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Indian loan firm lays off 94 employees amid mounting legal woes

Filed Under: Business | Law | National
More on: cheyenne river sioux, employment, ftc, internet, payday loans, south dakota

Western Sky Financial, a controversial online lender that's owned by a member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe of South Dakota, laid off 94 employees amid scrutiny from state and federal officials.

Owner Martin Webb blamed authorities for forcing his company to stop making new loans. As a result, he said he had to get rid of most of his workforce, many of whom are tribal members.

“I’m deeply saddened that so many members of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe have had their lives turned upside down because of regulators and bureaucrats thousands of miles away,” Webb said in a press release. “Creating jobs here on the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation has been my proudest accomplishment, and its painful to know that my former employees face the prospect of long-term unemployment given the few job opportunities available to them.”

The company has been hit by complaints from several state regulators who say the loans exceed state limits. The Federal Trade Commission is also suing Western Sky.

Get the Story:
Western Sky Fires Back at State Regulators (The Wall Street Journal 9/4)

Related Stories:
Blog: State actions take toll on Indian payday loan industry (08/29)
Western Sky Employees: Fighting for our voices to be heard (8/28)
Indian online lender lays off employees and cuts new loans (8/27)
Jane Daugherty: Lawmakers defend online lending industry (08/26)
Jane Daugherty: DOJ not targeting tribal Internet loan firms (08/23)
New York sues online lender operated by Cheyenne River man (08/13)
Center: Indian Country payday lenders face increased scrutiny (8/9)
New York tells Indian Country payday firms to stop business (8/6)

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