All posts by Lucille Brooks


SNIEDC is pleased and honored to announce a Technical Assistance (TA) grant award of $150,000 for the 2017 funding round of the Native American Community Development Financial Institution Assistance (NACA) Program from the U.S. Department of Treasury’s CDFI Fund.   SNIEDC’s TA award will be used to provide operational support for capacity building to increase access to credit, capital, and financial services to Seneca entrepreneurs.

The NACA Program was awarded $15.6 million to 38 Native Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) across the country in this funding round.   This program is funded through an annual appropriation from the United States Congress, and the awards are made each year through a competitive process that spans several months.

Lucille Brooks, Executive Director commented, “This new funding will assist SNIEDC in ensuring the needs and demands of Seneca Entrepreneurs are being met through our loan products.  SNIEDC will be building internal capacity to include our newest product, commercial mortgages. “

SNIEDC began offering Commercial Mortgages, which no traditional financial lender can do on territory due to tribal sovereignty.  Because SNIEDC is chartered by the Seneca Nation, we are uniquely positioned to offer this product. SNIEDC’s Commercial Mortgage program will create a mechanism for using property on territory as loan collateral. The availability of affordable and modern commercial space will stimulate new business growth and increase employment on territory.

Another benefit of the Commercial Mortgage program is that a Seneca can leverage their most valuable asset, their home, as collateral to obtain a SNIEDC business loan. This will allow Senecas to more effectively leverage their personal assets to increase their wealth.


SNIEDC is a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization chartered in 1993 by the Seneca Nation of Indians Tribal Council. SNIEDC became certified as a Native Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) to provide loan products and services to the Seneca membership in 2013. A CDFI is a specialized financial institution that works in market niches that are underserved by traditional financial institutions.

SNIEDC Interest Rates Based on Prime Rate

 Interest Rates could continue to rise – now is the time to lock in a lower rate

Financial accounting stock market graphs analysisThe Current Fed Prime Rate is: 4.75% (the last rate change — an increase of 25 basis points or 0.25 percentage point, occurred on March 21, 2018)

The US Prime Rate is a commonly used, short-term interest rate in the banking system of the United States.  All types of American lending institutions (traditional banks, credit unions, loan funds, etc.) use the U.S. Prime Rate as an index or foundation rate for pricing various loan products.  The US Prime Rate is consistent between financial institutions because banks want to offer businesses and consumers loan products that are both profitable and competitive.  A consistent US Prime Rate also makes it easier and more efficient for individuals and businesses to compare similar loan products offered by competing banks.

SNIEDC basis its business loan interest rates on the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) Prime Rate, which surveys large banks and publishes the consensus US Prime Rate.  The WSJ surveys the largest banks in the US, and when three-quarters of those banks change, the WSJ updates its rate, effective on the day it publishes the new rate.  Each day, the WSJ publishes the most widely quoted measure of the US Prime Rate.

Providers of consumer and commercial loan products often use the US Prime Rate as their base lending rate, and then add a margin (profit) based primarily on the amount of risk associated with a loan.  SNIEDC follows this same model by utilizing a risk-based calculation to determine an applicant’s interest rate.  For example, on Business Loans, SNIEDC uses an applicant’s Credit Score, Debt-to-Income ratio, and Loan-to-Value ratio to calculate the interest rate as a spread above the WSJ prime rate.

prime rate graphWhile the prime rate held at a low of 3.25% from December 2008 through December 2015, this rate was at 9.5% as recently as the early 2000s. In December 1980, it reached a record high of 21.50%. The rate can remain the same for years, but it can also change as often as every six weeks, because that’s how often the Federal Reserve’s Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meets and decides how it wants to influence the fed funds rate on which the WSJ prime rate is based.

The Prime Rate is projected to rise again in 2017.  According to the WSJ, when the FOMC met in December 2016 the “Federal Reserve showed increasing optimism about the U.S. economy and signaled interest rates would rise at a faster pace than previously projected, as it unanimously approved its second rate increase in a decade…The brightening economic outlook also prompted a shift in rate forecasts, with Fed officials now expecting to raise rates next year by another 0.75 percentage point, likely in three quarter-point moves.”  When you are approved for a loan with SNIEDC, the interest rate will be calculated based on the WSJ Prime Rate at that time and will be fixed for the term of the loan.  Apply for a business loan soon to help protect you from rising interest rates.


SNIEDC Commercial Mortgage Loans

Commercial Development on Seneca Territory

The Seneca Nation of Indians Economic Development Company (SNIEDC) has the ability to use real property on the Seneca Nation Territories as collateral. SNIEDC gained approval for Commercial Mortgage Guidelines which provide a leasing structure on real property within the Seneca Nation Territories.  SNIEDC borrowers can purchase property on territory for a business or leverage their current property for financing.

