This is great news. The tribes using the sovereign nation model and the offshore based Lenders will get fat on the U.S. consumers denied another choice in solving their financial challenges. Demand for small-dollar loans will not cease; supply will simply be limited. Increases in loan fees and consumer abuse would be the only outcome. All transactions will occur via the Internet.

Big brother at work again. Dictating how we live. This is not Iran or North Korea.

This legislation has zero chance of passing. It’s simply more PR for the Dem’s.

The consumers who actually use these products are not crying out for relief. Even the largest publicly traded Lenders report less than a 1% complaint frequency. This is documented in the 10K conference call any consumer activist can listen-in on if they’re willing to do the “real” work.

Embrace technology and competition to protect and deliver cheaper products to borrowers the world over. Jer – Trihouse (Yes, I’m biased!)

Here’s a link to the Piece. What do YOU think? Leave a comment with a goofy email address :o)



What Keeps You Up at Night?

The CFPB? That State AG’s are after you? Is it the Legislators regulating you out of business? Where do all these issues start from? Consumer complaints. Does every loan you make turn into a complaint? No, complaints only come from consumers who don’t repay the loan on time.

I’m a bill collector. I’ve been doing this for a while too. Started collecting department store checks in Christmas of 1980 – 32 years as a collector, lender, debt buyer, and 17 of those operating the squeaky cleanest collection agency ever.

Guest Post by Steve Hodgdon . Help? Explore? Email Steve!

Short of just forgiving every loan, you’re going to have use some kind of collection method. Pick your poison, outsourcing, calling yourself or selling the accounts to recoup some losses. You’ve already learned they all have their negatives.

Silent Collections

About 3 years after buying my first agency, I had a breakthrough. Not a breakdown, a breakthrough, an epiphany. Clients viewed me as a necessary evil. I was “Guido”, the enforcer, the bad guy. They always took the debtor’s side, even though it was their money! How dare they! So, I turned my techniques upside down. Being a collector is being a salesman. Nothing more. It’s my job to sell you, the borrower, on the benefits of paying your bill. So, here’s your first take away:

  • The money is in the first call. First contact is the best contact. Take your time and “close the sale”.
  • EVERYBODY wants to be heard. Building empathy and recognizing you’re talking to another human being with the same kinds of problems you’ve faced will pay off for both of you. Don’t sympathize; just make sure they know you LISTENED.
  • What’s in it for them? We’re all motivated this way. Why should they pay you? What do you have to give them in return? Every collector should have a positive and negative list to work from.

I promised my agency clients that there would be no complaints – PERIOD. I worked for charity hospitals in some of the toughest, poverty stricken areas. You and I were neighbors! The same consumer who borrowed money from you paid me first. No doubt about it. How? Here’s your 2nd takeaway:

  • My collectors LOVED their job. Careful hiring and lots of hand holding for new hires. We were practically a cult. Folks would leave for greener pastures and come right back.
  • We built a team. We all had each others’ backs. They knew they could count on me.
  • There were achievable goals, public recognition, and contests all the time.
  • Commission Commission Commission. Pay them and they’ll stay.

You should check under the hood… BEFORE the CFPB does!

The regulatory mood is, and always will be, pro-consumer. Look at the FTC settlements over the past year. If AMEX settles for $85 million among many others, seems likely that the door is wide open for more actions.

State regulators and consumer attorneys take their lead from the CFPB and FTC. Federal sanctions play really well in State courts. There’s no need to fear the CFPB if you’re doing things right. You can stop living on the edge and sleep better with some simple steps. Takeaway #3:

  • Google your agency partners.. Do they dominate the debtor boards?
  • Conduct a mini audit. Internally and externally. Listen to 10 calls on paying accounts to start. What, you can’t listen to call recordings? No time? I’ll audit for you.
  • Go to It’s a great database of FDCPA lawsuits. Search your vendors. I scrub every portfolio I buy through this to identify known litigious debtors.
  • Add a layer of protection. Update your 3rd party contracts to include TCPA, GLB, and PCI compliance for starters.
  • Is your complaint resolution process geared toward getting customers back or collecting money? Ask me how client satisfaction leads to better collections, for free!

Ask yourself this – Would you let the agency call customers in YOUR NAME? Do they present your values? Could what they say to a customer be said in person? Is the collector hiding behind an alias, at an untraceable number, with no published address?

Doesn’t Anybody Like Us?

Reputation management can be more than damage control. Remember, CFPB’s view is that you are liable for bad acts performed by agencies. Let’s get ahead of the regulators.

If all your practices treat consumers as YOUR CUSTOMERS, even if they didn’t pay, all these problems go away. I know from personal experience you can generate thank you letters from consumers and improve liquidity at the same time.

