Tribal lenders face off against CFPB
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is suing four online lenders affiliated with a Native American tribe while another case appears headed towards the Supreme Court.
Meanwhile, there’s speculation about how long the bureau’s leader will keep his post.
The CFPB lawsuit alleges the four lending entities have violated federal consumer protection laws by requiring borrowers to pay exorbitant interest rates, beginning at 440 percent across 17 states.
The online lending groups involved in the suit are Golden Valley Lending, Silver Cloud Financial and two organizations owned by the Habematolel Pomo of Upper Lake tribe, Mountain Summit Financial and Majestic Lake Financial. It is alleged that the four lending firms run deceptive and predatory practices, according to Richard Cordray director of the CFPB.
“We allege that these companies made deceptive demands and illegally took money from people’s bank accounts,” Cordray said in a statement. “We are seeking to stop these violations and get relief for consumers.”
In the suit, the bureau claims that Golden Valley and Silver Cloud gave online loans, from $300 to $1,200, with annual interest rates upwards to 950 percent.
Lori Alvino McGill, an attorney for the lenders, stated in an email to the Los Angeles Times that the groups will fight back and that the suit is a violation of tribal sovereignty.
An April article on the Buzzfeed news site says previous legal action involving three tribes and the CFPB could end up in the Supreme Court where new conservative justice Neil Gorsuch could play a key role in any ruling. A Michigan State University professor said Gorsuch appears to have more experience in Indian law cases than the other justices on the court.
The CFPB is controversial among many conservatives who are concerned about its reach and lack of oversight.
An April MSNBC article says there is conjecture that instead of dismissing Cordray before his five-year appointment ends, President Donald Trump may be waiting for Cordray to step down from the agency and run for governor of Ohio.
Ponca Tribe Acquired Homestead Trail
The Ponca Tribe of Nebraska purchased a nearly 20-mile trail, which the tribe calls the “Ponca Trail of Tears.” Spanning from Beatrice to Barneston, the Ponca tribe renamed it Chief Standing Bear Trail. The tribe acquired the land, which was taken from them nearly 140 years ago, from the Nebraska Trails Foundation.
Cherokee Nation Files Suit
In a battle against the rampant opioid abuse epidemic, the Cherokee Nation slammed major pharmaceutical retailers, Wal-Mart and Walgreens, and drug distributors with a lawsuit. The complaint alleges that the businesses have failed to stop the occurrence of illegal opioid prescriptions in Oklahoma, which the alleged negligence led to the epidemic of use and abuse in the tribe at an alarming rate.
Twin Arrows Navajo Casino Resort Turns Four
Navajo Nation’s only resort commemorated its fourth year in May, following four years of strong fiscal returns and business relationships. The AAA Four Diamond casino and resort showcases the artworks of commissioned Navajo artists, worth more than $500,000. The casino features more than 1,000 slot machines, table games and bingo. A five-story hotel with 200 rooms accommodates guests, which is equipped with a heated indoor pool, an arcade, five restaurants and a 16,000-square-foot banquet and conference center.
People on the Move
Navajo Nation’s President Russell Begaye and Vice President Jonathan Nez honored Paulene Thomas on her new role as executive director with the Navajo Gaming Regulatory Office. This office is responsible for regulating and ensuring gaming integrity and standards on the Navajo Nation.
“We congratulate Director Thomas on her confirmation to serve as the Executive Director of the Navajo Gaming Regulatory Office. Director Thomas will be responsible for regulating all four casinos located on the Navajo Nation,” President Begaye said. “We are glad to have qualified Navajo people work to improve and provide efficient services for the Navajo Nation.”
The confirmation for this new appointment was conducted by the Navajo Nation Council by a vote of 14-1.
“I am appreciative of my confirmation, I want to thank President Begaye and Vice President Nez for their confidence in me and the Navajo Nation Council in confirming that. I enjoy the job, the staff and the challenges,” Thomas said. “The goal of NGRO is to make it better and continue to protect the assets of the Navajo Nation, as well as the integrity of the games we offer at the casinos.”
Director Thomas served as the Interim Executive Director since June of 2014, she was also the Deputy Executive Director from April 2012 to June of 2014.
Appeals court approves $380 million payout
A federal appeals court in Washington, D.C., approved distributing $380 million from a loan discrimination case involving Native American farmers. Paying 5,000 claimants $21,275 each and $300 million to Native American groups would conclude the $680 million settlement of
a 1999 lawsuit.