Native American Bank Awarded ‘Government Impact Deal Of The Year’ In Tribal Financing

Pictured left to right: Shannon Ward, Chief Lending Officer of Native American Bank, Bill Trepanier, Secretary Treasurer of the Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians of Wisconsin, Ernest Vargas, Founding Director of KOSO Strategies, LLC, and Joel Smith, President, Community Development Division, Native American Bank

Bank facilitated financial collaboration to fund $45M tribal community health center

Denver, CO—Native American Bank, N.A. (NAB), a national Native-owned community development bank and Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), was awarded “Government Impact Deal of the Year” at the 42nd annual Native American Finance Officers Association conference.

NAB received the award for facilitating a collaboration between the Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians (LCO Tribe) and a number of Native American financial institutions that led to fully funding a new $45 million facility for the Lac Courte Oreilles Community Health Center in Hayward, Wisconsin.

The current health center has been unable to meet the needs of its patients due to limited space, capacity, and programs to address the most pressing health needs of the Tribal community. Estimated to open in late 2025, the 64,421 square foot facility will allow the LCO Tribe to hire more health professionals and expand medical services and programs, including primary care, dental, optometry, physical therapy, behavioral health, pharmacy, community outreach, and diagnostic imaging.

“We are humbled to be recognized by our peers for this groundbreaking collaboration and project,” said Thomas Ogaard, President and Chief Executive Officer for Native American Bank. “It took a number of institutions who understand the significance of the LCO Tribes’ efforts to make this transaction a reality.”

Along with NAB, a consortium of Native American and mission-aligned banks and community development financial institutions were involved in facilitating the transaction on behalf of the LCO Tribe, including Bay Bank, Wisconsin Native Loan Fund, First American Capital Corps., Oweesta Corporation, and Illinois Facilities Fund.

Along with equity from the Tribe and New Markets Tax Credit allocations, funding for the community health center was secured through senior debt led by NAB and American Rescue Plan Act funds. Another unique component of the financial structure is the repayment of debt, which will come from reimbursement income provided by a 105(l) Lease agreement between the LCO Tribe and the Indian Health Service. This type of agreement falls under the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act and creates a unique opportunity for Tribes to support long-term debt and facility cost. 

“This project represents an unprecedented level of financial collaboration and expertise,” said Joel Smith, President of Native American Bank’s Community Development Division, which oversees the bank’s New Markets Tax Credit program. “We hope this process sets a new standard in collaborative finance in Indian County.”

Photo credit to Native American Finance Officers Association.


Veronica Lane
Vice President, Marketing Director


About Native American Bank
Chartered as a national community development focused bank, Native American Bank, N.A. is also a certified Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI). NAB is committed to being a self-sustaining CDFI and is the first national American Indian-owned community development bank in the country. NAB supports the communities that it services, and it received an “outstanding” score on the most recent Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) exam. Learn more at