The Northwest Native Lending Network (NNLN) is a partnership network designed to support Native Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) and other lending institutions to better serve Native entrepreneurs in the Pacific Northwest.
The Mission of the NNLN is to increase the visibility of Native lending in the Pacific Northwest, support lending institutions that serve Indian Country, pool and share technical and financial resources and best practices, create tools and systems to better facilitate lending in Indian Country, demonstrate the value of CDFIs and lenders to the broader Native community, and strengthen relationships to create a robust regional lending network. We are a values-based network. We are the best at what we do because we live in the communities that we serve. We view each other as sources of knowledge and as partners- not as competition. Our end goal is to build entrepreneurs and develop our communities, and we know that the best way we can do that is by working together and learning from each other. We support each other; we collaborate with each other; everyone is welcome. We work to support sovereignty. We do our work in the spirit of Potlatch: to give back and distribute wealth. The Northwest Native Lending Network will strengthen our ability to better serve our communities
Increase Visibility of Native Lending in the Pacific Northwest
The NNLN will serve as a platform to tell the stories of the impact that lending institutions are making in Indian Country. A goal of the NNLN is to have a stronger presence among ATNI member tribes. We will do this through stories in the ATNI-EDC tri-annual newsletter, Social Media, and by creating a video that tells the inspiring influential stories of successful Native entrepreneurs and impact in the region.
Support Lending Institutions that serve Indian Country
Many of the Native CDFI’s and tribal credit/ loan programs are lean and have limited capacity. The NNLN will support lending institutions through shared resourced including back-office and underwriting support, consultant vetting and referrals, staff and board trainings, policy development, and capacity building support.
Pool & Share Technical Assistance and Financial Resources
The NNLN can cast a broad net to provide technical assistance to emerging and established entrepreneurs. The expertise to provide technical assistance on a wide-range of topics resides within the network, and we can tap our collective knowledge to spread it far and wide.
Through collective fundraising, lending institutions can create a more flexible, centralized capital pool that NNLN participants can draw from as they need to serve their community. As one foundation representative stated: it is easier to give one large grant to an intermediary organization to distribute than it is to give ten small grants.
Create tools and Systems to Facilitate Lending in Indian Country
The NNLN will provide a centralized platform to overcome barriers to lending in Indian Country. For example, the members of NNLN can review existing Uniform Commercial Code template and work to either adopt or create a template that is appropriate and conducive for outside investment into the Pacific Northwest. The NNLN can also create a best-practice when it comes to participation loans- a great way to distribute risk over several loan portfolios.
Demonstrate value of CDFI’s
CDFI’s provide capital to community members that may not be able to acquire a traditional bank loan. They are a conduit for capital into Native communities and enables tribal members to realize entrepreneurial dreams. Investments into CDFI funds mean direct investment into tribal communities for them to thrive and grow.
Strengthen Key Relationships
As a networking organization, the NNLN is well-poised to create and strengthen key relationships among not just fellow local lending institutions, but also funders (Tribal, U.S. Government, and Private Foundations), national and regional CDFIs, commercial banks and credit unions, and technical assistance providers.
At the 2019 ATNI-EDC Economic Summit, participants that attended the “Northwest Native Lending Network Strategy Meeting” on April 9, 2019 voted to formally form the Northwest Native Lending Network. A list of attendees that wish to be kept apprised of NNLN activities is in Appendix B. The ATNI Economic Development Committee will present a resolution at the 2019 ATNI Midyear Convention (May 20-24, Spokane, WA) that will request formal recognition of the NNLN.
Structure & Membership
The NNLN is housed in and managed by ATNI-EDC because of its regional scope. Institutions and organizations that provide loans to Native entrepreneurs in the Pacific Northwest are welcome to opt-in. There aren’t any dues or fees required to participate. ATNI-EDC will work to secure grants to facilitate annual meetings and special projects.
As of April 9, 2019, the following entities have opted-in to the NNLN:
- ATNI-EDC (Native CDFI, NNLN Hub)
- Northwest Native Development Fund (Native CDFI)
- Taala Fund (Native CDFI)
- Lummi CDFI (Native CDFI)
- Chehalis Tribal Loan Fund (Native CDFI)
- Nimiipuu Community Development Fund (Native CDFI)
- Yakama Nation Credit Enterprises (Tribal Credit Enterprise)
- Umatilla CDFI (emerging Native CDFI)
- Community Lending Works (CDFI)
- Jamestown S’Klallam Tribal Capital (emerging Native CDFI)
- Craft 3 (CDFI)
- Shoshone-Bannock Tribes