Due to tribal sovereignty rights, land issues create an obstacle for financing on territory.  More specifically, the sovereign status of the Seneca Nation Territories prevents financial lenders from being able to place a lien on or repossessing Seneca Property. However, the leases within the City of Salamanca and the congressional villages on the Allegany Territory offer this ability. SNIEDC will use a lease mechanism approved by the Guidelines to allow Senecas to obtain business financing on property everywhere on the Territories. Throughout the term of the loan and in the event of a default the property will always remain within the possession of a Seneca individual or the Seneca Nation.

SNIEDC offers Commercial Mortgages with up to 20 year terms that can be used for business property acquisition of land and buildings, construction or renovations. This extended loan term will allow Seneca business owners the flexibility to reduce their monthly debt payments over a longer period. This enables more effective Commercial Development within the Seneca Nation Territories.

Minimum Maximum
Loan Limits $75,000 $375,000
Interest Rate (updated 3/21/18)
5.75% 9.75%
20 year maximum term

Another benefit of the Commercial Mortgage Guidelines is that a Seneca can leverage their most valuable asset, their home, as collateral to obtain a SNIEDC loan. This will allow Senecas to more effectively leverage their personal assets to increase their wealth.  Below are SNIEDC’s two other loan products for which Senecas can now use real property as collateral.

Minimum Maximum
Loan Limits $25,000 $250,000
Interest Rate (updated 3/21/18) 5.75% 9.75%
7 year maximum term
Minimum Maximum
Loan Limits $500 $25,000
Interest Rate  (updated 3/21/18) 5.75% 9.75%
5 year maximum term

Visit our application page, call us at (716) 945-7148, or stop by our office to get our loan applications or for more information.

Shop Local, Shop Seneca


How many of the products or services that you buy are purchased either on Seneca Territory or at Seneca businesses?

Each dollar spent at a local business is 3-4 times more likely to stay in the local community. This is called the multiplier effect or economic impact. Local businesses retain and recirculate money in the local community, generating greater local wealth and increase demand for local jobs. Every dollar spent off territory has a very small chance of being recirculated back to Seneca businesses and Seneca families.

The Seneca Nation of Indians Economic Development Company (SNIEDC) has created a Seneca Business Directory and Seneca Business Map to help shoppers find Seneca-owned businesses. Now, you can search our directory and find the local Seneca-owned business that can provide the service or product that you are looking for.

Visit our Seneca Business Directory  or click the “Shop Seneca” link on the menu at the top of our website.

If you are Seneca and own a business on-territory or off-territory and you would like your business listed in our directory, go to our Directory and click “Submit A Listing” to add your business to our Directory.  If your business is currently listed and needs to be updated, please contact us and we will revise your listing.

If you are looking for a service or product that is not currently offered by a Seneca owned business, there may be an opportunity for you to start your own business. If you or someone you know is interested in starting a small business, take a look at our business loan applications or call our office at (716) 945-7148 to speak with our staff about the loan application process.

SNIEDC’s Deferred Payment Program

The Seneca Nation of Indians Economic Development Company (SNIEDC) offers a  Deferred Payment Program. The Deferred Payment Program provides the ability to defer one monthly payment per year and have that payment added to the end of the loan. If you anticipate having cash flow issues in an upcoming month, you can choose to defer paying for that month while protecting your credit report from being hit with a missed payment.

To take advantage of this opportunity, SNIEDC borrowers will need to have made 12 consecutive monthly payments paid in full and on time. The Deferred Payment form must be filled out completely and returned to SNIEDC no less than 10 days and no more than 30 days before the due date of the payment to be deferred. A fee of $25 is required with the submission of the Deferred Payment form in order for the request to be processed. Please see the Deferred Payment Program description for more details.

Important: The maturity date of your loan will be extended one month and interest will continue to accrue on your loan during the month you deferred your payment.

This program is intended to help our borrowers through economic hardship by remaining in good standing with SNIEDC and protecting your credit report from a delinquent payment.

Click Here to read our Program Description and to download our form

Get Your Business Online

For small businesses, having a website is an essential tool for marketing. However, many local small businesses do not have a website and are invisible to anyone searching for their product or service online. There are many advantages to having an online presence, and below are just a few reasons why any small business should invest in being online.


The web is where we go to find things …

97% of internet users look for local goods and services online.
Source: BIA/Kelsey, User View Wave VII, March 2010


We’re looking for businesses nearby …

One in five searches is local, which means
someone is looking for a product or service nearby!
Source: Google user data, April 2010


We look for things when we’re on the go…

Three out of four smartphone users have contacted a
business they found on their phone.
Source: Google/Ipsos, “The Mobile Movement: Understanding Smartphone Users,” April 2011


Many businesses in New York can’t be found online …

53% of New York businesses
do not have a website.
Source: Google/IPSOS, Survey of businesses with less than 250 employees, October 2013


Businesses that can be found online are growing faster …

Over the next three years, businesses that make use of the web expect to grow 40% faster than those that don’t.
Source: BCG Report, “The Connected World: The $4.2 Trillion Opportunity,” March 2012

Images and Statistics courtesy of Google’s Get Your Business Online website

SNIEDC Designated as a Native American CDFI


The Seneca Nation of Indians Economic Development Company (SNIEDC) is pleased to announce that the organization has received official certification as a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) from the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

A certified Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) is a specialized financial institution that works in market niches that are underserved by traditional financial institutions. CDFIs provide a unique range of financial products and services in economically distressed target markets, according to the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

SNIEDC Executive Director, Lucille Brooks said, “With this certification, SNIEDC will be eligible for new sources of funding to expand our existing loan programs and offer business development services for our customers.”

