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Our Community Development

NAB Turns Houses into Homes
Paula Crawford / April 2007

Dragon Vukovic, Jaime Mijares, Niquanor Mijares, Paula Crawford

Denver, CO -- Paula Crawford, NACDC/NAB’s home mortgage originator, has been busy. Very busy.

With support and leadership from within and outside the bank, Paula has been working with literally hundreds of mortgage borrowers across Indian Country. Given the nature of trust land in Indian Country, lending to individuals for homes has historically been abysmally rare. Paula and her partners at HUD and GreenPoint Mortgage, however, are out to change this and turn history on its head.

In April of 2007, Paula closed NAB’s first Section 184 mortgage with Jaime and Niquanor Mijares of the Turtle Mountain Indian Reservation in North Dakota. The couple purchased their home in Morrison, Colorado where they and their three kids will begin a new future.

“We are finally able to own our own home. The bank was there with us every step of the way and made the transaction seem easy,” says Jaime Mijares. “We are getting the carpets in the next few days, and are currently painting the kids’ room.” Section 184 is a mortgage guaranty program from HUD that recognizes the unique nature and sometimes difficult collateral issues of the home mortgage market in Indian Country. Under a Section 184 loan, individual homeowners are often able to save a significant amount of money on lower interest rates and are able to take advantage of higher buying thresholds than offered through other government programs, such as FHA. Borrowers still have to qualify for the mortgage based on various underwriting standards, while HUD fully guarantees each mortgage.

At a recent hearing in front of the House Finance Subcommittee on Housing and Community Development, HUD Assistant Secretary Orlando Cabrera said, “For various reasons, housing development on reservations has been viewed by many as a ‘social program,’ and not as an engine for economic development. But as we know, one of the leading economic indicators for measuring the nation’s economy is housing.”

The President’s Fiscal Year 2008 budget includes a line item for the HUD Section 184 program of $367 million, a $116 million increase from 2007. To date, over $550 million mortgage loans have been closed through the program. Eligible borrowers include enrolled tribal members, Tribes, and tribal housing authorities.

During the 2nd Quarter of 2007, NAB booked eight Section 184 loans to individuals across the US. Paula Crawford currently has over twice that amount that are scheduled to close and many more in the pipeline.

“We are very proud of Paula’s efforts,” says JD Colbert. “With her drive to create more homeowners and the the support of our partners at HUD, NACDC, and elsewhere, we plan on making sustainable home ownership a reality for every Indian interested.”




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