By Dave Tovey of NCFS
On July 1st, 2021, the new Nixyáawii Community Financial Services (NCFS) was opened at our new location at the Coyote Business Park, next to Subway and Ruby’s Indian Crafts & Supplies. The NCFS was the result of efforts by the Wildhorse Resort’s Business Development Services in 2016 to develop a U.S. Treasury certified Community Development Financial Institution. With the Board of Trustees approval of the final Business Plan in February of 2020, resources and details came together for NCFS to be a wholly owned Tribal non-profit entity that provides loans, small business and homeownership assistance, and financial literacy program. We invite you to stop in to see any of our talented staff or just check out the new offices.
One thing we’ve encountered particularly this 2021 year is the extraordinarily large number of loans. For many decades the former Credit Program provided essentially consumer type loans up to $10,000 and then later increased to $12,000 during the major flood event in early 2020. We had slightly modified the tiers that most are pleased with—those being Tier 1 up to $4,000, Tier 2 $4-8,000, and Tier 3 $8-12,000.
With impacts from the COVID pandemic, the Tribal dividends have been higher than ever, exceeding $900 in the last two quarterly dividends. Of course, this is a great thing by way of the hard work of Wildhorse Resort & Casino. But it’s impact to our loan customers is dramatic. Virtually every loan with each quarter’s dividend payment suddenly is eligible for new loan proceeds. This is different than it’s ever been and at any given day, there’s at least 100 applications that are on file waiting to start the processing.
We will say that happily 90% of our customers have been very understanding and patient. And we need to underscore that patience will be the reality for a time as the August 20th dividend is expected to be another large one.
As I talk with folks, many did not realize what the process entails. Briefly, when we get an application, we must go through a series of verifications with various Tribal services. These have to be done individually to ensure client confidentiality for each borrower. So, we need to check with Enrollment (Tribal member?), Housing, and Tribal Finance for any outstanding expenses due. It is these process steps that take up most of our Loan staff time. When we first started our management in October of 2020, we had hoped that would not be our task but concluded we have to make sure there’s means to cover loan payments. Also, we found a number of folks take out loans with the intention of getting their other Tribal bills paid.
This too is what it is. We do always worry that some of our customers are not making sound financial decisions as the cost of our loans in total can be expensive. As part of our services, we will shortly be announcing some free home budget classes to help with one’s financial plans.
We hope this information might be helpful but please contact us by phone, e-mail or in person if we can explain further or your own ideas for services or loan products.