Groups join forces to protect Native American lenders

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In a statement, Barry Brandon, NAFSA’s executive director, said the new organization would focus on protecting Native American sovereignty. 

Given the “unprecedented economic growth potential and increasing efforts to undermine tribal sovereign immunity, the formation of this group could not have come at a better time,” Brandon said. “We are focused on protecting our sovereignty and continuing to improve the quality of life for our people, who have spent far too long suffering in some of the most impoverished areas of the country.”

The new group has cheered recent court decisions that protected tribal sovereignty, including on matters involving payday lenders. The group has also set out a system of best practices for its member tribes when it comes to online lending.

“We have already seen tremendous success through existing e-commerce initiatives and we look forward to continuing our work to increase tribal independence and decrease reliance on the federal government,” Brandon said.

Federal regulators, including the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, have taken an interest in online lending, which several tribal-affiliated lenders engage in. The groups have pushed back against the bureau, which was created by the Dodd-Frank reform law.

The Native American Fair Commerce Coalition has representation on K Street. It hired the C2 Group in January and has paid the firm $50,000 so far, according to lobbying disclosure records.