Biggest Native states fared poorly for mortgages

NEW YORK - American Indians, Alaska Natives and Native Hawaiians in the states with the biggest percentages of Native populations got proportionally much less mortgage credit in those states last year, federal data showed.

New Mexico and Oklahoma Natives fared the worst of the four states with more than 10 percent Native populations, according to Home Mortgage Disclosure Act data for 2006. While both states registered about 11 percent Native in their 2000 censuses, financial institutions based in New Mexico made just 1.7 percent of their mortgages to Indians last year, while Oklahoma came in just a bit higher at 2.9 percent.

For the two states above or near 20 percent Native population, Alaska and Hawaii, Alaska Natives saw just 3.5 percent of their state-based lender mortgage share, and Native Hawaiians 7.9 percent, the data showed.

The data, reported by some 8,700 lenders nationwide to the Federal Financial Institutions Examinations Council, do not give a total picture of state lending because they do not include mortgages made in-state by big out-of-state lenders like Countrywide Home Loans, Wells Fargo or Bank of America. They also do not include local lenders, called ''net branches,'' that have out-of-state parent companies.

In New Mexico, state-based lenders reported $14.4 billion in 2006 mortgages to FFIEC, a unit of the Federal Reserve Bank and other agencies. But they made just $24.1 million in mortgages to American Indians. (They also reported making $7.1 million in loans to Native Hawaiians.)

Just four local lenders reported making more than $1 million in mortgages to Natives. The leader was Charter Bank of Albuquerque, at $9.5 million (it also made $1.4 million in Native Hawaiian loans for total Native lending of $11 million of its $885 million in reported volume). Charter was followed by Los Alamos National Bank, Los Alamos, at $3 million (plus $543,000 to Native Hawaiians).

First Community Bank of Albuquerque and U.S. New Mexico Federal Credit Union, Albuquerque, also reported making more than $1 million in loans to Indians. The largest lender in the state, Thornburg Mortgage of Santa Fe, reported no lending to Indians, which may be a reporting error as it has made such loans in previous years.

In Oklahoma, state-based lenders reported making $179 million in mortgages to Indians out of a total of $6 billion in 2006 volume (also $14 million to Native Hawaiians).

First Mortgage Co. of Oklahoma City was the leader in the state, making $28.6 million in loans to Indian borrowers last year, a relatively robust 5.5 percent of its total volume of $517 million. Bank of Oklahoma, Tulsa, a much larger institution, was just behind it at $27 million.

Twenty-nine institutions in Oklahoma reported extending $1 million or more in mortgage credit to Indians last year, with four registering more than $10 million.

In Alaska, lenders made $63 million in loans to Alaska Natives or Indians in 2006, and an additional $15.3 million to Native Hawaiians. That was out of a total of $1.8 billion.

Biggest lenders to Natives were Residential Mortgage of Anchorage at $26.8 million, and Alaska USA Mortgage Co., Anchorage, at $24 million. That was 4.5 percent of its total of $543 million.

In Hawaii, local lenders made $188 million in mortgages to Native Hawaiians, out of a total of $2.4 billion (also $9 million to Indians or Alaska Natives).

American Savings Bank of Honolulu was the leader at $58 million, which was 13 percent of its total volume. Second was Central Pacific HomeLoans, Honolulu, at $39 million.

Overall, 3,435 lenders reported making $22.1 billion in loans to American Indians and Alaska Natives last year, or about .6 percent of the national total, well below their representation in the population. That was off a hefty $5 billion from totals reported in 2005.

Native Hawaiians supposedly got $29.5 billion in mortgages last year from 2,614 lenders, but that includes a $6 billion entry that appears to have been erroneous.

In all, reported Native mortgage volume last year was $51.6 billion, down slightly from $53 billion in 2005.

Both 2006 and 2007 have seen other negative mortgage news as well. There have been reports of alleged unfair mortgage lending practiced against Natives. At least seven lenders have been charged with redlining reservations, and two of them have settled the charges.

In addition, a respected lender to Natives, TribalPoint, a unit of GreenPoint Mortgage, went out of business when its parent abruptly closed.