Native American Financial Services Association hires new director

Gary "Litefoot" Davis. Photo from Facebook

The Native American Financial Services Association has named a familiar face as its new executive director.

Gary "Litefoot" Davis, a member of the Cherokee Nation, will be heading up the organization, which represents tribal lending institutions. The announcement comes as the well-known entrepreneur, musician and actor wraps up a four-year stint at the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development.

“I am excited to begin serving as the new executive director of NAFSA where I believe we can help create greater awareness about the financial services provided by tribally owned companies and the positive impact those companies have in tribal communities,” Davis said in a press release on Wednesday. “Since its founding, NAFSA has been a catalyst to help its tribal members grow and flourish and I want to expand its portfolio to create even greater growth in the tribal financial services sector for the benefit of all of Indian Country.”

“The appointment of Gary Davis will be transformative for our organization and the tribal communities we serve,” added Chairman John R. Shotton of the Otoe-Missouria Tribe, who serves as NAFSA’s chair. “Gary has been a passionate and tireless advocate for creating new economic opportunities for Indian Country and nobody has fought harder to ensure the preservation of our tribal sovereignty. We are thrilled to have him joining our NAFSA team.”

The online lending industry has come under intense scrutiny from states and the federal government. Several tribes, including the Otoe-Missouria, have faced enforcement actions and lawsuits amid complaints that their operations are unfair to consumers.

To address those complaints, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a federal agency, has proposed a new rule that imposes standards on all lenders, including those operated by tribes. NAFSA has criticized the rule as an infringement on tribal sovereignty.

Davis, who primarily resides in Washington state, will be NAFSA's third executive director in as many ears.

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