Mvskoke Loan Fund expands space and opportunity across reservation
(OKMULGEE, Okla.) A ribbon cutting was held on Wednesday for the much-anticipated expansion of Mvskoke Loan Fund, a local community development financial institution (CDFI) founded in 2014.
CEO Christopher Coburn took Mvskoke Loan Fund over in 2017. He told us their need tripled then quadrupled over the course of the pandemic.
“A lot of people start out with not much,” Coburn said. “Or they’re heavily leveraged already. Their credit may not be what it should be. I can’t promise that we can lend to all those people yet, but we can give them guidance and services to help improve their situation. To teach them how to compete better in the credit market, business planning services.”
Coburn said they remodeled the first half of their new location (the former location of the tax commission of the Muscogee Creek Nation) in September of last year and moved in in October.
They started remodeling the other half of the new location after the former tenant moved out at the beginning of the year, a process that finished just last month.
“It was a slower process because materials are still delayed because of Covid,” Coburn said. “Now we have a multi-purpose training room. We’ve got computers on order, so we’ll have four stations that clients come in and work at with brand new equipment.”
Coburn said he considers their CDFI more of an empowerment organization than an entitlement organization.
“I call us a net non-profit,” Coburn said. “We have to make money on lending, but we reinvest that into the training and services we do. The good thing about it is, when people do one thing with us it feeds something else.”
We’re told the new facility will be home to both expanded online and in-person opportunities, as well as serve as an additional asset to the greater community.
“If a group of a similar mission wanted to come in and use the space, we’d charge a fee and let them use it,” Coburn said.
Mvskoke Loan Fund currently offers small business and agribusiness lending and is looking to add more consumer lending in the future.
Coburn said he is grateful for their partnership with the Muscogee Creek Nation to serve all Muscogee citizens statewide and all Indigenous people living on the Muscogee Creek Reservation.
“As part of the overall bigger picture, we partner with a lot of agencies that have different demographics,” Coburn said. “Some are just focused on rural and that’s not based on ethnicity, some are focused on women. And so, we try to also be an information clearing house to kind of aim people where they need to go. And that way, as a greater community, no matter who you are or where you’re from we can work better together.”
The Mvskoke Loan Fund is located at 1523 South Wood Drive in Okmulgee.