Northern Plains Funding does most things well but they fail in one important area. The company has a problem in that they only allow $500 as a first time loan, and that's too small of an amount for a lot of people looking for a loan. Beyond that the company is fine, the interest rate is the same as so many other Native American lenders which is 30% per every 14 days the loan is outstanding.
The company does set itself apart by offering an installment loan format for their loans rather than the payday loan method. The firm doesn't refer to the product as an installment loan though, they call it the Fast Cash Flex-Pay Loans. It's a fancy way of saying it's an installment loan. When you check the example loan that Northern Plains shows on their website it displays an installment loan with a 30 pay period (60 weeks) time frame.
Normally, a company that offers an installment loan will get high marks here. Companies like Spotloan and Clear Creek Lending give installment loans, and I've given them good comments here in more than one review. But to give good reviews means that everything needs to be good and the loan amount is not good. On first glance Northern Plains Funding lists their loan amounts as $100 for the minimum and $1,000 for the maximum amount. The maximum amount is misleading, because for new customers the maximum amount they may borrow is only $500.
Since Northern Plains is a mostly unknown company that means by default that most of the people seeking loans from them will not have been prior customers. Advertising the $1,000 maximum rate really won't apply to the majority of applicants. This isn't actually deceptive because it only takes a little searching to find the fact that the maximum is $500 for a new customer.
If Northern Plains Lending was going to offer a payday loan then the $500 max would be more acceptable. But an installment loan should offer a greater amount for that long-term loan. The fact that the loan can be set-up for 60 weeks means that the total dollar amount should be higher, the minimum amount should be at least $1,500.
In the same vein, the minimum amounts should be increased. A company that is willing to arrange payments for over a year should not offer anything less than $300 and that amount is still too low. It's strange to think that there are actual customers of Northern Plains Lending that took out a $100 Fast Cash Flex-Pay Loan and took the full time allotted on the loan (60 weeks) to repay that low amount. It's just hard to imagine this loan being issued and the customer taking all that time for what should be considered a payday loan amount. $100 or $200 loans are better to be paid off much more quickly than the time for an installment loan.
The rates that are offered are standard for most tribal lenders. Finance charges of $30 for every $100 seems like too much (and it is in reality) but this expensive form of credit is the norm for the Native American lenders. Just as a funny aside, this firm tries to justify their expensive rates by comparing their charges versus insufficient funds charges that banks issue for bounced checks. This also compare themselves to traditional bank overdraft charges and late fees on utility bills. That technical comparison works if you assume that you will be getting new overdraft fees every single day the loan is outstanding, so you can ask yourself if the comparison is realistic or not.
Everything about Northern Plains is acceptable except for that maximum loan amount. The installment loan that only goes to $500, or even the $1,000 level for established customers, is just not enough to justify taking out this long-term loan. Before you work with Northern Plains Lending take a long look at Clear Creek Lending.