So after reviewing and comparing over 100 tribal loan companies, the question was submitted recently which read "which of all the tribal lenders is the best?"
The answer is not an easy one, there are a few factors that go into loans. The first question is do you want a tribal installment loan or a payday loan? Most borrowers opt for the tribal installment loan product for a few reasons. With the installment loan you get a longer time to repay and you will almost certainly qualify for a larger loan than you would for an equivalent application for a payday loan.
The best way to pick the best tribal loan is to incorporate elements of the big three factors, which are interest rates, duration of loan, and loan amount.
The interest rate on a loan is nominally the most important component of the loan only because if for some reason the rate is astronomical then it invalidates any value that the money from the loan could provide. So the interest rate has to at least be in line with the standards of the day, which by the way are very high.
The second factor is the length of the loan. For me personally, this was always the first thing I looked at when I went to get a Native American loan. And this is also why I have personally discounted the value of any tribal payday loan. Yes, that is a bias and I still hold the conviction that nearly all of the Native American installment lenders are better than any tribal payday loan. I can't this is the case 100% of the time but it's close enough to say that payday loans are out of the question for me. I realize this disqualifies at least 60% of all tribal loan companies and that's too bad for them. This is a personal rating and from my experience (with four different tribal loan companies) the function and format of a tribal payday loan is just not worth the cost. The amount of time a borrower gets to have the money, the duration or length of the loan, is very important. If the money is returned within days of originally borrowing the money then to me it's not even a loan in the most basic definition the word.
Lastly, the dollar amount of the loan is what I use as the third component of rating a loan. It's true, there is a big difference between a loan for $700 versus a loan that is for $2,500 so it's still a very important factor. But the amount of interest paid in finance fees and how long I get to keep the cash from the loan were (personally) more important pieces of the puzzle to me than how much I could actually get my hands on.
Three factors that you would think would be in the mix but you won't find are the speed at which the customer will receive the borrowed funds, how much website security a lender has in place, and how hard it is to apply / qualify for a loan.
Nearly all tribal lenders now operate on a 48 hour turn time, where it takes a day to apply and get approved, and the next day the funds are sent via electronic transfer of funds to you checking account, and then you actually have access to those funds on the next morning. Roughly two days from beginning to end, to where you are actually holding the money in hand. Some companies offer a same day transaction, so that you can get the money in about 24 hours but there aren't many that do and this just wasn't a major issue for me, as waiting the one more day didn't prove decisive in the quality of the loan.
The issue with site security is not a big factor as nearly all the major Native American lenders now have good web security in place with encryption and data protection.
Finally, the vast majority of tribal lenders now have a truly simple online application form and nearly every applicant who has a job is going to be approved, so applying for the tribal loan is not a substantial factor that distinguishes the lenders from one another.
Going by these factors the best tribal loans are rated below, remember these ratings are not scientific or based in any true quantitative form, these are just what I feel are the best tribal loans available on the open market as of today (late October 2013) and how good they would be to help someone needing short-term financing...
1) Mobiloans, which is a tribal installment lender that does things a little bit differently from all the other Native American loan shops. This company has a tribal line of credit, similar in ways to what the banks used to offer, where you establish a line of credit ahead of time and can access it whenever you need it. The maximum loan amount is for $1,500 and you can borrow the funds for up to a year. The interest on any loan over $500 is only 10% on a rolling 14 calendar day basis. So every 14 days you have to repay a certain (small) percentage of the principal as well as 10% in interest on the outstanding amount of the loan. All three of these factors were highly rated when compared to the majority of other tribal lenders. And all three factors helped me when I needed an installment loan.
2) Plain Green Loans, which is a tribal installment loan company that offers up to $3,000 for 76 weeks at a (comparably) very low interest rate of 59% APR. That's outstanding when compared to other tribal installment lenders and it's not even close when the comparison is against tribal payday lenders. This is a very large and serious company in tribal lending, one of the leading firms, and the company should definitely be given strong consideration when you are shopping for online loans.
3) Clear Creek Lending, which is another tribal installment lender that offers loan amounts up to $2,500 for the first time borrower. The company does have moderately higher interest rates, including a 390% APR on a six month loan. But when compared to the competition the fact that Clear Creek is willing to offer a loan amount of $2,500 and a loan timeframe of up to one year, that makes the higher interest rate a little less troubling.
4) Great Plains Lending, a solid tribal installment shop that offers up to $2,000 in a loan that can stretch over the course of 40 weeks. Not too bad, however there is the 199% APR to deal with. That's not terrible but it could be lower. Still, this company is a great choice if you have been working with (tribal or standard) payday loan operators.
5) Spotloan, which is a flexible and very easy smaller tribal loan company providing installment loans that can be arranged to fit your needs and timeframes. The main problem with Spotloan is that they top out at a maximum of $800 for a loan. However, if you need a small loan and you need the terms to be specially coordinated to your own timetable then you want to look at this highly flexible company that can build the loan time and a specific repayment schedule to your individual requirements.
Those are the top five tribal lenders in my estimation as of this point in time in late 2013. Obviously, there are many other choices out there and many lenders that have no affiliation to a Native American tribe. But for me the choice will always be the installment lender and it will also be the tribal version of installment loan companies because of the no hassle requirements to get the loan without background checks, credit report checks, or the need for personal references.
Tribal loan firms are just the most flexible of all lending institutions out there. Currently, the five companies above are the best of those tribal installment loan firms and there is no doubt that these five lenders will give much better terms than any of the tribal payday lenders.