Tribal Lending Litigation

We are pleased to share our annual review of regulatory and legal developments in the consumer financial services industry. With active federal and state legislatures, consumer financial services providers faced a challenging 2023. Courts across the country issued rulings that will have immediate and lasting impacts on the industry. Our team of more than 140 professionals has prepared this concise, yet thorough analysis of the most important issues and trends throughout our industry. We not only examined what happened in 2023, but also what to expect — and how to prepare — for the months ahead.

On June 29, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the Western District of Wisconsin’s decision that an entity created under tribal law was entitled to immunity as an arm of the tribe and dismissed claims characterized as personal capacity claims against individual employees of the tribal entity as being inherently asserted against the tribe itself (ruling available here). This ruling recognizes the important role that sovereign immunity plays in the structuring of economic ventures for tribal communities and demonstrates how a properly enacted tribal code can safeguard immunity protections.

In January, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians v. Coughlin after the First Circuit barred the Lac du Flambeau Band from seeking to collect on a $1,600 debt obligation to the tribe’s lending arm, Lendgreen, after the debtor filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

The Supreme

As discussed here, in 2016 the Central District of California granted judgment in favor of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) in its long-running challenge to CashCall, Inc.’s tribal-lending operation. Specifically, the court found that CashCall engaged in unfair, deceptive, and abusive acts or practices in violation of the Consumer Financial Protection Act (CFPA)

On March 15, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) submitted a report to Congress discussing its findings regarding the frauds, scams, and bad business practices that affect American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) communities and the FTC’s efforts to address these issues. Specifically, the FTC asserts that auto purchasing and financing, predatory lending, impersonation scams, tech

The Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians (Lac du Flambeau Band) found support from law professors specializing in federal Indian law as well as an assemblage of tribes and Native American groups in its bid before the U.S. Supreme Court to assert sovereign immunity from suit regarding alleged violations of the automatic