The Southern Ute Indian Tribe’s new home loan program prompted much discussion at the Tribe’s General Meeting Monday, Sept. 29
The Tribe will begin to provide home loans to tribal members residing on Tribal Trust and Tribal Fee land within the reservation starting Wednesday, Oct. 15.
Many tribal members voiced concerns with the program, asking why tribal members living on land allotments or off reservation couldn’t qualify for the program.
“This program is depriving some of us tribal members,” Tribal Member Marge Barry said. “All the programs should benefit all tribal members and not leave any out.”
Barry is one of the many tribal members who resides on Tribal allotted land and will not be eligible for the current program.
Brian Zink, chief financial officer of the Southern Ute Indian Tribe, explained the program to those in attendance letting them know that this is the first step in a much broader vision.
Zink explained the difficulties associated with lending to tribal members living on allotted land or off the reservation – where the Tribe is no longer the party of jurisdiction.
“It creates a vastly different structure and a whole different set of issues.” Zink said. “There are jurisdiction issues; implications of state laws; and land and building codes.”
Overall, being able to provide home loans to those tribal members on Tribal Trust and Tribal Fee land will be a significant step forward, he said.
The program will be available Wednesday, Oct. 15 and tribal members can expect a letter in the mail outlining the program in further detail.
The general meeting also included a half-day presentation from the Southern Ute Indian Tribe Growth Fund. The presentation focused on growth, transition and the five-year plan of the Growth Fund.
“The Growth Fund continues to exceed the Financial Plan’s projections,” Bruce Valdez, executive director of the Growth Fund, said. “ We survived a recession and are still climbing when other companies have failed.”
Bob Zahradnik, Growth Fund operating director used his time to present some transitions being made in the Growth Fund.
“In the last five years we’ve moved from a company that only produces gas, to a company that mostly produces oil,” Zahradnik said.
The transition came from the Growth Fund recognizing the long-term depression in gas prices.
Another huge transition made has been where the Tribe is choosing to invest.
“We moved from being basically based on the reservation, to the point where most of your profits and most of your investments are now off the reservation,” Zahradnik said.
The Growth Fund started exploring in the deep waters of Gulf of Mexico, and it has proven to be very successful, Zahradnik said.
“We’re apart of a 6 company partnership that just anchored the most cost effective deep water production system ever built,” Zahradnik said, referring to the Delta House Floatation Production System.
Delta House was anchored 125 miles southeast of New Orleans last week, and can handle up to 100,000 barrels of oil a day, he said.
According to Zahradnik, the Growth Fund just had the most successful year ever, and the five-year plan is looking successful as well.
“What I really like about this five-year plan is that it’s based off of things that we already have in hand,” Zahradnik said. “It’s not based on speculation … it is a very solid and very reliable forecast.”