Lucille Brooks has worked diligently over the past year with SNIEDC’s attorney Kim Thomas and SNIEDC’s Executive Committee, comprised of Chairperson Lucille White, Vice-Chair Jeanne Berlin, and Treasurer/Secretary William Krysick, to develop the CDFI application. Lucille White stated, “Becoming CDFI certified has been a major goal for SNIEDC and its one step in our long term growth strategy for SNIEDC.”

SNIEDC is an independent 501(c)(3) non-profit organization chartered in 1993 by the Seneca Nation of Indians Tribal Council. SNIEDC’s mission is to foster local economic growth through programs such as the Small Business Loan Program. Since inception SNIEDC has closed on 70 loans totaling more than $5 million in financial assistance to Seneca entrepreneurs.

SNIEDC becomes a Credit Builders Alliance (CBA) Reporter


What is CBA Reporter?

CBA Reporter is a service that enables nonprofit lenders to report small business, micro, and consumer loan data to two of the three major credit Bureaus:  Transunion and Experian.

CBA reporter was created by and for our nonprofit members in response to a serious gap in the modern credit reporting system that locked millions of individuals with poor or no credit out of the mainstream financial system without opportunities to build credit. Our philosophy is that good credit is essential to achieving and maintaining financial stability. We believe that mission driven nonprofits are uniquely positioned to help these struggling families build credit as an asset.

CBA, through its hands-on customer service and award winning reporting platform, serves as a unique and vital link between our members and the credit Bureaus, advancing their joint responsibility and commitment to report consumer data accurately and appropriately.

Why Report?

#1: It’s Good for Borrowers!

Reporting Creates Credit History and Can Improve Scores:

  • Six to twelve months of on-time payments reported can move an individual from un-score-able to a prime score.
  • Six to twelve months of on-time payments on a loan as small $100 can increase a low score by 15 to 100 points

Good Credit Scores Can Create Savings Opportunities:

  • Lower interest rates and fees on credit products such as car loans, credit cards, and mortgages! (some estimates total the savings up to $250,000 over a working life!)
  •  Lower cost of car and home insurance
  • Reduced or eliminated advance deposit requirements for utilities, rent and cell phones

Good Credit Scores Can Improve Lives through Access to:

  • Responsible, mainstream credit products and bank accounts
  • Quality rental housing
  • Employment

#2: It’s Good for Lenders!

Better Borrower Behavior

  • More On-Time Payments: Borrowers who know their repayment activity is reported understand the broader implications of their relationship with the lender and directly feel the positive impact of improved credit as doors to other opportunities begin to open
  • Less Over-Borrowing: Lenders who report data help prevent over-borrowing by contributing to a complete picture of their borrowers’ financial relationships.

Stronger Loan Portfolios

  • Fewer Delinquencies: CBA members who report their loan data regularly see an increase in on-time payments and fewer delinquencies in their portfolios.  Some have noted improvement as quickly as the day notices go out to borrowers that reporting is about to begin.
  • More Capital: Stronger portfolio performance can help lenders raise new capital and strengthen their loan program for the long term.
  • More Options: Nonprofit lending staff that learn to navigate the credit reporting system have both carrots and sticks available to create customized, flexible payment solutions  to meet the unique  needs of their clients:
    • Carrot: Lenders have the ability to restructure payments and create work-arounds for borrowers who need a little extra time or help, while still building positive credit
    • Stick:  Consequences of delinquent payments encourage borrowers to engage with lenders – asking for help or flexibility when special circumstances arise.

Higher Standing with Key Stakeholders

  • Banking and Mainstream Finance Partners:  Banks, credit unions and other financing institutions seek out clients with strong credit histories and scores.  Nonprofits that report loan repayment data have more and better opportunities to open doors for their clients through local partnerships and graduation strategies into mainstream financing promoting long term financial self-sufficiency.
  • Funders looking for strong program investments: CBA members who report loan data have consistently indicated in surveys that building credit through reporting has created new opportunities for funding or securing new capital and is regarded as a hallmark of a sustainable program that is in business for the long term.
  • Community Leaders who want to measure impact:  Loan data that is reported to the credit Bureaus produces a tangible, quantifiable result in a standardized format on a credit report.  Quantitative third party data tracking changes in credit history and scores over time is a clear, powerful and easy to communicate indicator of a lending program’s impact in a community.