ALBUQUERQUE – Native American leaders, bankers and federal officials met here Aug. 27-28 to discuss capital needs of Indian Country and modernizing the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) to better meet the needs of tribal governments and citizens.

As part of a bus tour, national leaders visited the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center and toured San Felipe Pueblo and Kewa.

“The tour of New Mexico and the opportunity to see firsthand what the Pueblos are accomplishing was amazing and rewarding,” said Pete Upton, board president of the Native CDFI Network and executive director of the Native360 Loan Fund in Nebraska.

Other national native leaders who participated in the discussion included New Mexico Congresswoman Deb Haaland and Dante Desiderio, executive director of the Native American Financial Officers Association (NAFAO) and Jackson Brossy, executive director of the Native CDFI Network.

The event was hosted by Joseph Otting, comptroller of currency for the Department of Treasury, NAFOA and local tribal officials. Other attendees included members of the Department of Interior and representatives of Wells Fargo.

“It was a great chance to meet with a group of leaders from across the country who are committed to expanding opportunities in Indian Country,” Upton said.

“There is much being accomplished in New Mexico and we are coming home with many success stories to share,” he said. “At the same time, it was a reminder there is a lot of important work that still needs to be accomplished with respect to better utilizing new market tax credits, updating the CRA and continuing to build participation of banks and CDFIs.”

The Native CDFI Network is a coalition formed in 2009 to serve Native trust land communities, American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians. Native CDFI creates opportunities to share stories, identify collective priorities, and strengthen Native industry.  In addition, the Native CDFI Network works to ensure that Native peoples are represented in national policy dialogue and to ensure innovative solutions created by CDFIs are spread throughout Native communities.