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Know the West

Jonathan Thompson on payday lending


It may not come as a surprise that many Native Americans living on mostly poor, remote reservations in the American West have come to rely heavily on payday loan companies offering cash at high interest rates when money is tight. Yet as Jonathan Thompson reveals in the current issue of High Country News, some tribes have also started getting into the payday lending business themselves, often by partnering with private companies and shielding them from state financial rules.

For the latest edition of Sounds of the High Country, KDNK Radio’s collaboration with the magazine, Nelson Harvey asked Thompson whether these tribes could be mortgaging their futures in exchange for quick cash.