Payday Lenders Seek Shelter on Tribal Lands for 700% Loans

Operating on tribal lands, lenders claim immunity from state restrictions
A payday loan office Photograph by Zeke Faux/Bloomberg

Joshua Wrenn needed money to make the January payment for his Jeep Cherokee. The truck driver and aspiring country singer from Madison, N.C., got $800 within minutes from a website he found on his phone. When he called to check his balance a few weeks later, he was told he had electronically signed a contract to pay back $3,920 to a company owned by an American Indian tribe. “I didn’t ever see a contract, not one time,” says Wrenn. “If I was that stupid, to sign for $3,000 for an $800 loan, I might as well bury myself alive.”

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