Published August 1, 2017
NAFSA’s members discuss tribal lending, economic development with Members of Congress and the Administration
WASHINGTON – The Native American Financial Services Association (NAFSA) held its first-ever Capitol Hill Day this week in Washington, DC. Leaders representing NAFSA’s members were in the nation’s capital for an organizational board meeting, as well as meetings with lawmakers on Capitol Hill. Several met with White House and other Administration officials during a Tribal Finance Summit on Wednesday, which explored challenges and opportunities related to finance in Indian Country. NAFSA also hosted a reception for new members of the organization at its offices just north of the U.S. Capitol. NAFSA represents tribally-owned online installment lenders – a $2 billion industry responsible for significant investments in tribal employment and community infrastructure.
“NAFSA is growing in strength and stature, both of which were on display this week as we gathered in Washington, DC,” said Gary Davis, Executive Director of NAFSA. “Whether it’s how tribal lenders are serving the underbanked or the increased employment and community investment created by tribal lending entities, NAFSA’s members tell our industry’s incredible story best. We will continue to advocate for a robust tribal presence in the financial services sector.”
On Wednesday, several NAFSA members attended a Tribal Finance Summit at the White House with representatives from Treasury, the Small Business Administration, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and other agencies. NAFSA members shared their successes, as well as regulatory challenges, with members of the Trump Administration and other tribal leaders from across the country. The Administration held the meeting to examine all issues related to tribal finance and access to capital in Indian Country.
On Thursday, NAFSA met with Members and staff in the House and Senate who work on financial services and Native affairs issues, including Markwayne Mullin (OK) – Chair of President Trump’s Native American Coalition and an enrolled member of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, Frank Lucas (OK), and Greg Gianforte (MT). NAFSA also hosted a reception for its new members at its office in the Hall of States Building just north of the Capitol, where they heard remarks from Scott Tipton (CO) of the House Financial Services Committee.
In addition to their many success stories, NAFSA members also discussed policy concerns. High among these is the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) treatment of online tribal lenders. Ignoring the “co-regulatory” spirit envisioned by the Dodd-Frank Act, the CFPB has exerted authority over and cracked down on tribal lenders, ignoring tribal sovereignty in the process. NAFSA has also closely followed the Financial CHOICE Act, which has passed out of the U.S. House of Representatives. The Financial CHOICE Act would roll back or modify many financial reforms created in the Dodd-Frank Act.
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