Who Will the CFPB Serve?
By Consumers Union on Tuesday, July 13th, 2010
First Nations Development Institute is a Native American operated nonprofit that strengthens Native economies throughout the United States. For 30 years, using a three-pronged strategy of Educating Grassroots Practitioners, Advocating for Systemic Change, and Capitalizing Indian Communities, First Nations has been working to restore Native American control and culturally-compatible stewardship of the assets they own – be they land, human potential, cultural heritage, or natural resources – and to establish new assets for ensuring the long-term vitality of Native communities. First Nations serves rural and reservation-based Native American communities throughout the United States.
Over the years, we have learned that by concentrating on building both individual and tribal community assets (financial, physical, natural, institutional, human capital, cultural, social, legal and political), we can build strong tribal/Native institutions and economies. By creating, retaining, utilizing, controlling, increasing, and leveraging assets, First Nations strives to support asset-based development that strengthens tribal sovereignty. As part of our mission, First Nations also educates the public on key legislative and policy issues in Native communities.
For example, our recent legislative update focused on the United States Senate officially passing H.R. 4173: Restoring American Financial Stability Act of 2010 on May 20, 2010. H.R. 4173 is a bill to promote the financial stability of the United States by improving accountability and transparency in the financial system, to protect the American taxpayer by ending bailouts, to protect consumers from abusive financial services practices, and for other necessary purposes.
The bill is designed to protect American consumers through the provision of a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). First Nations appreciated the bill provision to establish research units through the CFPB, which will allow the gathering of necessary data and information on the financial industry and place it in the hands of lawmakers.
Along with the Restoring American Financial Stability Act of 2010, organizations such as First Nations serve as advocates for Indian communities that are often exploited by the financial services industry.
At First Nations, we have conducted extensive research on predatory lending issues and how they impact Indian Country. Based on the research, results show that predatory lending is a growing problem for Indian people, who generally lack access to lending institutions for a variety of reasons. Based on the studies, First Nations has recommended that tribal nations act to combat predatory lending by:
- Providing financial and consumer education programs;
- Developing credit programs and borrowing opportunities that reduce the demand for predatory loans and help to repair credit; and
- Adopting interest rate caps and other consumer protection laws.
For more information about First Nations’ work on predatory lending, please click here. For more information about First Nations Development Institute and the people we serve, please go to www.firstnations.org.