SOURCE: Native American Financial Services Association

Strategies 360

March 08, 2017 14:09 ET

NAFSA Executive Director Gary Davis Visits Capitol Hill

Davis meets with Members of Congress and staff to advocate for tribal lending, sovereignty

WASHINGTON, DC--(Marketwired - March 08, 2017) - Last week, Native American Financial Services Association (NAFSA) Executive Director Gary Davis was on Capitol Hill to meet with lawmakers and staff on key committees. Davis discussed the growing financial services industry and why federal law and regulation is holding it back. He met with members of the House Financial Services Committee, the Senate Banking Committee, Appropriators in both houses of Congress, and members deeply tied to Indian Country and Native American policy, including Representative Markwayne Mullin (R-OK), who was the head of President Trump's Native American Coalition, and Senator Steve Daines (R-MT), a member of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs.

"Our week on the Hill was incredibly productive, and one that I hope will lay the groundwork for strengthening tribally-owned financial services providers," said Davis. "Tribal financial services, and specifically online lending, are growing sectors in the e-commerce industry for our people, but one that remains largely untapped due to burdensome and undue government regulation, particularly on our sovereign tribes. Though there's still work to be done, we are making clear progress towards our goal of a robust presence for tribes and tribal entities in the financial services sector."

Among NAFSA's top concerns is the treatment of tribes and tribal entities under the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's (CFPB) civil investigative demands (CIDs) authority. Even though these entities have sovereign status, a federal court has ruled that tribes are subject to the CFPB's authority to issue CIDs. Congress would have to act to clarify tribes and tribal entities' status with respect to the CFPB.

The CFPB is under intense scrutiny from Congress as it seeks to unwind some of the burdens the office and its authorizing legislation, the Dodd-Frank Act, has created not just for tribal lending entities but for smaller and community financial institutions as well. Chairman of the Financial Services Committee Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) is expected to soon reintroduce the Financial CHOICE Act, which would rollback several Dodd-Frank provisions and curtail some of the authority the CFPB currently has. The legislation passed the House of Representatives in the last Congress and would represent a significant relaxation of regulations stifling further investment into Native American financial services.

"My recent conversations on Capitol Hill make it crystal clear there is broad support in Congress to ensure tribes are able to self-determine their future in the financial services sector and that tribal sovereignty should continue to be honored and upheld," continued Davis. "As is the case with so many important initiatives and issues in Indian Country, we have work to do in educating lawmakers and staff about the members of NAFSA, our work, and how current policies are impacting the economic livelihoods of our member tribes. Members of Congress working on these reforms should respect tribal sovereignty while also creating a fair and reasonable regulatory environment."

Davis and NAFSA members will continue to be a frequent presence on Capitol Hill and the Administration.

Formed in 2012, NAFSA is a 501(c)6 trade association located in Washington, D.C that advocates for tribal sovereignty, promotes responsible financial services, and provides better economic opportunity in Indian Country for the benefit of tribal communities.

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