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Strange Pam-Ldap authentication issue

Hello, I'm sorry I know pam/ldap integration is passe, but I've got a 
strange problem. I've setup the padl libnss-ldap and pam-ldap, and 
everything seems to be working. I have all my user accounts imported into 
Ldap, and I've added one extra user account to LDAP (but not 
in /etc/passwd) to test with. Here is what I can and cannot do:

- "finger test-user" works, and I get a listing of the shell, home folder, 

- "chown test-user testfile.txt" does NOT work.

logging in as test-user authenticates _IF_ I include the following line 
in /etc/passwd:


And then I can login, but I get an error message about no home folder being 

it seems that ldap/pam is authenticating the user and the password, but 
cannot read the home directory and shell entries.

Can someone suggest a cause for this? Thank you!