Native News Network Staff in Native Briefs. Discussion »
WASHINGTON 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 Native American Financial Services Association.
“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 Native American Financial Services Association 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. Native American Financial Services Association's Best Practices meet or exceed federal guidelines for businesses that offer similar financial services products. Over the coming weeks, Native American Financial Services Association will be implementing compliance and enforcement mechanisms for each of these Best Practices.
Native American Financial Services Association 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 Native American Financial Services Association members. Recent surveys indicated that nearly one-third of Americans are considered "under-banked" 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 percent of the public supports American Indians 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 Native American Financial Services Association and the Chippewa Cree Tribe.
“As tribal leaders, we have created Native American Financial Services Association's Best Practices which mandate that all member organizations must be straightforward with the consumer.”
posted July 18, 2012 6:50 am edt