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TUNICA-BILOXI TRIBE ESTABLISHES A NEW COMMISSION TO REGULATE TRIBAL LENDING

Regulatory Commission Created to Ensure Consumer Protection in Tribal Lending

 

LAS VEGAS, NV – March 23, 2016 – The Tunica-Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana today announced the formation of the Tribal Regulatory Commission for Consumer Lending at the 30th Anniversary of the National Center for Indian Economic Development. The Commission will protect consumers and regulate the tribe's lending entities. The Commission, which was established as an independent regulatory body of the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana, will promote tribal sovereignty while protecting consumers from predatory lending practices and ensuring proper regulation for tribal businesses offering these services.

"We saw the need for a regulatory commission in order to oversee our lending enterprises," said Joey Barbry, Chairman of the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe. "Lending, like gaming, must be highly regulated. We wanted to challenge ourselves to create a better lending product and change the tribal online lending industry in a meaningful way."

Currently, close to 20 tribes offer some sort of lending product that helps fund basic tribal government operations ranging from cultural preservation to workforce development and education programs. The Commission will operate as an independent agency working with the Tunica-Biloxi tribe who is seeking a robust commission to regulate their lending products.

"Consumer protection is everyone's job. The tribal lending industry needs to be highly regulated in the same way as the gaming industry," said Marshall Ray Sampson, Vice-Chairman of the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe. "The Commission will allow Tunica-Biloxi to demonstrate their commitment to protect consumers while offering vital lending products and services to those who need access to credit."

The key focus of the Tunica-Biloxi Lending Code, and the central job of the Commission, is to ensure that lending products are in full compliance with all tribal and federal laws. Through the leadership of the Tribal Council, the Commission was created as an arm of the tribal government, which can issue licenses, conduct audits, and conduct investigations in the same manner as federal regulatory agencies. By working with the Tribal Council, and the regulated tribal businesses, the Commission will provide an enhanced level of regulatory oversight and accountability that will protect consumers and help protect the long term stability of the tribal lending industry.

About Tunica-Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana

The Tunica-Biloxi Tribe is a federally recognized Indian tribe that has lived in the vicinity of what is now Marksville, Louisiana for centuries. The Tribe's history stretches back before the earliest European exploration of the area that would become Louisiana.

Currently, there are about 1,146 enrolled members of the Tribe, many of whom live on or near the tribe's reservation in central Louisiana. The Tribe provides educational, health, and other social services to many, if not all, of these members. The funding for these services comes from a variety of sources, but the Tribe is heavily dependent upon revenue from certain business enterprises that operate as a vital and integral part of the Tribe and tribal government.

About Inaugural Members of the Commission

Samuel Pearson "Terry" Goddard

Mr. Goddard is an accomplished executive, attorney and elected official with extensive experience in civil and criminal litigation, including the areas of consumer protection, anti-money laundering, privacy and information security, mortgage related fraud, and investor protection. Mr. Goddard has served in many notable positions including two consecutive four-year terms as the Attorney General for the State of Arizona and four consecutive terms as the Mayor of Phoenix.

Brendan V. Johnson

Mr. Johnson is an experienced litigator working with tribal governments on civil, criminal and regulatory matters. Mr. Johnson formerly served as the United States Attorney for the District of South Dakota. In his service as the chief federal law enforcement official in a state with nine tribal nations, Mr. Johnson worked extensively with tribal governments and excelled at finding creative solutions to seemingly intractable problems. He was also selected by United States Attorney General Eric Holder to Chair the Department of Justice's Native American Issues Subcommittee and to serve on the Attorney General's Advisory Committee.

Tracie L. Stevens

Ms. Stevens (Tulalip Tribes) is a senior leadership executive with over 20 years of demonstrated management experience in public agencies, government relations, and tribal and federal regulation. Ms. Stevens built a reputation throughout her career as being able to facilitate change, create shared vision, manage diverse stakeholder groups, and successfully advocate at the local, state, and federal levels. Ms. Stevens was appointed as the Chairwoman of the National Indian Gaming Commission from 2010-2013 where she was responsible for the civil regulatory oversight of the $27 billion Indian gaming industry.

 

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