WASHINGTON, July 17, 2012 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ — Native American Financial Services Association (NAFSA) Offers Transparent and Straightforward Guidelines to Protect Consumers and Sovereignty
Less than one month after its formation, the Native American Financial Services Association (NAFSA) has approved and implemented a strict set of Best Practices that will protect both consumers as well as the tribal lenders’ sovereignty. Given their unique status as sovereign governments within the United States, it is incumbent on tribes to implement self-regulatory initiatives for many of their private business endeavors.
“Our heritage and traditions foster constructive dialogue and consensus building between our tribal leaders,” said Barry Brandon, Executive Director of NAFSA. “These regulations are too important to our members as well as our consumers, and could not wait for two years to be implemented. This is why self-regulation works in Indian country.”
The Best Practices that have been implemented for NAFSA are requirements that all members must meet in order to be certified by the organization. Each of the regulations has been drafted to ensure transparency, so that all consumers make informed decisions when choosing financial products. Additionally, these Practices are designed to preserve and protect the sovereignty of each member tribe. NAFSA’s Best Practices meet or exceed federal guidelines for businesses that offer similar financial services products. Over the coming weeks, NAFSA will be implementing compliance and enforcement mechanisms for each of these Best Practices.
NAFSA Best Practices are separated into two categories. The first set of regulations ensures consumer protections and transparency in lending. The second tier of standards addresses operational guidelines that will preserve the sovereignty and integrity of the financial services provider.
Recent evidence has shown that the American public both supports and demands the financial services products being offered by NAFSA members. Recent surveys indicated that nearly one-third of Americans are considered “underbanked” and are utilizing alternative financial products, due to lending restrictions by banks. Further, public opinion polls in the United States consistently show that over 90% of the public supports Native American sovereign rights.
“Consumers are tired of hidden fees and fine print, which generate billions of dollars for Wall Street banks each year,” said Bruce Sunchild, Chairman of both NAFSA and the Chippewa Cree Tribe. “As tribal leaders, we have created NAFSA’s Best Practices which mandate that all member organizations must be straightforward with the consumer.”
The Native American Financial Services Association (NAFSA) formed in 2012 to advocate for Native American sovereign rights and enable tribes to offer responsible online lending products. Through the protection of consumer rights and sovereign immunity, NAFSA provides vital services to tribally operated lenders serving the underbanked with better short term financial services, furthering economic development opportunities in Indian Country.
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SOURCE Native American Financial Services Association (NAFSA)