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On November 9, NNI Research Director Miriam Jorgensen joined James Colombe (Lakota and Nez Perce descent) from the Center for Indian Country Development and Krystal Langholz from the Oweesta Corporation on the panel “Indian Country Homeownership” at Freddie Mac’s annual Rural Research Symposium. Jorgensen presented findings from her 2019 report, “Mortgage Lending on South Dakota’s Indian Trust Land: Findings from a Survey of Lenders" created in collaboration with Hope Nation Consulting, LLC, and the South Dakota Native Homeownership Coalition (SDNHOC).
In her presentation, Jorgensen noted that potential lenders perceive high barriers to mortgage lending on Indian trust land—but that active lenders have met with success by creating institutional commitments to trust-land lending, deepening their knowledge about the sector and its unique characteristics, and building relationships with key on-the-ground partners. Data also suggest that one critical need is for lender education concerning risk mitigation, and in particular risk mitigation through participation in the array of federal (and other) loan-guarantee programs. Jorgensen ended her presentation on a hopeful note, suggesting that ingenuity and innovation on both the demand and supply side can lead to new and needed growth in the number of mortgage loans made on South Dakota’s Indian trust land.