Native Communities Report focuses on what has changed over the last 15 years, and on what opportunities exist to increase the provision of financial services and access to capital in Native Communities.”
One of the successes examined in the Report is the critical role of Community Development Financial Institutions that serve Native Communities (Native CDFIs), and how, thanks to the growth and reach of Native CDFIs, many Native Community residents who want to buy a home, start a business, or take control of their finances have better options today than they did when the CDFI Fund first examined the issue in 2001. It also discusses the role of the CDFI Fund’s programs for Native CDFIs, which have been a critical source of technical assistance and training in addition to capital.
The Report also examines:
• The growth and success in financial education programs, especially with Native-specific curriculums;
• The need to expand Native entrepreneurship to help Native Communities’ economies flourish;
• The current housing situation in Native Communities, the flow of housing finance and other systemic factors;
• The need for capital and credit for tribal governments and tribal enterprises for development of basic infrastructure and other community amenities such as health care centers;
• The impact tribal legal infrastructure has on business and economic development in Native Communities; and
• Strategies Native Communities can adopt to improve access to capital and credit.
In addition, the Native Nations Institute will soon release a companion to the Report – the Selected Review of Existing Data (the Data Review). The Data Review helped set the stage for the larger Report by collecting data regarding access to capital and credit in Native Communities – something that historically has been very difficult to obtain and verify – and presenting it to the public in a singular document. The Data Review will be made available on the CDFI Fund’s Native Initiatives webpage later this month.
The Report was published by the Native Nations Institute at The University of Arizona. It was funded by the U.S. Department of Treasury’s CDFI Fund, with additional support provided by the Morris K. and Stewart L. Udall Foundation.
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