Microsoft, Fannie Mae make big deposits to Native banks

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NEW YORK - Two major U.S. corporations have made big deposits into American
Indian-owned banks.

Tech giant Microsoft Corp. has deposited $1 million into Native American
Bank, Denver, while the big mortgage agency Fannie Mae has invested $1.5
million in a certificate of deposit with Bank2, Oklahoma City, owned by the
Chickasaw Nation.

Having the deposits will allow the two tribally-owned community banks to
make more loans.

Microsoft, based in Seattle, made its deposit as part of its Minority
Investment Program, as well as to partner with tribes who may find benefit
in its technology. "Microsoft's technology and related work fits many
tribes as a vehicle for their economic development," the company said.

The company's low-interest CD "will significantly enhance our ability to
offer loans to our Indian customers at competitive rates," said John
Beirise, president and chief executive of NAB, whose principal banking
office is in Browning, Mont. The bank was started by a coalition of 21
tribes and Alaska Native corporations.

Microsoft's foundation has engaged in a big project to bring computers to
tribes in the American Southwest.

Meanwhile, Washington, D.C.-based Fannie Mae will use a program that allows
special purpose CDs to be guaranteed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.
at amounts above its $100,000 ceiling.

Its $1.5 million deposit was made under the CDARS (Certificate of Deposit
Account Registry) program, and marks the first time the agency has used
this program.

The investment "will support affordable housing efforts and help with
Bank2's outreach to Native American and other minority and underserved
families throughout the United States," according to Fannie Mae.

Bank2 Chief Executive Ross Hill said the deposit "will increase our
capacity to reach the 38,000 home buyers in Indian country." Hill was
apparently referring to a Department of Housing and Urban Development
estimate of how many Indian families (including ones that would move back
to reservations) would be eligible for home loans if they were available on
reservations.

Bank2 is a $60 million bank that was bought by the Chickasaw Nation in
2000. It is the first tribally-owned bank to become a Fannie Mae-approved
lender, meaning that Fannie Mae will buy mortgages from it, increasing the
amount of money Bank2 has to make more loans.

Last year, it began to offer the HUD 184 guaranteed American Indian
mortgages, and says that already it is one of the top lenders in the 184
program.

Interestingly, the nation itself has a mortgage program, Chuka Chukmasi
(Beautiful Home) which it offers to Chickasaw tribal members anywhere in
the country. The tribe runs the program in partnership with Fannie Mae, San
Francisco-based PMI Mortgage Insurance and First Mortgage of Oklahoma City.