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Native American Case Study

Collaborating to make homeownership attainable on tribal trust lands

Paul LeBlanc, of the Bay Mills Indian Community, had always imagined himself as a homeowner, and with a child on the way it seemed like the right time to make that dream a reality.

“It was important, having space for me and my growing family,” LeBlanc said. “And I like having tangible assets, things I can definitively look at and say, this is growing, this is mine, my own actual space.”

LeBlanc’s role in accounting at the Bay Mills Indian Community put him in a position where he was familiar with a number of lenders in the area, and he spoke to several about buying a home.

“I was already in talks with all of the people that we do banking with,” LeBlanc added. “I did kind of shop around a little bit.”

When LeBlanc spoke with the tribe’s housing department, they referred him to Central Savings Bank, which has the distinction of being the only lender in the area that was able to offer conventional loans on tribal lands through Fannie Mae’s Native American Conventional Lending Initiative (NACLI).

“They’re always easy to get ahold of and really responsive whenever we have any problems with these types of loans,” Albrecht added. “Even with things like uploading these loans or issues with the title … it seems like any time there’s a roadblock, there’s always a way to address it.”

Participating in NACLI also allows Central Savings Bank to better serve their community.

“Owning a home is important for any family,” said Albrecht. “The local tribes are also major employers in our area, so being able to finance homes on tribal lands allows people to live close to where they work.”

As a result, LeBlanc experienced a quick and seamless homebuying process and the fulfillment of his homeownership dream. LeBlanc is enjoying his new space and the excitement of his investment. He’s also talking to others about taking steps toward homeownership.

“I like knowing beyond a doubt that I own my space, and no one else can tell me what I can and can’t do with it,” LeBlanc shared. “I’ve encouraged all of my peers around me, if you have the opportunity and the ability, and you’re looking for it, definitely go out and buy your own house.”