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In some cases, you may be given the option of obtaining a loan from a tribal lender. Tribal lenders are subject to tribal and certain federal laws while being immune from state law including usury caps.
If you are connected to a tribal lender, please understand that the tribal lenders rates and fees may be higher than state-licensed lenders. Additionally, tribal lenders may require you to agree to resolve any disputes in a tribal jurisdiction.
You are urged to read and understand the terms of any loan offered by any lender, whether tribal or state-licensed, and to reject any particular loan offer that you cannot afford to repay or that includes terms that are not acceptable to you. The purpose of shorter duration loans is to provide the borrower temporary financial relief.
Such loans are not a long-term financial solution. Persons facing serious financial difficulties should consider other alternatives or should seek out professional financial advice.
Without admitting wrongdoing, the companies paid 21 million and forgave 285 million in loans and fees owed by borrowers. Pennsylvanias case differs from these previous challenges in that it attempts to sidestep the issue of tribal sovereignty, which is legally a federal matter (not to mention a cultural minefield).
Instead, by naming Think Finance and its related entities as defendants, Pennsylvania aims simply to prove that a conspiracy to evade the state's lending laws has taken place. Similarly, the Vermont case does not directly involve tribal sovereignty, but instead claims Plain Green has violated federal lending and consumer protection laws. Even with state licensing and new federal regulation, there may still be room for online lenders to exploit borrowers, the Center For Responsible Lending's Harnick warns.
But the outcome of these legal cases could put a significant dent in Think Finances ability to use Native American tribes as a regulatory shield -- not just in Pennsylvania and Vermont, but elsewhere as well. The tribal lending model seems to be failing, Bourke said, because on the one hand its not can you charge interest on a personal loan enough protection for consumers, and on the other hand courts are increasingly saying that it is not sufficient for lenders to only get a license in association with a Native American tribe.