National Trade Group Targets Indian Mortgages

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SALT LAKE CITY -- The National Association of Mortgage Brokers is urging
its members to make mortgages on American Indian trust land.

The outgoing president of NAMB urged brokers to target Indians as part of
outreach to underserved populations at the group's annual convention.

According to NAMB, two of every three mortgages extended in the United
States is originated by a mortgage broker. NAMB has more than 24,000
members nationwide.

A.W. Pickel, outgoing NAMB president, showed the trade group a slide of
Indian areas in the United States and told them, "Take a good look. These
folks needs home loans."

Pickel, who is also president and chief executive of Leader Mortgage Co.,
Lenexa, Kan. cited a General Accounting Office study that showed that in
the years 1992 to 1996, just 91 mortgages were made on trust lands.

As of 2002, that number had increased to 1,269 loans, but, the executive
told NAMB members, "Are they hard to do? Yes. Do they need to be done? Yes.
We as brokers, with our great power need to forge ahead and make the
effort."

A mortgage broker is a third party between prospective homebuyers and
lenders like banks, savings associations, credit unions, or mortgage banks.
They are heavily involved with borrowers with less-than-perfect credit, and
work to find mortgages for those who cannot just walk into a lender's
office and get a mortgage.

Some mortgage brokers have been connected with high-cost or "predatory"
lending, but a majority are considered to be hard-working entrepreneurs who
give their customers a high level of personal service.

NAMB's Indian outreach is a part of a larger effort which includes rural
areas, the U.S.-Mexico border "colonias" areas, and ethnic and minority
lending.

Neither Pickel nor Bob Armbruster, the incoming NAMB president, had any
specifics on how NAMB would help its lenders reach out to Indian
reservations. Armbruster, who also heads Armbruster Mortgage Services Inc.,
Lawrenceville, Ga., said specifics would be forthcoming shortly, but
indicated he was referring to a project that would concern Texas and the
Hispanic market there.

Asked if mortgage brokers would have the patience to persevere through the
long and difficult process of lending on trust land or in the colonias,
Pickel replied brokers already do outreach to minority communities, but the
example he gave had to do with African Americans in urban areas.

Asked about recruitment of minority loan officers, Armbruster said the
group is looking into combining vocational training with credit education
counseling.

He also issued a challenge to the various state mortgage broker association
presidents to take on an outreach project of their own choosing in their
states during the upcoming year.