Press Releases

Virtual Remarks by Secretary of the Treasury Janet L. Yellen at the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development Reservation Economic Summit

During remarks, Secretary Yellen announces more than $100 million in new funding for small businesses in Tribal communities

LAS VEGAS, NV – Today, Secretary of the Treasury Janet L. Yellen delivered pre-recorded remarks at the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development Reservation Economic Summit on the historic investments the Biden-Harris Administration is making in Tribal economic development, including through small business financing. During her remarks, Secretary Yellen announced an additional $105 million in funding through the Treasury Department’s State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI) for Tribes – part of the largest and most expansive one-time investment for Tribal governments for small business financing in the history of our nation. To date, the Department has approved SSBCI plans for up to $265 million in small business funding for 80 Tribes.

As Prepared for Delivery

Thank you to the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development for the invitation to speak to you today.

Tribal economies are critical to the U.S. economy. They have been since our nation’s founding, but for too long we’ve seen significant underinvestment, limited access to capital, and higher poverty rates for Tribal communities. A recent report found that in 2023, 46 percent of people in majority-American Indian and Alaska Native census tracts lived in a banking desert. That’s over 12 times the national average.

At Treasury, we believe that such a severe lack of access to capital is unacceptable—and also that we can contribute to changing it.

Two years ago, Treasury created its first Office of Tribal and Native Affairs under the first Native American Treasurer of the United States.

We’ve also deployed $30 billion in recovery support to Tribes, including through our State Small Business Credit Initiative, through which Treasury allocated over $500 million in SSBCI funding to Tribal governments for programs that support lending and investing in small businesses.

Today, I am announcing an additional almost $105 million in State Small Business Credit Initiative program approvals for Tribes. This brings total approvals for Tribal governments to $265 million, across 80 Tribes. New approvals include almost $3 million to the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma to expand access to credit for Tribal-owned small businesses, including in the energy sector, with funds to be administered by a non-profit community development corporation.

Treasury is also committed to growing Native-serving financial institutions. We’ve made unprecedented investments in Native-serving CDFIs and invested $234 million in Native-owned and Native-majority shareholder depository institutions through the Emergency Capital Investment Program.

We’re also making sure Tribes can benefit from key aspects of the historic legislation we’ve passed, such as the Inflation Reduction Act’s clean energy credits. For the first time, tax benefits are directly available to Tribal governments through what we’re calling elective pay.

I’m glad you’ll hear more about these and other opportunities at this conference, including from my colleagues attending in person. And I’d like to thank the organizers and attendees for the crucial work you do to further our shared commitment to increasing opportunity for Tribal communities.