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James Williams: Lac Vieux Desert Band regulates online lending

The Lac Vieux Desert Band landed on the front page of The Washington Post homepage on March 2.

James Williams Jr., the chairman of the Lac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians of Michigan, defends the tribe's online lending operation:
The March 2 front-page article “Tribes’ bet on high-interest lending comes with uneasy feelings” omitted the fact that tribally owned businesses are regulated, geared toward customer satisfaction and take aggressive measures for consumer protection.

Under tribal law, the Tribal Financial Services Regulatory Authority (TFSRA), an independent body that went unmentioned in the story, regulates our business. We’re proud that 92 percent of our customers express satisfaction and would use our services again. Tribal law allows dissatisfied consumers to raise concerns with the business, the TFSRA and the constitutionally created Tribal Court — a dispute resolution process equivalent to that available in any state.

The article also highlighted a series of calculations, metrics and “worst case” scenarios. Those figures do not accurately reflect our customers’ experiences. Our tribal lending businesses offer options to meet the financial needs of consumers at a time when they need it most. With a median per person income of $51,559, our customers are equipped to manage their finances.

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James Williams Jr: Tribal lending helps consumers (The Washington Post 3/6)

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