Caveat Venditor – “Seller Beware”

Debt buyers should be vetted through the steps above and more. It’s the Wild, Wild West out there. You want to know what happens to your customer post sale. Liability and reputation damage continue forever.

The difference in price between an ethical, insured, licensed buyer and a cowboy is zero. Market price is market price. Choose buyers you’d let coach your kids soccer team.

You can improve your valuation by documenting and adhering to good underwriting rules. As a buyer of payday loans, my hot buttons are frauds and excessive rollovers. Three reference numbers will boost your valuation 10%.

If you do a good job underwriting then the charge-offs will perform better. That leads to a good reputation in the buyer community and a higher price for you. When we take your product to market, telling the story of your excellent verification procedures adds value.

All good buyers want good sellers. Our investors are spending $10,000 to $1,000,000 for good portfolios. We analyze data and get competitive bids in days, not weeks

I personally oversaw agency management of 500,000 payday loans in 2012. Nothing is better than an “in the trenches” knowledge of the consumer, the lender, and the regulatory landscape.

Putting It All Together – Revenue Cycle Management

  • Tune up internal practices. Are you the best payday shop to work at in your market? Let’s start the party!

Examine value add of 1st party outsourcing. Can it be better, faster, cheaper and not degrade your selling value?

  • Set a high bar for agency and buyer qualification. Do business with the best.
  • And, of course, use an experienced guide to get you home safe and sound. In 30+ years, I’ve seen and done everything in the A/R spectrum. Knowing where to look for problems gets you to the solution faster.

Fluff up that pillow and worry about something else.

Need help with your collections? Advice? Counsel? Shoot an email to Steve Hodgdon

What do YOU think? Leave a comment! What’s YOUR biggest challenge TODAY? What does your Team need help with?



Tribe-Payday-Loan- Industry-and-Scott-Tucker-Part-2


We promised our Trihouse readers a follow-up to the Tribe-Scott Tucker Part 1 piece we Posted last week. The “sovereign nation” model offering payday loans, car title lending and a multitude of other custom-built consumer loan solutions is gaining traction RAPIDLY. Faced with a multitude of complex state consumer finance laws and the new CFPB, lenders are scrambling to employ creative business models to meet the borrowing demands of millions of consumers while offering loan products that are fair and competitive.

Tribe Payday Loan Business-Part 2:
From: Miami Tribe of Oklahoma
P.O.Box 1326-Miami, Oklahoma 74655

To: Mr. Armen Keteyian, Chief Investigative Correspondent
Ms. Laura Strickler, Producer
CBS News Investigative Unit
524 W. 57th Street, New York, New York 10019-2985

Dear Mr. Keteyian and Ms. Strickler:

I am writing to request the opportunity to comment on the correspondence you directed to Scott Tucker. Mr. Tucker is an employee of  MG Services, Inc. (“AMG”), a tribal corporation chartered pursuant to the laws of, and wholly owned by, the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma. Scott has been a close friend of the Miami Tribe for quite some time.

To protect the Miami Tribe’s proprietary business interests, which, as you know, are the subject of civil litigation, Mr. Tucker is bound by a confidentiality agreement and may not speak about the Miami Tribe’s online lending business. As a result, I am writing to you today to help you and your viewers better understand the context of how this 100% tribally owned and operated business plays a pivotal role in advancing the economic development and needs of our sovereign nation and its people.

Despite being expressly recognized by the Federal government as a sovereign, like many American Indian tribes, the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma was forcibly removed from its ancestral homeland and ultimately relocated to a remote and desolate area inside of Indian Territory—one that also happens to be in the center of one of the nation’s largest unmitigated environmental disasters.

This territorial isolation, combined with the fact that we have historically never had access to traditional forms of capital, has for far too long stifled development and investment in Indian country—almost ensuring tribal economic development can never provide a sustainable tax base from which we can provide basic governmental services for our people. Not surprisingly, in the face of these many obstacles, the Miami Tribe has struggled for decades to fulfill its duty to develop businesses and industries as part of a diverse economy that can provide jobs, housing, education, infrastructure, health care, and other vital services for our members.

Accordingly, and like many proud and successful American Indian tribes, the Miami Tribe has always had to be resourceful and innovative in our pursuit of economic  endeavors in order to survive. The advent of e-commerce in the early 2000s provided American Indian tribes with the perfect opportunity to develop creative and new economic enterprises that were not constrained by the remoteness of our reservations. As one of many industries developed by American Indian tribes, online tribal lending is a legal enterprise that, I am very proud to say, provides one of several pathways to a brighter economic future for the almost 3,500 members of our tribe.

