Tribes and individuals that want to move their money away from financial institutions that have funded the Dakota Access Pipeline might want to take a look at American Indian-owned banks as an alternative.
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. has designated 18 commercial banks as American Indian-owned banks. As a group they have $2.7 billion in assets and all have their deposits insured by the FDIC.
The group tends to be community banks, some quite small, others with more than a quarter billion dollars of assets. A majority of them are based in Oklahoma, but there are also institutions in North Carolina, Colorado, Missouri, Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Montana and North Dakota.
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They provide a big contrast to the 26 big banks that have financed or agreed to finance the pipeline, as they much more follow the “hometown bank” model.
Here is some history, product and financial information on a few of the largest Indian-owned banks:
- F&M Bank, Edmond, Oklahoma. Three generations of the Anderson family (Citizen Potawatomi tribe) have guided this Oklahoma bank that has grown to nearly $400 million in assets as of the end of the third quarter of 2016. The bank (formerly Farmers and Merchants Bank) is active in business, agricultural and mortgage lending. In fact, F&M Bank is the largest mortgage lender of all Indian-owned banks. According to data it filed for 2015 under the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act, it made $60 million in mortgages for that year, more than twice as many as any other Native-owned bank. It offers a full line of checking and saving accounts, as well as mortgages on both purchased homes and refinancings, and car and recreational vehicle loans. It has small business and commercial real estate lending in addition to ag loans.
- Lumbee Guaranty Bank, Pembroke, North Carolina. Lumbee styles itself as the first Indian-owned bank, dating back to 1971. (Many Indian banks have non-Indian owned predecessor banks that date back as far as 1901). The bank history describes its formation, saying its founders had been advised by banking regulators to raise $667,000 in stock. “From a log cabin office on Third Street in Pembroke, the organizers set out to sell the necessary stock needed to open the Bank. The community was very excited about the prospects of the first Indian Bank in the nation. Many people were with the organizers in spirit but did not have the money. Some people, who were financially able, purchased large blocks of stock and others purchased one to 10 shares of stock. Selling the necessary stock proved to be no small task, but soon it too was accomplished with 97 percent of the 750 subscribers Indian.” As of September 30, 2016, Lumbee Guaranty had $335 million in assets in personal and commercial lending. It made $13 million in mortgages in 2015, making it the fourth-largest Indian bank in this category.
- FirstBank, Antlers, Oklahoma. FirstBank, owned by four members of the Burgess family, members of the Choctaw Nation, traces its history back to 1901. Steve Burrage, one of the owners (the others are Roberta, David and Mike Burrage) joined the bank in 1982 as president and chief executive. It advertises its signature loans as well as auto/boat/RV loans, mortgages, and ag lending. Business loans include construction, commercial auto loans, business credit cards, equipment financing and others. The bank had assets of $311 million as of September 30, 2016 and five branches.
- First National Bank & Trust Co., Shawnee, Oklahoma. This $241 million asset bank opened its doors in 1984 as First Oklahoma Bank N.A. and was purchased by the Citizen Potawatomi Tribe in 1989. The bank changed its name to First National Bank & Trust Co. in 1995 and in 2006 bought Guarantee State Bank. It has now grown to eight branches. In personal banking it advertises consumer and mortgage loans, while on the business banking side the bank offers commercial loans.
Eighteen Indian-Owned Banks Currently
Eighteen banks are currently classified as Native American- or Alaska Native-owned by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Each of them is insured by the FDIC.
According to the FDIC, a minority institution gets that classification when it has “a concentration of ownership among members of a certain minority group, or a concentration of Board membership among that minority group by an institution that primarily serves that minority group.”
There may be other banks with significant American Indian ownership but not enough to meet the FDIC’s criteria.
The following Indian-owned banks are ranked by asset size (dollars in thousands). Their charter dates are also given, but many of them refer to when predecessor banks were opened prior to Native control. The data is as of September 30, 2016.
F&M Bank, Edmond, Oklahoma January 1, 1902 $394,815
Lumbee Guaranty Bank, Pembroke, North Carolina December 12, 1971 $335,203
FirstBank Antlers, Oklahoma January 1, 1901 $310,519
First National Bank and Trust, Shawnee Oklahoma October 29, 1984 $240,824
Woodlands National Bank, Hinckley, Minnesota October 1, 1908 $195,440
Pinnacle Bank, Marshalltown, Iowa May 5, 1927 $191,797
People’s Bank of Seneca, Seneca, Missouri March 15, 1996 $164,954
Oklahoma State Bank, Vinita, Oklahoma July 13, 1938 $140,801
Bank2, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma January 1, 1903 $131,056
Bank of Cherokee County, Hulbert, Oklahoma December 8, 1901 $101,606
Native American Bank, Denver, Colorado July 27, 1987 $89,627
Bank of Commerce, Stillwell, Oklahoma January 1, 1931 $82,474
Bay Bank, Green Bay, Wisconsin August 21, 1995 $82,421
Fort Gibson State Bank, Fort Gibson, Oklahoma May 21, 1973 $61,379
Eagle Bank, Polson, Montana July 25, 2006 $57,640
Peoples Bank, Westville, Oklahoma February 3, 1903 $50,691
AllNations Bank, Oklahoma January 1, 1901 $46,529
Turtle Mountain State Bank, Belcourt, N.D December 3, 2007 $32,219
Total assets $2,709,995