Larson named housing director
Lance Larson sees rural Minnesota dwindling and thinks he can help. Larson, a Jamestown, N.D., native and 1989 Moorhead High School graduate, has been named the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development's single family housing director for...
Lance Larson sees rural Minnesota dwindling and thinks he can help.
Larson, a Jamestown, N.D., native and 1989 Moorhead High School graduate, has been named the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development's single family housing director for Minnesota.
He is the highest-ranking federal housing official for rural Minnesota.
Based in St. Paul, Larson will manage a home loan portfolio of $2 million and try to assist rural Minnesotans buy homes.
"We have programs to help," he said Thursday. "And we want to help."
Larson has seven years of experience in housing and home loans. Most recently he was mortgage and home loan officer for National Lending Source in Maple Grove, Minn.
Steve Wenzel, director of USDA rural development in Minnesota, said Larson brings many attributes to his new position.
"Lance Larson is a person of outstanding character and integrity. These qualities are essential in those we seek to put in positions of high public trust. Lance also brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to this key position in our agency," Wenzel said.
Area residents may remember Larson for his football exploits and military service.
He helped the Moorhead Spuds win the Minnesota Class AA state title in 1987.
After graduating from Moorhead High School, he received a scholarship to play football at the University of Nebraska, one of the nation's top college football programs.
He quit football after a year and a half at Nebraska.
In 1992 he was admitted to the U.S. Air Force Special Forces. During the Persian Gulf War he received the National Defense Ribbon for his service.
In 1997 he enrolled at Moorhead's Concordia College. The muscular and speedy 6-foot-5 Larson played football for a season with the Cobbers, in hopes of launching a pro football career.
That didn't work out, so Larson began a career in banking, focusing on mortgages.
"I enjoy finance and real estate and mortgages combines both of them," he said.
Larson said he sometimes grew frustrated in the private sector because it can't provide financing for everyone who wants to buy a home.
His new position allows him to help would-be homebuyers who otherwise might fall through the cracks, he said.
President Bush has set a policy of substantially increasing home ownership for rural Americans over the next five years, according to the USDA.
More home ownership is especially important in rural Minnesota, which is losing residents and businesses, Larson said.
Despite what skeptics of the federal government may think, he said, USDA Rural Development is anxious to help people who need it.
"We want to make a difference in people's lives," Larson said.
Readers can reach Forum reporter Jonathan Knutson at (701) 241-5530