A new story from KOA Q and A with Ed Greene


This is day with you in a I am a grief and with us this morning the folks from native American bag Tom all guard is the bank president and Shannon ward the chief lending officer thank you so much for being here today let me start off by asking you people may not be all that familiar with native American banks who could you talk a little bit about what the bank is all about and and you know how was for well the bank is a mission oriented bank ed and it originally came through an act of Congress we got our charter in in nineteen ninety eight and by two thousand one had purchased black feet National Bank in Browning Montana in from there move the headquarters to Denver and were mission oriented bank we are a certified sedia fire community development financial institution and we're the only one on the front range here in Colorado so our mission is to serve Indian country we do that all over the US and serve not only locally here in Denver but in some of the poorest areas of the country and it's very gratifying for us for those of us at the bank to be able to do that it has to be gratifying and and and the different certainly but so proud because native American bank is in the name that is the name so so that's where we start that is where we start we are primarily native owned and we're the only nationally a native on bank in the country that does business all over the US so it is very gratifying given some of the projects that we do the things that we see and how we're able to make a difference in the lives of a lot of people sure you said you started Montana how did you get down to Denver or why did you decide on I think Denver for us was a central location easy for us to get around primarily in the western US where most of the native tribes rancherias an Alaska native ensure he's our and so it became a hub Russell a number of native entities are in and around Denver and there's a lot of convenience echo are on in Denver as well let me ask your chief lending officer here can can anyone bank it and eight of American bank absolutely anyone and everyone can bank at native American bank we have a full suite of deposit products we have online banking we have a mobile banking app we've actually spend a lot of the last couple of years building out a robust products I'm thanks suites are that it that makes other banks I'm so that absolutely anybody in the metro area at really anywhere in the country can bank with us what are you doing that other banks may not be doing well I think primarily what we do so so we aggregate the deposits of our of our customers and we utilize those that are fully insured deposits to find loans that were making throughout Indian country I'm and the loans that we make to Indian country are really to promote economic development I am that in the communities that we serve I'm so you know we we use what we know and what we're really good at to facilitate access to capital in under served markets well a and I'm sure the the customer sees the difference and and that they must they must be very important you of course well customers obviously are are very important and so we we deal with the tribes tribal corporations native individuals depending on the type of project that it isn't and for us to see those projects come to fruition is is really heart warming some of the projects that we do and certainly Shannon can talk more about things like housing and commercial development health care and some of these areas are so rural and lacked the services that if we can provide them and bring those to the communities that we serve it's really heart warming thing yes should talk a little bit of more about the project that you some examples and and and what brought you to these projects Sir absolutely so I think top of mind is a project that both Tom and I visited last month and the project was to provide a grocery store on the red lake band of Chippewa Indians nation and this is in very far northern Minnesota very rural area too because sometimes it's just drive there and so we helped arrange an innovative financing for a ten million dollar plus grocery store and retail complex so this new store will bring a new fresh produce to the area it expands their product line and what it does is it really so it allows community members to to not have to make that seventy mile round trip drive to the local to the nearest grocery store I'm so that they can actually bike products that are right there in their community I'm and that's a really it was an innovative financing we worked with several partners I'm to facilitate that project so it incorporated both tax credits and ed ed loan guarantee product as well as to other community development financial institutions to see this project come through to fruition and so are our visit there last at last month was for a grand opening celebration and it's it's you know that's the fulfilling work that we do throughout and infantry filling work indeed but but a little different for the normal run of the mill bank right I've I've been asked if you were at a normal community bank would you do these take answer is probably not right of the given the mission orientation we have spent a lot of time to become expert at how we navigate not only are these locations role you could be working on trust land which to navigate that is in of itself problematic in on how to do it right and so consequently there are very few banks that may do that so the original mission of the bank was to be able to provide financial services and so that's something we worked very hard at I think I would say were expert at and we fulfilled an awful lot of economic dreams for tribes and tribal corporations and and even up in Alaska where we've done general stores in in a rural Alaska with that communities of three hundred people were is mostly subsistence living right so and we put eyeballs on virtually everyone of these deals that we do so some of some of our travels we travel a lot are very interesting right like you are a bank however you do these extra projects and that sort of thing can I say that you have really looked found indeed and then done your best to to fill it I would say yes I'm so we recognize that our target market which is serving Indian country and that's tribes tribal governments their enterprises and their community members they're all diverse so no two scenarios are the same and each tribe is its own sovereign governments have we've developed the skills that to navigate to those unique qualities and we thought hit success for those we serve I mean native American bank really endeavors to support the needs of the sovereign tribal governments that we serve right and you say navigate that's a wonderful word because you probably really do have to navigate quite a lot to have success with all these projects we really DO and and to be clear I'm Indian country is an underserved by traditional bank right because they're they're really inherent challenges to providing access to capital that are complex and misunderstood and we've taken the time to understand those complexities and to to understand the complexities and do what we do well I do partner with other people to get things done we do we've developed a number of partnerships be it for capital to grow the bank for deposits and even for loans where we've found a number of other banks that will participate with us on some of the credits that we do some of these credits can be very large we've worked with the some of the largest banks in the country well to to pull together credits that are thirty plus million dollars and that is something for bank our size you wouldn't normally here really and consequently those partnerships are or something that we really value and they've been good partners allowed us to complete some of these projects and fund them accordingly and at the same time we're always looking for for relationships and for us that's first and foremost what we do we about a minute left in that last minute what's the message that you want to send to the Denver metro area well I think for us we're excited about the fact in it in it with the new office that we have and we're opening up branches as part of that to serve the customer base we're in the Baker neighborhood right and consequently that area Denver we felt needed some more access to financial services we're excited about that we have the governor coming on Thursday we have a representative from the mayor's office our city council member and and others are board members will come from all over the country will fly into Denver and will be here for that as well so we're just excited about the fact that we're growing in that context in able to serve the Denver area as well right continue the mission that we have all right president Thabo guard and Shannon Moore chief learning officer native American bank or glad to hear there in town and thank you so much for being with us and talk at all about thank you ed thank you this is K..

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