The March 2 front-page article “Tribes’ bet on high-interest lending comes with uneasy feelings” omitted the fact that tribally owned businesses are regulated, geared toward customer satisfaction and take aggressive measures for consumer protection.
Under tribal law, the Tribal Financial Services Regulatory Authority (TFSRA), an independent body that went unmentioned in the story, regulates our business. We’re proud that 92 percent of our customers express satisfaction and would use our services again. Tribal law allows dissatisfied consumers to raise concerns with the business, the TFSRA and the constitutionally created Tribal Court — a dispute resolution process equivalent to that available in any state.
The article also highlighted a series of calculations, metrics and “worst case” scenarios. Those figures do not accurately reflect our customers’ experiences. Our tribal lending businesses offer options to meet the financial needs of consumers at a time when they need it most. With a median per person income of $51,559, our customers are equipped to manage their finances.
The article succeeded in capturing how tribal lending has helped our community survive, but it missed the part of the story about the consumers it serves and the robust regulatory environment in which it operates.
James Williams Jr., Watersmeet, Mich.
The writer is tribal chairman of the Lac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians.