NAFSA FACT SHEET

Who is NAFSA?

The Native American Financial Services Association (NAFSA) formed in 2012 to protect and advocate for Native American sovereign rights and enable tribes to offer responsible lending products. Through the protection of consumer rights and tribal sovereignty, NAFSA provides vital services to tribal governments and helps to further economic development opportunities in Indian Country.

Why NAFSA formed:

  • A key mission of NAFSA is to protect and preserve the sovereignty of Native American tribes, while offering an unprecedented opportunity for tribal economic growth.
  • There are more than 560 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.
  • Access to financing is a significant barrier for prospective Native American entrepreneurs for a variety of reasons, including lack of collateral, poor or no credit histories, and geographical isolation from mainstream financial institutions. NAFSA members understand this position and are able to provide service to similarly situation consumers.
  • Tribally offered financial service products create jobs and development on tribal lands, increasing financial independence of tribes and decreasing dependence on the federal government.
  • Financial services also provide a valuable service to America’s significant unbanked and under-banked populations. These consumers are historically unable to secure credit through traditional banking means and therefore rely on alternative financial solutions to make ends meet.

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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