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PMI Mortgage Insurance aiding Oglala Sioux Tribe

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KYLE, S.D. - PMI Mortgage Insurance Co. has added the Oglala Sioux Tribe to the roster of tribes it has provided housing assistance to.

The San Francisco-based mortgage insurer has also assisted the Pueblo of Acoma, N.M., and the Navajo Nation though its Gateway Initiative, which it has now extended to the OST. In addition, the company has participated in home builds on the South Dakota reservation of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe and on the Rosebud reservation.

As at Acoma and Navajo, the OST Gateway Initiative sets up a "revolving fund" to jumpstart a real estate industry on the reservation. Here it is a $175,000 fund that will be used to build or rehab houses on the Pine Ridge reservation. When a completed unit is sold, the proceeds of the sale replenish the fund, making it possible to build or rehab another home.

PMI's Acoma Gateway effort involves a $125,000 revolving loan fund. On the Navajo, it is working with the Navajo Partnership for Housing, St. Michaels, Ariz., one of two "One Stop" Indian mortgage efforts started during the presidency of Bill Clinton.

The announcement was made during a wall-raising ceremony for the construction yard of the Oglala Sioux Tribe Partnership for Housing, which is the second "One Stop" effort. Those present included Sen. Tim Johnson, D-S.D., and Roger Haughton, chief executive of PMI Mortgage Insurance Co.

Sen. Johnson praised PMI and its partners in the deal, along with the OSTPH, which he called "relentless" in its efforts to bring better housing to the reservation.

Haughton pointed out that he was making good on a pledge he made in 1999 to expand home ownership for American Indian tribes. He visited Pine Ridge with President Bill Clinton on a highly publicized "new markets" tour in which many outside firms pledged assistance.

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PMI also has granted the Red Cloud Indian School in Pine Ridge $10,000 to acquire books for its Accelerated Reader Program.

PMI will partner with First Mortgage Co. of Oklahoma City and Washington, D.C. mortgage agency Fannie Mae on financing for the housing.

First Mortgage will underwrite mortgages using the Internet-based systems of Fannie Mae, which will then purchase the mortgages from First Mortgage. PMI will provide mortgage insurance, which Fannie Mae requires on mortgages it buys if the borrower has not put 20 percent down on the home.

The three companies have partnered on similar housing projects all across Indian country, but especially in Oklahoma, where the lack of reservations has made land issues simpler to deal with. But the company has also signed agreements with the Saginaw Chippewa Tribe in Michigan, the Menominee in Wisconsin, and the Aleuts in Alaska.

In all, PMI has made commitments to issue more than $100 million in private mortgage insurance in Indian country.

Haughton and PMI became involved in Indian country through the CEO's commitment to Habitat for Humanity. In 1995, the Habitat Jimmy Carter Work Project was to build houses on the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe homelands, and Haughton has described this as a transforming experience for him.

Haughton and PMI also have worked with Habitat to build a home on the Rosebud reservation, and at that time made $5,000 grants to the Sicangu Enterprise Center and the Oglala Sioux Tribe Partnership for Housing.