When organizations achieve greater capacity, they can achieve greater impact in the communities they serve. As a backbone organization, Fahe provides expertise and services which allow our Members and partner organizations to achieve greater capacity. Fahe’s Loan Servicing Department is one such service and through the years, Fahe has collaborated with many great people and organizations across Appalachia and outside of our direct service footprint. While these organizations are exceptional builders, counselors, and advocates, they sometimes need support in performing their primary job along with managing mortgages. We’ve been impressed with the impact and scope of our partners and we wanted to highlight one these organizations: Four Directions Development Corporation (FDDC) located in Maine.
FDDC’s mission is to improve the social and economic conditions of the four Native American tribes in Maine – the Maliseet, Micmac, Passamaquoddy, and Penobscot – through education and investment in affordable housing, tribal business ventures, and Native entrepreneurship. FDDC provides developmental services including counseling one to one, group sessions, workshops, and various tribal gatherings.
Native CDFIs such as Four Directions Development Corporation play a vital role in ensuring that native communities have access to needed capital. “The Native populations have had to rely on subsidized living arrangements for too long,” said Cindy Pullyard, FDDC’s Operations Manager / Sr. Accountant. “What housing is available is old and in need of many repairs. Due to Tribal sovereignty rights, traditional banks will not do lending on tribal lands. Access to affordable funding was non-existent before FDDC formed and too many homes fell into disrepair as Tribal funds were stretched and used to cover only the most urgent of needs. FDDC has Trust agreements with most of the Tribes to assist potential homeowners buy property, which allows us to take a collateral position on the home, while the Tribes maintain their sovereign rights on the land.”
Since FDDC was formed in 2002, their lending programs have issued over $12 Million in home, small business and community development loans to Native families and the Tribes. Their average home loan today is around $60,000. FDDC has served over 300 families directly, with many more services such as VITA Tax assistance, financial counseling and budgeting services and various workshops for small business and credit counseling. FDDC connected with Fahe Loan Servicing to explore ways to build capacity around managing their loans. “We needed better service and access for our borrowers, and staff, to be able to see records online in a more timely manner,” said Ms. Pullyard. “While there were kinks to work out during the transition time, we have come to a very good relationship and everyone is working well together. The service from Fahe is very efficient and flexible to adapt to the needs of our borrowers, especially when life hits them with unemployment, health and other life issues that need special consideration and payment arrangements. Everyone is very cordial and professional and we appreciate this very much.”
Native families are like every other family in our country. They want to live in a nice home with their families, work a decent job, see their children grow and thrive, and be part of a good, healthy community life. Fahe is proud to provide services which build capacity and support organizations like FDDC as they provide crucial investments that improves the social and economic conditions in their communities.