More than 40 percent of the loans funded went to home improvement loans, which are generally for much lower amounts than true mortgages.

Not Much Mortgage Lending in Oglala Lakota County

Mark Fogarty

Less than a half-million dollars of mortgage finance was extended on Oglala Lakota County in South Dakota last year, federal data shows.

Just 29 loans were originated in 2014 for a population of more than 13,000 in that county, formerly called Shannon County, which is entirely within the boundaries of the Pine Ridge reservation of the Oglala Lakota. The data was collected under the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act and analyzed by, a software developed by the McLean, Virginia-based ComplianceTech.

The total came to $475,000, according to disclosures lenders are required to make each year under HMDA to the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council, a unit of the Federal Reserve and other federal agencies.

Just 29 loans were originated, for a total of $295,000, with three purchased by the Government National Mortgage Association, totaling $180,000. A total of 55 applications were made, asking for $1.3 million, meaning less than half of the requested amounts were approved.

Mortgage sales and purchases by investors make up what is called the secondary mortgage market, with the net effect of making more mortgage money available in communities. These numbers show the secondary market in Oglala Lakota County is not thriving.

More than 40 percent of the loans funded went to home improvement loans, which are generally for much lower amounts than true mortgages. Of the $475,000, $200,000 went to HILs and $275,000 was extended on home purchases and refinances. The average financing was a low $15,500.

Seven lenders took apps from Oglala Lakota County, but only three banks extended credit. They were Wells Fargo Bank, Security Bank, and First Interstate Bank. Wells did 80 percent of all the lending, for $377,000.

Most of the lending, $374,000 was done through Federal Housing Administration mortgages, which carry government insurance. The rest, $101,000, was in conventional (non-governmental) lending.

In terms of the income level of borrowers, 26 percent was to low-income people, seven percent went to moderate income, 29 percent to those of moderate income, and less than one percent to upper income borrowers, according to the data.

The average loan amount on the mortgages was $60,000, while on the home improvement loans it was $8,360. As far as property type, more than 82 percent was for single-family homes, while manufactured housing made up the rest.

According to LendingPatterns’ demographic data on the three Census tracts within the county, there are 2,828 housing units in the county, with 1,452 of them owner-occupied. Total population is 13,586, meaning an average of about 4.8 people in each unit. The owner occupancy rate varies in the three tracts from 41 percent to 62 percent, in line with the Census Bureau’s 53 percent American Indian ownership rate. Native Americans make up more than 90 percent in each of the three tracts, and 12,784 in the county total. There are also 381 whites, 14 Asian people, 298 Hispanics, and four blacks living there.

The poverty rate varies between 29 percent and 57 percent in the tracts, where median household incomes range from $17,000 to $33,000. The average family income in the tracts is between $30,000 and $40,000, and the median house value varies from $12,000 to $30,800.

Pine Ridge also extends into Jackson and Bennett counties in South Dakota.

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