Native American Bank bolsters Indian Country in COVID-19 crisis with millions of dollars in small business loans

Pictured: Native American Bank headquarters located in Denver, Colorado which opened its new building in fall 2019.(Photo: Bridget Dvorak/Native American Bank)

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Native American Bank

Denver-based Native American Bank, N.A. has supported applications for nearly $16 million in Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funding to alleviate the COVID-19 health and economic crisis in Indian Country, bank officials announced this week.

Dozens of Native American and Alaska Native businesses and nonprofits have secured crucial survival funding in the first round of funds allocated to the program, which provided $349 billion in support through the CARES Act passed by Congress in March. 

Native American Bank, the only national community development bank owned by a consortium of Tribes, Tribal Entities, and Alaska Native Corporations, will also participate in a second round of Paycheck Protection Program funding currently being negotiated in Congress. Application submissions to the Small Business Administration are expected open later in April. The bank has facilitated Paycheck Protection Program loans for Native and non-Native businesses across the nation, including a Denver-area child care center striving to remain open to help families of essential personnel. 

“There’s an enormous need to support Native American businesses and jobs during this unprecedented time, and we are honored our communities are turning to us for help in securing their future,” said Tom Ogaard, President and CEO of Native American Bank. “In the 14 days available for funding in the first round of Paycheck Protection Program, we took applications for as much loan volume as we ordinarily see in an entire year. We are here to help.”

Paycheck Protection Program loans closed or approved through Native American Bank are preserving jobs in places like the Ute Indian Tribe on the Uintah and Ouray Reservation in northeastern Utah. Through Native American Bank, subsidiaries of the Ute Tribal Enterprises, LLC secured loans ranging from $34,000 to $970,000 to fund community-serving operations at grocery stores, C-stores, restaurants and service industries.

“Ute Tribal Enterprise wishes to express our appreciation to Native American Bank in processing the Small Business Administration Paycheck Protection Program applications for our eight businesses in such a timely, efficient and professional manner. This is enabling us to retain our employees and is blessing the lives of over 230 families,” said Valentina Sireech, Chief Executive Officer for Ute Tribal Enterprises, LLC. 

Paycheck Protection Program loans closed or approved through Native American Bank will support over 2,100 jobs in the traditionally underserved communities in and around Tribal areas. Some Tribal areas are attempting to battle high COVID-19 caseloads over massive geographic areas with limited health care resources, including the Diné people of the Navajo Nation located in Arizona, Utah and New Mexico. The Navajo Nation has reported some of the highest per-capita infection rates in the U.S.

Native American Bank has facilitated more than $2.5 million in Paycheck Protection Program loans to Tribal Enterprises and Navajo owned small businesses on the Navajo Nation, ranging from $13,000 to $920,000. “I want to personally thank Native American Bank for working hard, fast and diligently on this for so many. Ahéhee,’” said Honorable Navajo Nation Vice President Myron Lizer.

CARES Act loans arranged through Native American Bank so far include multi-million dollar loans to some as small as $7,400, loans to the self-employed, and regions from Alaska to Washington, D.C. The bank facilitated multiple loans with customers of large institutional banks who were not able to serve them for their Paycheck Protection Program loan requests.

Any small business or nonprofit impacted by Coronavirus and its economic fallout should contact their existing bank or Native American Bank for information about qualifying for a future Paycheck Protection Program loan. The initial round of funding was quickly allocated, and organizations can increase their potential for Small Business Administration approval by beginning an application even before new money is appropriated.

About Native American Bank

Native American Bank is a $125 million-asset national community development focused bank, and is also a certified Community Development Financial Institution, with a mission to provide financial services for Alaska Native and Native American communities creating economic independence, development and sustainability. Native American Bank is owned predominantly by Native American Tribes, Tribal Entities, and Alaska Native Corporations throughout the United States. For more information on the bank, please visit: www.nativeamericanbank.com.

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