ALEXANDRIA, Va. – NCUA announced this afternoon it approved a charter for Lakota FCU, which will serve members of the Lakota, or Sioux Indian tribe on their reservation in Pine Ridge, S.D.
The credit union, only the second chartered this year, will be the sole federally insured financial institution serving the 40,000 people who live on the reservation.
“Every American deserves access to affordable financial services,” said NCUA Chairman Debbie Matz. “Unfortunately, many Native Americans on reservations only have access to predatory lenders. Lakota Federal Credit Union has the potential to play an important role on a 2.2 million-acre reservation that has no other access to federally insured financial services.”
Lakota FCU expects to open in November. During its first year of operations, the credit union plans to offer regular shares, share certificates, unsecured loans, share secured loans, auto loans, money orders, cashier checks, direct deposits, wire transfers, and check cashing. To reach a geographically dispersed field of membership, the credit union also plans to offer ATM cards, online banking, and audio response. The credit union has arranged for a third-party vendor to place multiple ATM machines in strategic locations throughout the reservation. Financial literacy and membership education initiatives are top priorities for the credit union.
NCUA has designated Lakota FCU as a low-income credit union. This means a majority of the new credit union’s potential members earn 80 percent or less than the national, non-metropolitan area median family income. This special designation allows the credit union the ability to accept non-member deposits, obtain grants and loans from the Community Development Revolving Loan Fund, offer secondary capital accounts, and qualify for exemptions from statutory limits on member business lending. NCUA’s Office of Small CU will also provide assistance to the new credit union.
Lakota Funds, a 26-year-old non-profit Community Development Financial Institution located in Kyle, S.D., is sponsoring the new credit union. The mission of Lakota Funds is to lead an economic resurgence of the Oglala Lakota Oyate tribe on the Pine Ridge Reservation through cultural strategies reigniting the traditional Lakota spirit of productivity, commerce, and trade.
Through the offering of business loans, Lakota Funds will play a role in improving life for Oglala Lakota people by placing capital with new and growing businesses on the Pine Ridge Reservation.