NAFSA Continues to Advance Indian Country’s Economy, Sovereignty

Lac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians Chairman Jim Williams and NAFSA Executive Director Gary Davis at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House grounds.

NAFSA’s leadership and members meet with White House, CFPB, Congressional leaders

Published April 1, 2017

WASHINGTON – Leaders and members of the Native American Financial Services Association (NAFSA) were in Washington, DC this week to meet with high-ranking officials in the White House, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), and Congress. NAFSA continues to advocate for sovereignty and a robust tribal lending industry with officials from relevant agencies and committees. These priorities include necessary changes to the Dodd-Frank Act, and regulatory changes at the CFPB. This was NAFSA’s first White House meeting as a trade association, coming less than 70 days into the new Trump Administration.

“We are making progress and advancing the interests of tribally-owned financial services institutions,” NAFSA Executive Director Davis said. “NAFSA and its members have a great story to tell about creating economic opportunity on remote reservations while also providing a valuable service to hard-working Americans who need access to loans. Unfortunately, too many people don’t know the full and accurate story about our members. We are changing that perception – at both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue.”

NAFSA’s first trip to the White House (Eisenhower Executive Office Building) was to meet with high-level officials who work in economic policy. In addition, NAFSA met with additional members of the House Financial Services Committee and the Senate Banking Committee, including staff from Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling. NAFSA also met with Congressman Bennie Thompson (D-MS), who has long been a friend to Indian Country.

“NAFSA is pleased to open a dialogue with the White House, and continue to spread our message on Capitol Hill,” Davis continued. “But this is just the start – we will be ever-present in DC.”

Gary Davis with Congressman Bennie Thompson (D-MS), who has long been a friend to Indian Country.

NAFSA continues to have concerns about the CFPB’s treatment of tribally-owned lending enterprises, and the general regulatory burdens created by the Dodd-Frank Act. NAFSA is advocating for a legislative solution that would clarify that the CFPB does not have authority over tribal lenders. Despite these concerns, NAFSA’s members had a productive meeting with the CFPB as the agency seeks to differentiate installment lending, which NAFSA’s members offer, from so-called payday lending.

“While we are likely to continue to have serious disagreements with the CFPB, we appreciate the opportunity to open a constructive dialogue with the agency’s staff,” Davis said. “It is important that the CFPB understands what we do and the services we provide to the American people.”


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