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Payday Lenders and Indians Evading Laws Draw Scrutiny

U.S. regulators and Congress are scrutinizing partnerships between Native Americans and outside investors in online payday lending businesses accused of exploiting tribal sovereignty to evade state consumer-protection laws.

The push has divided Native American groups, with critics of payday lending opposing tribal involvement in the businesses, which charge interest rates as high as 521 percent for short-term loans. Other Indian groups, formed to represent the nascent industry in Washington, are pushing back against the regulators.