Sunflower Bank and Native CDFI Connect to Boost Opportunities

February 13, 2023

We are proud to share that the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City highlighted our partnership with Native Community Capital (NCC) in its February 2023 Community Connections Newsletter. NCC is a Native Community Development Financial Institution that serves New Mexico and Arizona, along with tribes and individual Native Americans primarily in the western U.S. Our $1.1 million loan, initiated through the work of our Community Affairs Office, provides debt capital at below-market rates for projects that advance the small business, housing or physical infrastructure needs of tribal economies.
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New loan fund connects with investor online

NCC posted a proposal for the Loan Fund on the Investment Connection funder portal, where Sunflower Bank happened upon it. Investment Connection brings community and economic development organizations together with the funding community, online and at in-person events. Sunflower provided a $1.1 million loan to NCC.
“The community development opportunity offered by Native Community Capital was very attractive to our community lending and investment efforts at Sunflower Bank, due to the impact NCC has within federally- and state-recognized Native American tribes, tribal entities, or enrolled tribal members in the southwest United States,” said Kyle Stingley, national community development lender at Sunflower Bank. “These demographics are difficult to serve to a traditional banking perspective, and we are proud to be able to meet their needs through our community development program.”

Sunflower provides debt capital at below-market rates

The funding from Sunflower Bank will benefit tribal members in New Mexico that NCC assists. The funds provide debt capital at below-market rates for projects that advance the small business, housing or physical infrastructure needs of tribal economies. Small business borrowers include tribal member artisans requiring materials and equipment for ceramic or textile production, as well as small food-service businesses. Also, tribal member homebuyers will benefit from the funding to mitigate increased construction costs and higher interest rates.

“We believe strongly in supporting economic development throughout all geographies and populations in New Mexico,” said Scott Z. Czarniak, Sunflower Bank’s regional president for Northern New Mexico. The bank operates as First National 1870 in this region in recognition of its heritage as the first bank chartered in the Southwest. “Partnering with Native Community Capital is an exceptional opportunity to be responsive and innovative in the community by providing financing to tribes and tribal members. Sunflower Bank is proud to make this first investment with a Native CDFI,” Czarniak said.

Investment Connection helped get the conversation started

According to Stingley, Investment Connection was helpful in finding the opportunity with NCC and getting the conversation started. Several bank colleagues have attended the Investment Connection place-based events in New Mexico, Colorado and Missouri in addition to using the online resource, so more connections could be coming.