The states with the biggest percentage of Native population didn’t get anywhere near the comparable percentage of mortgage dollars in 2015. Instead, the rates at which they were denied mortgage loans were closer to the population percentages.
Alaska, 19.5 percent Native according to the U.S. Census Bureau, had Native home loan funding of about 5 percent in the state in 2015, according to Home Mortgage Disclosure Act data.
Oklahoma, 13.6 percent Native, saw Natives receive around 4.3 percent of mortgage loans originated there in 2015, according to HMDA data from the LendingPatterns database of ComplianceTech, a fair lending and technology firm based in McLean, Virginia.
And New Mexico, 11.8 percent Native, showed around 1.3 percent of dollars used to finance homes went to Natives.
Mortgage denial percentages were higher for Natives in each of these states than the national average and the average for each of the states.
Denials for the whole country came to 12.68 percent. In Alaska, they were 9.04 percent, in Oklahoma 13.69 percent, and in New Mexico 17.62 percent.
But denials for Native borrowers were 13.65 percent in Alaska, 16.36 percent in Oklahoma, and 30.9 percent for New Mexico.
These percentages are for Indians without Hispanic ethnicity, the large majority. Adding in Indians with Hispanic heritage, the percentages would be higher, especially for New Mexico.
Only one other state, South Dakota, has a Native population of more than 10 percent (10.3 percent), according to the Census Bureau. The HMDA database, kept by the Federal Financial Institutions Examinations Council, a unit of the Federal Reserve and other agencies, tallies American Indian and Native Alaska populations together in its “American Indian” category.
In Alaska, Natives got $214 million in mortgages out of a total of $4.2 billion in 2015. Average loan amounts were $250,000 for first mortgages and $29,000 for second mortgages. The average first mortgage was below the state average of $261,000, and second mortgages were below the state average of $36,000.
Loan purpose tilted heavily toward purchasing a home (74 percent) over refinancing one (24 percent). A small percentage went to home improvement loans.
Thirty-seven percent of Native loan dollars went to upper-income borrowers in Alaska, while the low- and moderate-income categories received 24 percent combined. Thirty percent of the loan money was through private mortgage loans, and 70 percent from government agencies.
In all, 56 lenders granted mortgage loans to Natives in 2015. The top lender by a considerable margin was Alaska USA Mortgage Co., a unit of an Alaskan credit union. Its $79 million in home finance was more than a third of the Native percentage. It was followed by Residential Mortgage at $51 million and Wells Fargo Bank at $25 million.
In Oklahoma, Indians received $531 million out of a total of $12.1 billion. A first mortgage to Indians there averaged $139,000, and a second mortgage $56,000. These were below state averages of $169,000 and $60,000, respectively.
More than half the Indian mortgage money (55 percent) went to upper-income borrowers, while low- and moderate-income borrowers took just 17.6 percent.
Loan purpose tilted towards purchasing a home (70 percent) versus refinancing (26 percent).
The top three lenders to Oklahoma Indians finished practically in a dead heat. An Indian-owned lender, Bank2 (Chickasaw Nation), made $35 million in loans to Oklahoma Indians to take first place, over Arvest Bank ($34 million) and First Bank and Trust Co., $33.6 million).
In New Mexico, Bank of Oklahoma was first, with $8.5 million in loans to Indians in 2015. First Mortgage Co., a New Mexico-based lender, was second at $7.1 million. Wells Fargo took the bronze, at $7 million. BOK does business in New Mexico as Bank of Albuquerque.
A factor that comes into play in New Mexico is Hispanic heritage, which many Indians in the state have. (HMDA calls American Indian a race and Hispanics an ethnicity, meaning you can have Indians both with and without Hispanic heritage.)
Indians with Hispanic ethnicity make up about 15 percent of New Mexico’s approximately $104 million in Native mortgages in 2015.