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Chippewa Cree's Online Lending Venture Avoids Interest-Rate Caps

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The Chippewa Cree tribe's new online lending venture, Plain Green Loans, gave out more than 121,000 loans in 2011 at interest rates up to 360 percent, reported the Associated Press.

The online lending site provides a resource for people who can't or prefer not to borrow from banks, Neal Rosette, Plain Green Loans chief executive officer and the Chippewa Cree's former executive administrative officer, told the AP. The site instructs visitors to apply online, get an answer withing seconds and get cash as soon as tomorrow.

The online lending venture draws a steady revenue stream for the tribe and created jobs on the Montana-based Rocky Boy Indian Reservation, where unemployment has hovered around 40 percent.

While states across the country are passing laws to take down lenders dealing in high-interest, short-term loans, the Chippewa Cree are stepping in. The Internet gives them access to people across the country, and tribal immunity allows the tribe to escape bans and interest-rate caps that several states have set.

"I believe this is the new outlook for Indian Country, not just Rocky Boy," Rosette told the AP. "We are sovereign nations and we have the ability to create our own laws that regulate our businesses such as this."