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New Mexico natives underserved for loans

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. ? Though New Mexico's Native population makes up ten percent of state residents, none of the top ten financial institutions in the state in this niche made more than 3.75 percent of its loans to Indians last year, federal data showed.

The Home Mortgage Disclosure Act data, collected by the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council, indicate the state's American Indians remain greatly underserved.

Only three of the top ten lenders did more than 2 percent of its mortgage lending to Natives last year.

Charter Bank, Albuquerque, led New Mexico institutions with $5.6 million in loans to American Indians in 2001. That placed Charter 137th in the country in loans to Natives.

Suburban Mortgage, Albuquerque, ranked second (and also cracked the top 300 nationwide) with $2.4 million, which was 2.87 percent of its total volume for the year.

Only US New Mexico Federal Credit Union, Albuquerque, had a higher percentage of loans to Natives last year (3.75 percent). USNM's $985,000 in Native loans placed it fourth, behind Los Alamos National Bank ($2.2 million).

Rounding out the top ten are Sandia Labs Federal Credit Union, Albuquerque ($918,000); Wells Fargo New Mexico ($879,000); Specialty Mortgage of Albuquerque ($635,000); First State Bank of Taos ($526 million); First Financial Credit Union, Albuquerque ($512,000); and Firstbank, Clovis, ($492,000).

In all, the top ten lenders extended $15 million in mortgages to the state's Indians last year. A total of about 30 New Mexico lenders made loans in this category last year.

The HMDA numbers are not totally representative of state mortgage lending, because many out-of-state institutions do a lot of lending in New Mexico, but these numbers are not broken out separately (with the exception of Wells Fargo New Mexico) but are counted in with the parent company.

In all New Mexico-based lenders extended $520 million in mortgages to the state's minority populations in 2001, federal data show, with Indians getting less than $20 million of that amount.