Yes! Magazine, February 19, 2020: What a Public Bank Can Do for Real People
At a fundamental level, the most important thing that the Bank of North Dakota does is listen to local financial institutions and respond to their needs relatively quickly, often by simply building on its existing functions and programs.
Take manufactured housing. A few years ago, Obenauer’s Union State Bank in Hazen started getting more and more requests for financing to build and purchase manufactured homes for new oil industry workers.
“You cannot just live in your car or live in a camper and think you’re going to survive our winters. It just doesn’t work that way,” Obenauer says. “These are homes that can get put up much more quickly, which is what we did, but I didn’t have a secondary market that loved manufactured homes.”
Even though the mortgages for manufactured homes were individually small, a sudden high volume of them in a relatively brief period of time can become a major cash drain on a little bank, especially since those mortgages can last as long as 30 years. That’s a long time to wait for somebody to pay you back.
“So I called the BND and said, I need your help, will you buy these from me if I’m originating them?” Obenauer says.