As you may not be aware, as a Federally recognized American Indian Tribe, the Miami Tribe has the sovereign right to promulgate laws governing all activities within the Tribe’s jurisdiction, including the activities of persons who do business with the Tribe and its subdivisions. This sovereign right is no different than South Dakota passing favorable laws in order to attract Citigroup and the like to set up niche industries within its jurisdiction.

Just like all of the credit card companies in South Dakota that are subject to the laws of South Dakota, the online tribal lending activities of the Miami Tribe’s wholly-owned lender, Miami Nation Enterprises (“MNE”), and our wholly owned shared services provider company, AMG, are strictly regulated by the laws of the Miami Tribe, as well as the laws the United States. And just like other providers of ?nancial products, the Miami Tribe’s online tribal lending business provides a vital service to many Americans who would otherwise be without access to short—term financial assistance. For many of our customers, the alternative to an online loan would be, at best, simply writing a bad check, or, at worst, the prospect of bankruptcy and the loss of their home, or worse yet, pressure toward more desperate and unproductive behaviors.

For several reasons, we believe that online tribal lending, as regulated by sovereign tribal law and subject to federal law, is the safest way for consumers to obtain small personal loans:

  • We are fully regulated by our sovereign laws;
  • We are fully compliant with all federal laws;
  • We offer impartial arbitration for any conflict resolution;
  • Our uniform rules and regulations are the same across the country, as compared to the conflicting and confusing rules promulgated by the various states, some of which regulate lending, others of which do not; and
  • We categorically abhor and do not participate in the unethical scams that are now creeping onto the Internet by off-shore criminals, trying to collect on unauthorized or non—existent loans, stealing personal information, and the like. Furthermore, we work closely with state and federal law enforcement agencies in trying to prevent and end these scams.
  • Any lender will attest that complaints are not out of the ordinary when individuals fail to honor their financial obligations. In our case, we have a strict policy that all complaints are handled appropriately and without any harassment. We recognize that consumers have many options for obtaining personal loans, and we compete for their business by upholding high standards in service, processing, performance, and access. Our successful performance in a competitive market proves that customers value our service and the level of customer service we provide.

    As you might expect, the Miami Tribe’s online lending business handles confidential financial information for a significant number of Americans. These individuals rightfully expect that their confidential personal financial information will be strictly maintained in a confidential and protected manner. Indeed, to use your words, the Miami Tribe’s online lending business is required by federal law to keep such information “hush hush” and “secretive.” Accordingly, strict rules control our operations and, more often than we’d like, these rigorous rules require termination of employees who don’t uphold our standards. I can assure you both, however, that no one has ever been fired for asking questions. We therefore assume that the vague allegations that you say have been raised by former employees were from individuals likely terminated for other reasons, or were perhaps received from those motivated by something far less than the truth.

    Ultimately, Mr. Keteyian and Ms. Strickler for centuries, the rights and privileges of American Indian tribes have been attacked and lessened by states and other governmental bureaucracies and their paternalistic attitudes, who, while always assuring us they were acting in our best interests, forcibly removed us to isolated, desolate–—and once again, in our instance, environmentally contaminated—regions of the country. And yet, to the extent our lands in Indian country have value, they cannot be collateralized to finance profitable business operations because the federal government holds legal title to such lands in trust.

    Because of these and other paternalistic restrictions, we have pro-actively determined that our most productive course is to reject the attitudes driving such restrictions and independently and fully develop our own tribal economy as a sovereign nation. It is undeniable that Congress has expressly and repeatedly urged this path of tribal economic development, and through tribal online lending, we are proudly fulfilling the federal policies encouraging tribal self-determination and self-sufficiency. In short, legal and regulated online tribal lending is one part of a diversified tribal economy that we are developing and operating to sustain and advance our sovereignty.

    I sincerely hope you will consider the perspectives I’ve raised in this letter and I invite you to more deeply explore the motivation, drive, skills, and potential of the many sovereign American Indian tribes who to this day continue their struggle to overcome barriers and prejudice that have been an obstacle for centuries—a reality that many Americans incorrectly assume is merely a relic of 18th Century history. If you are willing to consider more information and a deeper and a more accurate understanding of the Very-real, current-day issues that impact Native American tribes, we stand ready to assist you in doing so in any way that we can.

    In the meantime, we extend our thanks to you both for your consideration of a more balanced perspective. We appreciate your efforts to insure a thoughtful story on this complex issue.

