-Executive Director of Native American Financial Services Association (NAFSA) Promotes Lending Best Practices, Sovereign Tribal Law and Regulation-
Philip Elwood, 202-973-5310
WASHINGTON, December 16, 2013 — Following a decision by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to take enforcement actions against CashCall and WS Funding – an online lender which does not operate under tribal law or abide by tribal regulatory bodies and is not wholly-owned by a federally-recognized tribe,Barry Brandon, Executive Director of the Native American Financial Services Association (NAFSA) today released the following statement:
“It is incumbent on the CFPB to understand the difference between CashCall / WS Funding and NAFSA’s members, which it makes very clear in the complaint filed today by stating: ‘Western Sky Financial, LLC is an online lender. It is owned by a member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Indian Reservation, but is not owned or operated by a tribe or tribal entity. Western Sky is a limited-liability company organized under the laws of South Dakota. It purports that loans made in its name are subject only to the laws of the Cheyenne River Sioux Indian Reservation.’ (Paragraph 18 of CFPB Complaint).
“NAFSA sets the bar high for our members. Our member tribes follow all applicable tribal and federal laws and agree to abide by a strict set of industry-leading best practices to ensure that consumers can trust NAFSA members to honor their rights, protect their privacy, treat them fairly, and constantly strive to offer innovative financial products. CashCall does not abide by these consumer-friendly practices, is not an enterprise wholly owned by a federally-recognized tribe, is not regulated by a tribal regulatory lending authority, does not operate according to tribal law, and breaks the covenants meant to benefit tribal governments and their members.
“Our member tribes support this move by the CFPB and will continue to abide by the highest possible lending standards. We expect the CFPB to take precaution in understanding these distinguishing characteristics between illegal CashCall / WS Funding products and properly-structured small dollar loan products offered by our tribal governments.”
The Native American Financial Services Association (NAFSA) formed in 2012 to advocate for Native American sovereign rights and enable tribes to offer responsible online lending products. Through the protection of consumer rights and sovereign immunity, NAFSA provides vital services to tribally operated lenders serving the under-banked with better short term financial services, furthering economic development opportunities in Indian Country.