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NAFSA slams bill aimed at regulating tribal online payday loans

A bill that aims to regulate the growing payday lending industry will hurt Indian Country, the Native American Financial Services Association said on Thursday.

S.3426, the Stopping Abuse and Fraud in Electronic (SAFE) Lending Act, was introduced on Tuesday. The bill appears to place limits on tribal companies by requiring them to comply with state lending laws.

"This legislation demonstrates the complete lack of understanding and respect that should be afforded to tribal government entities, clearly provided for under Presidential Executive Order," said Barry Brandon, the executive director of NAFSA.

The bill appears to recognize that tribes have a right to pass their own financial and consumer protection laws. But NAFSA said it will force tribes to stop existing lending practices, resulting in a loss of jobs and economic development.

Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Oregon), Sen. Tom Udall (D-New Mexico), and Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Illinois) are sponsoring the bill. No Republicans have signed onto it so far.

"It is unacceptable that financial predators are using the ‘Wild West’ of the Internet to strip wealth from working families,” Merkley said in a press release. “This abusive, predatory lending hits families hard, hurting the parents and the children. We must close the loopholes that have allowed companies to utilize practices already banned in many states.”

Get the Story:
Press Release: Native American Economic Future Under Siege; Democratic Senate Coalition Strikes At The Heart of Indian Country (NAFSA 7/26)

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