Chippewa Cree Tribe Signs First Banking Agreement With State of Montana


Today at the Montana State Capitol, Chippewa Cree Chairman Bruce SunChild, Sr. joined Montana Secretary of State Linda McCulloch and other state and tribal leaders in celebrating the historic signing of the tribe's first banking agreement with the state of Montana.

The compact is intended to spur economic development and create jobs on the Rocky Boy’s Reservation, states a press release from the office of the Secretary of the State.

Called the Chippewa Cree Tribe Secured Transaction Code, the agreement improves access to commercial and consumer credit made available by banks and other lenders.

“This agreement celebrates the sovereignty of the Chippewa Cree Tribe, and a strengthened intergovernmental relationship,” Secretary McCulloch said. “It will spark economic development on the Rocky Boy’s Reservation and create needed jobs, services and infrastructure.”

Under the compact, the Chippewa Cree Tribe will have use of the Secretary of State’s Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) filing system, which is used by lenders and investors to secure financial transactions by filing liens as collateral on a loan. All liens filed with the state system are enforceable by law—typically not the case when filing a lien with a sovereign nation, states the release. This exemption has historically made it harder for Tribes to secure loans from parties located outside of the reservation. The agreement between the Chippewa Cree Tribe and the state of Montana ensures that all liens filed with the state UCC filing system will be enforceable on the Rocky Boy’s Reservation.

“The Chippewa Cree Tribe Secured Transaction Code enables us to ensure lenders and investors who do business with the Tribe that their rights are protected under the same processes that are available to investors off the reservation,” Chairman SunChild said in the press release. “It will help bring the commercial world to our reservation and help us build and expand the reservation economy. We are excited to work with the central filing system within the Office of the Secretary so that commercial and credit consumers can file financing statements and perfect security interests governed by our tribal law."

The agreement is the final step in the Chippewa Cree Tribe’s enactment of the Model Tribal Secured Transactions Act, which was drafted by a committee of the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws over a period of four years, with input from many tribal advisors. The drafting committee completed the Act in the summer of 2005.

The ceremony was attended by dignitaries for the Chippewa Cree Tribe and the state of Montana; and representatives for Montana's Congressional delegation, the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, and the offices of the Governor, Attorney General, Secretary of State and Department of Commerce.