Published October 14, 2016
RED ROCK, OKLAHOMA – On Thursday, October 13, 2016, the Otoe-Missouria Tribe of Indians announced they have completed the acquisition of MacFarlane Group, portfolio managers to the online consumer lending space.
“This is a milestone acquisition in our economic portfolio as we work to diversify our revenue streams and internalize our businesses,” Otoe-Missouria Chairman John Shotton says. “This transaction clearly demonstrates the tribe’s commitment to self-governance, entrepreneurial growth and economic independence.”
As an isolated tribe located in rural Oklahoma, tribal leadership has had to look to non-traditional sources of revenue to provide necessary services to its tribal members. Online lending has become a vital part of the economic independence of the Otoe-Missouria Tribe. By bringing the operations of MacFarlane Group in-house, the tribe will be able to further increase the profitability of their online lending businesses.
“Our acquisition of MacFarlane Group brings additional revenue to our tribe, which will be used to augment our health, education, and social programs, as well as needed infrastructure improvements that benefit members of the Otoe-Missouria Tribe and the surrounding community,” Shotton says.
MacFarlane Group has been a partner to the Tribe’s American Web Loan lending portfolio for the last six years, providing support services to the tribe’s fast-growing online lending businesses.
“Until now our lending brands, which include American Web Loan, have leveraged the expertise of experienced third parties for key functions such as software development, marketing, and call center support. Today’s historic acquisition brings these critical functions in-house, ensuring that we can continue to provide industry-leading short term online credit products to the millions of consumers who need them,” Shotton says.
According to Dr. Kate Spilde, an expert in tribal economic development and casino operations and Chair of the Sycuan Institute on Tribal Gaming at San Diego State University, acquisitions of this type are a crucial step in tribes’ economic development initiatives.
“In the earliest phases of developing new government-owned businesses, it is not uncommon for tribal councils to combine their strategic advantages with the knowledge and expertise of the private sector, in order to build best-in-class startups that become profitable and mature very quickly. As tribes become familiar with business operations, they bring services in-house through organic growth or, in cases such as the Otoe-Missouria, strategic vendor acquisitions. This is an exciting and innovative model that has benefited tribes for decades in industries ranging from hospitality to gaming to natural resources, and now, e-commerce.”