Tag: tribe payday loans


More Great News for Borrowers: 4th Circuit Finds Lenders Entitled to Tribal Sovereign Immunity

For those of us who champion the rights of consumers and borrowers to have the right to choose financial products that are best for meeting their personal money challenges, the Fourth Circuit of Appeals just came through for them!

Native American Indian Tribes, servicers and vendors are considered to be “arms of the tribe” when properly constructed collaborations are implemented and are entitled to sovereign immunity.

This is a huge win for consumers, lenders, vendors and payment processors!

Per the Press Release by Weider, Brodsky & Kidder PC:

A panel for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit recently found that two lending entities affiliated with the Lac Vieux Desert Band of the Lake Superior Chippewa Indians (the Tribe) are entitled to tribal sovereign immunity as “arms of the tribe”.  The panel then ordered the dismissal of an underlying putative class action brought by five Virginia residents who claimed the payday loans they obtained online from the tribe-affiliated lenders violated state usury laws.  The panel’s decision reverses that of the district court, which held that the affiliated lenders failed to sufficiently prove they were “arms of the tribe” and thus were subject to the court’s jurisdiction.

One of the lending entities, Big Picture, was formed by the Tribe in 2014 to consolidate the Tribe’s lending activities, and in 2015, the Tribe formed Ascension as a subsidiary to support its lending activities by providing marketing, technological, and vendor services.  The appellees, Virginia residents, initiated a class action in federal court in 2015 in which they alleged that the payday loans they received from Big Picture came with interest rates fifty times higher than the legal limit in Virginia.  The lending entities moved to dismiss the case for lack of subject matter jurisdiction on the basis of tribal sovereign immunity, but the district court denied their motion, asserting that the appellants’ claim of immunity was unsupported by the evidence they provided.

In reaching its conclusion, the district court applied an “arm-of-the-tribe” analysis, which is used to determine whether tribal immunity may apply when a tribe-created entity engages in commercial activity.  The “arm-of-the-tribe analysis” typically involves consideration of the following factors: “(1) the method of the entities’ creation; (2) their purpose; (3) their… [Read More Below…

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Tribe Payday Loans & Arbitration Agreements

It’s been legally established that federally recognized Native American Indian Tribes funding payday loans are entitled to their own laws and legal systems and generally don’t necessarily have to follow state or even federal laws. [There are exceptions such as TILA…]

The payday loan lender Cheyenne River Sioux stipulate in their loan contract:

“According to the contract, any dispute connected to loan collection would have to be submitted to an arbitration conducted by the tribe or an authorized representative in accordance with the tribe’s consumer dispute rules.”  Another provision said that, “At the borrower’s choice, the American Arbitration Association or Judicial Arbitration and Mediation Services could administer the arbitration.”

However, some courts have determined that the Cheyenne River Sioux did not create, nor employ, a consumer arbitration process nor have anyone assigned to perform these arbitrations.


Fourth District Judge Harvie Wilkinson reversed a previous court’s decision regarding Western Sky and Martin Webb. Payday loan lenders DO NOT WANT TO BE SUED in a class action. Typically, payday loan lenders insist payday loan borrowers to sign a contract that basically states they can’t bring one. Over the years, the Supreme Court has upheld such clauses. Legal opinions recognize that this agreement can result in “effectively vindicating” federal rights. So long as some remedy exists for a borrower, the courts have upheld this view.

Per Wilkinson’s, it would appear that any contract that rejects the application of federal law can’t be enforced. I take this to mean this decision maylikely reduce federally recognized Native Amenrican Indian tribes’ sovereignty rights.

We shall see. Here’s a link to the Court’s decision: Martin Webb-Delbert Services-Western Sky


Tribe Business Enterprise Payday Loan Legal Update

If you have a serious interest in the tribe sovereign nation lending model, READ THESE. There are two. Dig deep and you’ll be rewarded!

“With over one quarter of American Indians living in poverty, nearly twice the national average, it has never been more important to promote confidence in the American Indian economy this confidence is threatened when courts do not give full force and effect to contracting parties’ desire to resolve their private disputes using tribal courts and tribal law.”


The Decision will have disastrous consequences for Indian Country businesses and their ability to engage in off-reservation electronic commerce, whether the business is tribally owned or owned by an individual tribal member, in contravention of well-established Congressional policy and Supreme Court jurisprudence supporting tribal economic development.


