First Nations Oweesta Corporation and Wells Fargo Launch $500,000 Program for Native Americans

Program offers $5,000 down payment assistance grants in five U.S. communities; aimed at increasing homeownership
Jul 9, 2018 11:00 AM ET

LONGMONT, Colo., July 9, 2018 /3BL Media/ - First Nations Oweesta Corporation and Wells Fargo & Company today announced a $500,000 home down payment assistance program aimed at increasing U.S. homeownership opportunities for Native Americans. The grant is the first by Wells Fargo as part of its five-year, $50 million commitment to American Indian/Alaska Native communities to help address unique economic, social and environmental needs in Indian Country.

Wells Fargo has committed $500,000 to five Native Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), including: 

  • Cook Inlet Lending Center (Anchorage, Alaska)

  • Four Directions Development Corporation (Orono, Maine)

  • Mazaska Owecaso Otipi Financial (Pine Ridge, S.D.)

  • Native Community Finance (Laguna, N.M.)

  • TIWA Lending Services (Isleta Pueblo, N.M.)

“For a myriad of reasons and for generations, Native communities have historically had lower homeownership participation than other parts of the U.S., and this new opportunity will allow Native Americans to attain the true American dream,” said Chrystel Cornelius, executive director of First Nations Oweesta Corporation. “This opportunity provided by Wells Fargo will have an incredible impact for generations within Indian Country as we see tribal members creating assets and building personal wealth in the form of homeownership.”

With Oweesta acting as the intermediary, committed funding from Wells Fargo will be directly issued to all organizations as equity grants, allowing each organization to provide direct grant funds up to $5,000 each to tribal members for down payment assistance capital through their respective tribal lending programs. To learn more about eligibility requirements and how to apply for a down payment assistance grant in one of the five communities, contact the Native CDFI in the market.

The announcement follows Wells Fargo’s five-year, $50 million commitment to American Indian/Alaska Native communities to help address their unique economic, social and environmental needs.

“Wells Fargo has been serving American Indian/Alaska Native governments and communities for more than 50 years and currently provides capital and financial services to more than 200 tribal entities in 27 states, including tribal community development projects,” said Martin Sundquist, executive director of Wells Fargo Housing Foundation. “This work will continue to help address challenges in partnership with American Indian/Alaska Native leaders, governments and native-led nonprofit organizations in ways that are intentional, relevant, impactful and inclusive.”

About First Nations Oweesta Corporation

First Nations Oweesta Corporation was created 19 years ago to address the lack of capital and financial infrastructure holding back economic development in Native communities recognized by its parent organization, First Nations Development Institute. First Nations Oweesta Corporation’s mission is to provide opportunities for Native people to develop financial assets and create wealth by assisting in the establishment of strong, permanent institutions and programs that contribute to economic independence and strengthened sovereignty for all Native communities. For more information, visit

About Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC) is a diversified, community-based financial services company with $1.9 trillion in assets. Wells Fargo’s vision is to satisfy our customers’ financial needs and help them succeed financially. Founded in 1852 and headquartered in San Francisco, Wells Fargo provides banking, investments, mortgage, and consumer and commercial finance through 8,200 locations, 13,000 ATMs, the internet ( and mobile banking, and has offices in 42 countries and territories to support customers who conduct business in the global economy. With approximately 265,000 team members, Wells Fargo serves one in three households in the United States. Wells Fargo & Company was ranked No. 25 on Fortune’s 2017 rankings of America’s largest corporations. News, insights and perspectives from Wells Fargo are also available at Wells Fargo Stories.