Who is NAFSA?

NAFSA is a 501(C)(6) registered trade association in Washington D.C. that represents the interests of Tribal governments, Tribal Lending Entities, service providers that participate in Tribal-Online Small-dollar-installment-lending (“TOLSDIL”) and other financial services. NAFSA advocates for tribal sovereignty, the protection of consumer rights, and provides vital services to our members that further economic development opportunities in Indian Country.

Why NAFSA formed:

  • NAFSA’S key mission is to advocate for the interests of Indian Country in the financial services industries. NAFSA protects and preserves the sovereignty of Native American tribes while promoting unprecedented opportunities for tribal economic growth.
  • There are more than 570 federally-recognized tribes in the United States, many of whom do not benefit from the gaming industry; this has left a need for other tribal economic development opportunities to create sustainability and jobs on Native American reservations.
  • Indian Country understands firsthand the significant problems that face communities who lack access to capital and financing. Nearly 40% of Americans lack collateral, have poor or no credit histories, and are geographically isolated from mainstream financial institutions. NAFSA members live this hardship and are able to provide financial services to similarly situation consumers across the country.
  • Tribally offered financial service products are developed on tribal lands, create jobs for tribal members, and decreases dependence on the federal government/American tax dollars while promoting Tribal economic independence.
  • Our members’ provide a valuable service to America’s significant unbanked and underbanked populations. These consumers are historically unable to secure credit through traditional banking means and therefore rely on alternative financial solutions.

Key facts:

  • All voting members of NAFSA are members of federally-recognized tribes; NAFSA board members are tribal leaders.
  • NAFSA member tribes and service providers are required to follow NAFSA’s established Best Practices and Bylaws to ensure responsible lending and advance industry-standard consumer protection safeguards.
  • NAFSA Best Practices require members to follow all applicable federal lending laws and the tribes’ own regulatory compliance laws.
  • All member tribes’ products are owned by the tribes for the benefit of their tribal government and communities. These tribes originate the loans on their reservations and assume the credit risk when making the decision to approve individual loan applications.

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