WASHINGTON, Aug. 16, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The Native American Financial Services Association (NAFSA) today applauded the federal government for passing into law the Helping Expedite and Advance Responsible Tribal Homeownership (HEARTH) Act, legislation which allows tribes to lease restricted lands for residential, business, public, religious, educational, or recreational purposes without the approval of the Secretary of the Interior.

“Any action to actively promote and reinforce our sovereign rights is a positive step forward for Indian country,” said Barry Brandon, Executive Director of NAFSA. “At a time when Native American communities across the country are struggling to make ends meet, this legislation will begin to alleviate some of the pressures our tribes are feeling.”

The legislation actively promotes increased sovereignty and economic development by allowing tribes to more quickly and easily lease their lands. Tribes will experience a reduction in waiting time to approve housing and small business leases, in turn driving economic development, job creation, and investment in Native American communities.

“Sovereignty is like a muscle,” Barry continued. “The only way to strengthen it is to exercise it. The HEARTH Act allows us increased freedom to exercise our sovereignty by giving us more control to govern our own lands.”

Part of NAFSA’s mission, in addition to advocating for Native American sovereign rights, is to enable tribes to offer responsible online lending products. These products offer a vital short-term financial solution to unbanked and under-banked populations while helping Native American communities enhance their independence and invest in their communities.

NAFSA Members adhere to strict Best Practices, setting an industry standard for sovereign nations within the lending industry and the businesses they work with. Because of these best practices, consumers can trust NAFSA members to honor their rights, treat them fairly, and constantly strive to offer innovative alternative financial products at a great price.

“As we work toward sustainable solutions, we must also look toward the exciting opportunities afforded by e-commerce, which has provided unprecedented economic development to Indian communities,” Brandon continued.

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.

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