Four Bands Community Fund

Four Bands Community Fund, a Kola Member of the South Dakota Native Homeownership Coalition, is located in Eagle Butte on the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation.


A Growing Organization

When Four Bands first began their work as a Native community development financial institution (CDFI) in 2000, less than 1% of businesses on the Cheyenne River Reservation were Native American-owned. To date, they have deployed over $20 million in business loans, resulting in the start-up or expansion of hundreds of new businesses and the creation or retention of over 1,000 jobs. While still deeply committed to private sector business development at home on the Reservation, Four Bands expanded its geographic service area to include the entire state of South Dakota about 10 years ago. The organization has also greatly expanded its suite of programs to meet community needs – one of the most pressing being housing.

In 2018, Four Bands piloted a mortgage product, deploying one loan valuing $7,600. By the time of the official launch in 2019, they had already built a pipeline of mortgage borrowers through a partnership with Cheyenne River Housing Authority, in which they had helped deliver homeownership training to hundreds of families. Within three years they deployed a total of 44 mortgage loans valuing nearly $4 million. Four Bands dedicates an average of 25 hours of customized technical assistance and coaching to help each client become mortgage-ready and guides them step-by-step through the entire process, from pre-application to post-loan servicing. At any given time, they are working with about 30 clients in varying stages of their homeownership journeys.


An Advocate for Access to Capital

After Four Bands launched their homeownership program, they quickly experienced a demand that outpaced available capital for home financing. As an active member in the South Dakota Native Homeownership Coalition, Four Bands joined the advocacy efforts to increase access to mortgage capital. They became a key partner in the USDA Rural Development 502 Direct CDFI Relending Pilot where they deployed $1 million in 502 Direct Loans. In late 2022, USDA announced an expansion of the pilot that will enable Four Bands to deploy an additional $3 million. They are continuing advocacy efforts with the Coalition to make the pilot permanent.

Four Bands has two staff members that assist clients with 502 Direct Loans as well as their other mortgage products, April Anderson and Tori Chasing Hawk.

April explains, “The [502 Direct CDFI Relending] Pilot helps us get the right capital into the right project. It’s a huge benefit by helping housing stay affordable, which means we are able to service more clients.”

Both April and Tori come from a banking background and enjoy the client-centered, flexible approach at Four Bands. They let the client take the lead, but if they need help, April and Tori help them problem solve.

“They don’t have to fit into a box,” says Tori, who helps clients with anything from savings and credit to insurance and property taxes.

“It’s really nice. We get to be on the journey with our clients. We ride it with them no matter how they need our support, watching them grow and learn,” says April.

They say the best part is when homeowners share their story and inspire the next group of people to start their journey.