Despite all the news about how Native Americans will be limited and/or restricted from providing their loan products there are still a number of tribal websites that provide loans. And these lenders are conducting business just as they did in the past, where loans are funded (and repaid) via the customer's checking account. Another aspect that hasn't changed is that tribal lenders do not care (and invariably will not use) your past credit scores as a reference for a new loan. The tribes simply do not work with Experian, Equifax or Transunion.
The real goal when searching for a (decent) tribal lender is to find one that has some quality to their lending program. This means that they provide a loan for at least up $700 (bare minimum), and that they give the borrower (you) some time to repay the debt. This definition automatically disqualifies just about every single Native American payday lender because they want to give out tiny loans ($300 to $500) and they force their customers to repay the entire loan in approximately 16 days after the loan is first issued.
Another thing to look for with a tribal lender is that they still have access to the ACH (automated clearing house) or EFT (electronic funds transaction) formats of payment. Those are the most common methods of getting your checking account funded if you take out a tribal loan. Why mention this facet of the process at all? Shouldn't this be a piece of cake? Well, if this was 2013 then there wouldn't be a question at all. Every Native American lender (with one possible exception out of 200 plus companies) used the electronic banking system to fund their customers and to deduct funds when it came time to repay the debt.
Thanks to the efforts of the state of New York, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the federal court system, a good number of civil suits and at least one class action suit, we now have a situation where many tribal lenders are not able to use ACH transactions to fund their customers, whether they are new customers or returning clients. This is the heart of the issue, where many people are assuming that just because a tribal loan company has been restricted from further access to the automated clearing functions of some major banks they are no longer able to supply loans to consumers.
That assumption is not correct, the tribes have come up with a few creative ways to keep funding their clients. More than a few tribal operations have switched to using the debit card of their existing customer base. In this instance a 'credit' will be issued to the debit card holder and that 'credit' will (ironically, as they are being issued credit) be their loan. Then when it comes time for the funds to be paid back the Native American lender will simply place a charge against that debit card. That charged item (on the debit card) will be the repayment of the loan.
There are other tribal lenders that are switching back to the old days of using Western Union or Moneygram as well, but most of the tribes don't really want to use this slow (non-digital) option because it puts too much trust in the hands of the borrower, at least in their opinion. The current methods (using the ACH, EFT or debit card transaction) can all be done instantly, and for free, but most importantly they can be done just after midnight on Friday morning. Why would that matter?
Most workers get paid every two weeks and by far the majority of workers get paid every other Friday. And nearly every employer provides their workers with direct deposit for their pay instead of the old paper checks.
The tribes know this and it has been instrumental in how they make sure they get paid first before the borrower has time to start spending the money. Tribal lenders will schedule transactions to be deducted from the customer's checking account not long after 12am on Friday morning. By the time the customer wakes up (even if they get up early at 4am or 5am) the transaction (withdrawal) has been done for hours. This method makes it hard for customers to spend or remove the funds from the account after the pay date has arrived.
Back to the concept of the Average Joe getting a tribal loan. It's not impossible but there might be more headaches than in the past. If you have trouble finding a company that will use the ACH for your bank account then keep looking because there are many lenders that will use (and are able to use) the automated checking account deposit. If not then you can find other tribal loan shops that are willing to use a debit card or another (potentially third party) digital medium to transfer the money.
Tribal lenders have been slowed down but not stopped by the various forces ranging against them. If you have been turned down for a loan by state regulated loan firms then you should know you are able to get a loan via these tribal companies but just know it might take a little extra work, but that extra work should result in your being able to get an unsecured loan from one of the tribes.