Tribal Lending Guide – Companies and rates

Information verified correct on March 29th, 2017

Many tribal lenders are able to use theirtribal loans sovereign immunity to circumvent standard payday loan regulations.

A tribal lender is a lending institution that is based on tribal land and operated by the Native American community. Tribal lenders offer many of the same products as traditional lenders, however, because they are based out of reservations they are protected sovereign territories and they don’t have to adhere to the same restrictions.

What is Tribal Lending?

Many tribal lenders are represented by the Native American Financial Services Association (NAFSA), which advocates and enables tribes to offer responsible online loans. Many beneficial Native American programs are funded with money from payday lending. These include health care, housing, and various educational and youth programs.

Tribal lenders can lend money to tribal and non-tribal borrowers, and they can even lend money to customers in states where payday lending is normally illegal. While many are legitimate and fair lenders, keep in mind that because they are a sovereign instrumentality, they cannot be sued.

Tribal Lenders

Blue Trust Loans

Hummingbird Funds, LLC is a sovereign enterprise, and wholly-owned and operated by the Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians, a federally-recognized sovereign American Indian Tribe.

Blue Trust Loans is a member of the Online Lenders Alliance (OLA).

  • Max. Loan Amount: $1250
  • Loan Term: Up to 24 months
  • Turnaround Time: Next business day
  • Maximum APR: Varies

Click here for more info on Blue Trust Loans

Big Picture Loans

Big Picture Loans formerly operated as Castle Payday. It is a completely owned and operated entity of the Lac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians. This tribally owned lender is registered with the tribe’s reservation in Watersmeet, Michigan. It carries out all its operations on tribal land within the same region.

  • Max. Loan Amount: $1500
  • Loan Term: Varies, but the average is 14 days
  • Turnaround Time: Same or next business day
  • Total Cost of Borrowing $100: $35 for every $100 you borrow

Click here for more info on Big Picture Loans

Lendgreen Installment Loans

Lendgreen is a provider of installment loans and operates within the boundaries of the Lac du Flambeau Reservation, as a federally-recognized sovereign Indian Tribe.

  • Max. Loan Amount: $400 for first time customers, $1000 for return customers
  • Loan Term: Up to 18 months
  • Turnaround Time
  • Maximum APR: 795%

Click here for more info on Lendgreen Installment Loans

Zip19 Payday Loans

Oasis Funds, LLC, a tribal limited liability company, operates the Zip19 website, through which you can apply for a payday loan. Since Zip19 is a Tribal lender that is subject to tribal laws, it circumvents state-imposed regulations on payday lenders.

  • Max. Loan Amount: $1500
  • Loan Term: Varies
  • Turnaround Time: 1-2 business days
  • Total Cost of Borrowing $100: $22.98 for every $100 you borrow

Click here for more info on Zip19 Payday Loans

ActionPayday Short Term Loans

FSST Financial Services, LLC, dba Action PDL Services owns and operates The Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe, a federally recognized Indian Tribe, wholly owns this company. It operates and provides short-term loans from within the tribe’s reservation.

  • Max. Loan Amount: $1500
  • Loan Term: Varies
  • Turnaround Time: 1-2 business days
  • Total Cost of Borrowing $100: $30 for every $100 for 15 days

Click here for more info on ActionPayday Short Term Loans

SWIFT Payday Loans

While SWIFT doesn’t actually provide loans themselves, they do work with many lenders (including Tribal Lenders) to help you find the loan that’s best suited for you.

  • Max. Loan Amount: $1000 for first time borrowers, $1200 for return customers (depending on the lender)
  • Loan Term: Varies
  • Turnaround Time: Next Business Day
  • Maximum APR: Varies

Click here for more info on SWIFT Payday Loans


Many American Indian tribes have the financial resources to be able to fund their lending business, and many are even members of the Online Lenders Alliance (OLA), which offers peace of mind to consumers. Unfortunately, many less self-sufficient tribes are engaging in illegal and irresponsible lending practices in order to gain revenue.

Many tribal lenders will partner with a 3rd party, non-tribal lender to provide short-term loans to consumers. The tribe operates as the official owner and collects a percentage of the APR. Both the tribal lender and the 3rd party lender are protected by the tribes immunity. This practice is often referred to as a “Rent-a-Tribe”.

Is it safe to take out a tribal loan?

Considering that tribal lenders don’t have to follow any state statutes, a common concern is whether or not they are safe. Overall, yes they are safe, although not cheap. Just like regular payday loans, tribal loans carry extremely high APRs. This is the main reason payday loans are illegal in many states.

Tips for taking out a personal loan from a tribal lender

The ability to self-regulate lending codes has led to a lot of controversy surrounding Tribal Lenders and their practices, particularly the high APRs. Due to the high interest rates and the possibility of extra fees, it’s very important to have a solid plan to pay back your debt. Defaulting on your loan could cause more financial stress than you had when you initially applied for the tribal loan. If you choose to borrow money, it’s very important to read ALL the fine print and get a clear breakdown of the interest, fees, and loan terms.

Frequently asked questions

How can I view the laws applicable to my tribal loan?

You would have to look up the Consumer Financial Services Regulatory codes for the specific tribe that you’re borrowing from.

Can I get in trouble for borrowing from a tribal lender?

So far, there have been no cases of this happening. Only the lenders have been prosecuted for unfair practices.

Do tribal lenders provide loans to all 50 states?

Some do, but not all of them. Check with the specific lender to find out what is offered and where.

Are payday loans available in my state?

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