“Amici argue that the Panel’s decision, particularly the Panel’s new requirement that a non-Indian must enter the reservation in order for a tribal court to have jurisdiction or for tribal law to apply, will decimate opportunities for tribal electronic commerce.

Amici also argue that the Decision will contravene well established Congressional policy and Supreme Court jurisprudence supporting tribal economic development, as well as international law requirements prohibiting discrimination against indigenous peoples.


The ability of tribes and tribal members to engage in electronic commerce on equal footing with their off-reservation counterparts is critical to tribal economic development in the modern era.

Amici are gravely concerned that the Decision fundamentally mischaracterizes the scope of tribal court jurisdiction over non-member activity and therefore requests either (1) that this Panel withdraw its decision and affirm the judgment of the district court, or (2) that the Court review this matter en banc. American Indian economic development whether driven by tribally owned…Read the remaining Argument at the Original Source:

First & Second

How to Start a Payday Loan Business Manual


Payday Loans:California Upholds Doctrine of Tribal Sovereign Immunity

California Court of Appeals:

Applying the arm-of-the-tribe analysis as we directed in Ameriloan v. Superior Court (2008) 169 Cal.App.4th 81 (Ameriloan), the trial court dismissed for lack of subject matter jurisdiction this action by the Commissioner of the California Department of Corporations against five “payday loan” businesses owned by Miami Nation Enterprises (MNE), the economic development authority of the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma, a federally recognized Indian tribe, and SFS, Inc., a corporation wholly owned by the Santee Sioux Nation, also a federally recognized Indian tribe. Because the two tribal entities and their cash-advance and short-term-loan businesses are sufficiently related to their respective Indian tribes to be protected from this state enforcement action under the doctrine of tribal sovereign immunity, we affirm.

(NEED A TRIBE ACH PROVIDER? We have access. Request a contact. Inquiries held in STRICTEST confidence.)

In the end, tribal immunity does not depend on our evaluation of the respectability or ethics of the business in which a tribe or tribal entity elects to engage. Absent an extraordinary set of circumstances not present here, a tribal entity functions as an arm of the tribe if it has been formed by tribal resolution and according to tribal law, for the stated purpose of tribal economic development and with the clearly expressed intent by the sovereign tribe to convey its immunity to that entity, and has a governing structure both appointed by and ultimately overseen by the tribe. Such a tribal entity is immune from suit absent express waiver or congressional authorization. Neither third-party management of day-to-day operations nor retention of only a minimal percentage of the profits from the enterprise (however that may be defined) justifies judicial negation of that inherent element of tribal sovereignty.

The judgment is affirmed. MNE and SFS are to recover their costs on appeal.
We concur:

Read the Decision in it’s entirety here: Calif-Tribe-Doctrine-Upheld


Minnesota AG Attacks CashCall and Rent-a-Tribe Payday Loan Model

The Minnesota AG accuses CashCall and its subsidiaries, WS Funding and WS Financial, of operating while unlicensed, charging illegally high interest rates and unjust enrichment. The AG  also accuses them of fraudulently claiming loans are immune to Minnesota usury laws because Western Sky Financial –  the entity actually making these loans to Minnesota residents – is subject to tribal sovereign immunity because Western Sky  is owned by an America Indian tribe member (Butch Webb). The loans are  sold to CashCall and its subsidiaries.

For loans less than $350, Minnesota law caps the fees that may be charged on a sliding scale as follows: $5.50 for loans up to $50; 10 percent of the loan amount plus a $5 fee on loans between $50 and $100; 7 percent of the loan amount (minimum of $10) plus a $5 fee on loans between $100 and $250; and 6 percent of the loan amount (minimum of $17.50) plus a $5 fee on loans between $250 and $350.

Per legal counsel for CashCall, highly respected attorney Claudia Callaway, “While it would be inappropriate to comment on pending litigation, we look forward to correcting the record in this matter.”

Tribe owned eCommerce businesses have  evolved significantly in just the past 24 months.  Sophisticated collaborations between experts in sovereign nation law, capital formation and lending operators have blossomed. However, state attorneys general and the majority of the media, are still straining to comprehend the “tribe lending model” and continue to refer to all tribal owned Internet lenders as “rent-a-tribes.”  If you repeat a “theme” frequently enough, people will eventually believe it.

For more insight and analysis of the “tribe model,” visit:
1) Tribe Payday Loan Sovereign Nation Model

2) Minnesota AG Attacks Cash-Call Article