The Oneida Nation’s and Bay Bank’s partnership with the Homeownership by Independent Purchase (HIP) program celebrated their 50th home loan closing on May 3. The HIP Program, which started in May 2016, is designed to assist Oneida Nation citizens with home purchases on the Oneida Reservation that meet certain criteria.
“In three years we have closed 50 loans with this partnership with the Oneida Nation,” Tanya Krueger, Bay Bank Assistant Vice President, said. “A tribal member can buy a home within the reservation boundaries and as long as it’s within the subdivisions that don’t have restrictive covenants, meaning the property can’t be converted into trust land, and the land value is under $75,000, the tribe can buy the land at the tax assessed value and customer buys the house. So, the customer can afford more home because the customer is paying for the house but the tribe is paying the taxes on the land and the tribal members pays the taxes on the house. It’s more affordable for the customer.”
The idea for the HIP Program was brought up with Land Commissioner Rae Skenandore about three years ago. “A friend of mine asked me ‘why can’t I just pick out my own house and have the tribe purchase the land?’” Skenandore said. “We had some of the attorneys, land staff, mortgage lenders from Bay Bank, and some representatives from HUD (U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development) get together and we hashed it out. It took about another year to get the fine details worked out but this has become a really successful program.”
Multiple entities within the Oneida Nation put a lot of time and effort into the program that now offers tribal citizens more options for purchasing a home. “For me it’s about diversity and offering more opportunities to the membership,” Pat Pelky, Oneida Environmental, Health, Safety, and Land Division Director, said. “We could not have done this without the partnerships between Land Management, Comprehensive Housing, three attorneys, Bay Bank, the Land Commission, and of course from the community itself wanting more choices. This has been an excellent choice.”
“There were some key people in pushing this forward like Becky Webster,” Kanatihal, Housing Authority Senior Loan Officer, said. “And as all the pieces were put on the table Krystal John came in and helped get our process in place. And there were certainly more than just those two involved with this amazing program. And another key part of this program is the tribe is acquiring land so we’re building the Nation bigger. I just want to say congratulations.”
Oneida Nation Chairman Tehassi Hill also expressed gratitude for the program. “I’d like to thank everybody who was involved in making this program happen and making it possible for tribal members to go out and pick their homes,” Hill said. “They like the process of figuring out what home they like in their location. Having the homeowners take care of their own homes also relieves that responsibility from various departments and the program benefits the Nation as well.”
“I get an opportunity to talk about our bank in a lot of different places,” Jeff Bowman, Bay Bank President and CEO, said. “We are getting really well known for good things that are happening right here. Our peers and other Native-owned banks are amazed at what we do. Other people across the country look at these ideas that come from the Oneida Nation and they are really impressed. So, don’t stop giving yourselves credit and keep pressing ahead with new ideas because we really are the envy of others that see how progressive and creative this thinking is.”
“This is a great program,” Krueger said. “We worked with the tribe for several months to get it going and we’re proud to have closed our 50th loan three years later. It’s been a great way to partner with the tribe and make dreams come true. Our goal is to get people into houses.
For more information about the HIP Program contact any of the Bay Bank mortgage lenders at (920) 490-7600.