    Very sincerely yours,
    Thomas E. Gamble, Chief,
    Miami Tribe of Oklahoma

    Since 1997, Trihouse Consulting has been offering consulting, lending, introductions, media reponse (WSJ, Bloomberg, NYT…) and vendor marketing support to anyone having an interest in the AFS (Alternative Financial Services) industry. Trihouse has sold over 4000+ “Payday Loan Bibles” followed closely by its “Auto Title Loan Business Startup.”

    Questions or comments? 702-208-6736


    Tribe Payday Loan Model Part 1 & Scott Tucker

    'Incredible Alcatraz (San Francisco)' photo (c) 2009, Dhilung Kirat - license: huge “Thank You” to Nick Sparagis for bringing this to our attention. Sign-up for his Blog Below!!

    Mr. Rick Sallinger
    KCNC-TV CBS4 News
    1044 Lincoln Street
    Denver CO 80203

    Dear Rick:

    Thank you for the opportunity to respond to your letter in advance of the story CBS4 News is preparing to broadcast.

    As already acknowledged in your letter, Mr. Tucker cannot respond to your inquiries regarding the 100% tribally owned businesses because he is bound by a confidentiality agreement. I hope this letter will endeavor to address certain questions and assist your reporting of this matter.

    Regrettably, the narrow focus of your questions about these tribal businesses suggests that CBS4 News already has pre-judged this matter and that your story already is complete. Still, you should be aware that Chief Tom Gamble of the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma, in response to questions from CBS News regarding the Miami Tribe’s online short-term lending business, provided a statement that is quite informative. For your convenience, I have enclosed a copy of Chief Gamble’s correspondence, which responded to similar inquiries by stating that:

    For several reasons, we believe that online tribal lending, as regulated by sovereign tribal law and subject to federal law, is the safest way for consumers to obtain small personal loans:

    • We are fully regulated by our sovereign laws;
    • We are fully compliant with all federal laws;
    • We offer impartial arbitration for any conflict resolution;
    • Our uniform rules and regulations are the same across the country, as compared to the conflicting and confusing rules promulgated by the various states, some of which regulate lending, others of which do not; and
    • We categorically abhor and do not participate in the unethical scams that are now creeping onto the Internet by off-shore criminals, trying to collect on unauthorized or non-existent loans, stealing personal information, and the like. Furthermore, we work closely with state and federal law enforcement agencies in trying to prevent and end these scams.

    I trust you have contacted tribal officials and officers with respect to questions regarding your story, but in any event, I have forwarded your correspondence to their legal counsel to ensure your story reflects all sides of this complex issue.

    Lastly, Mr. Tucker does feel the Colorado Attorney General’s Office has pursued him in a wrongful manner and multiple courts of law in both Colorado and Kansas have agreed. Indeed, these courts have soundly determined that the Colorado Attorney General’s Office has repeatedly acted outside the law.

    For instance, Denver District Court Judge Morris B. Hoffman harshly sanctioned Senior Assistant Attorney General Paul Chessin for his conduct in this matter, specifically for his lack of candor, and described Colorado’s Assistant Attorney General Mr. Chessin as “jurisdictionally tone deaf.” As a lawyer who represents the citizens of Colorado, Mr. Chessin should be specially attuned to the limited nature of our constitutional form of government, yet Judge Hoffman found such basic tenets of law were “disturbingly unimpressive” to Mr. Chessin.

    Additionally, a Kansas Judge ruled that the Colorado Attorney General’s Office improperly tried to enforce a void and wrongfully procured administrative subpoena. And just recently, another Denver District Court rejected the very same improper tactics employed by the Attorney General’s Office against Mr. Tucker in the case State ex rel. Suthers v. Tulips Investments, LLC, Case No. 10CV8265 (Den. Dist. Ct. Nov. 1, 2011) (granting motion to dismiss). That errors are rampant in the Colorado Attorney General’s proceedings is not a matter of personal opinion – it is unequivocally an issue of judicial notice.

    In closing, thank you again for giving Mr. Tucker advance notice of your story. We appreciate you considering the perspectives in this letter so as to ensure a factual and balanced story for your viewers.

    Timothy J. Muir, Esq.  NOTE:Part 2, response from the tribe coming tomorrow!  Jer -Trihouse Consulting

    Nick Sparagis Blog


    In Defense of Payday Loans – Reason TV

    This piece entitled, “In Defense of Payday Loans” is a little dated but still worth a look. Most payday loan operators are focused 100%  on running their lending businesses so we have little time left for developing Youtube videos, writing letters to the editor of our local papers, etc. And regarding customer testimonials, few of our clients are willing to come forward because of their embarrassment at having to use our product.  The reality is there are few complaints by anyone other than our competitors (banks, credit unions, credit card companies, pawn shop owners, rent-a-center (RAC) operators…) and the so-called consumer advocates who haven’t a clue.