Founded in 1995 by the Oneida Nation and a group of five Green Bay area businessmen, Bay Bank intended to provide the Green Bay area community with a locally controlled financial institution. In 2000, the Oneida Nation became the sole owner of Bay Bank, which could then provided more federally funded programs to directly assist tribal members and unique mortgage and entrepreneurial programs to assist Oneidas in obtaining housing and starting business ventures. Bay Bank is the only area bank to offer the HUD Section 184 Indian Housing Loan Guarantee Program. The Program offers any Native American member of a federally recognized tribe an opportunity to own a home. Bay Bank also administers a unique program referred to as the Oneida Small Business Project 2000, which has successfully delivered over $5 million investment dollars to over 100 Oneida small business entrepreneurs. Today, Bay Bank has assets of nearly $85 million and a staff of 27 people.
CEOs from Native banks discuss the importance of access to capital and assistance for their banks to thrive. Jeff Bowman of Bay Bank provided insight about how other CDFIs can support Native banks.
The Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago (FHLBank Chicago) this week announced more than $900,000 was awarded through its Community First® Capacity-Building Grant Program to 21 nonprofit community development lenders working in Illinois or Wisconsin. Grants are used to help strengthen a nonprofit community development lender's financial position, operational efficiency, and/or human capital to support the affordable housing and/or economic development programs the organization provides to the local communities in which they, and the member financial institution, serve. Grant recipients include CDBA members First Eagle Bank and Bay Bank.
On Tuesday, October 22, CDBA Members Kenneth Kelly of First Independence Bank and Jeff Bowman of Bay Bank testified before the House Committee on Financial Services Subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Financial Institutions in a hearing titled, "An Examination of the Decline of Minority Depository Institutions and the Impact on Underserved Communities."