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Plain Green Loans
- Early player in online lending
- Tribal based lender
- Montana based tribe. Since 2011.
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Plain Green Loans is a tribal lender wholly owned by the Chippewa Cree Tribe of the Rocky Boy's Indian Reservation, Montana. They operate under the premise that they can export their tribal laws into other states so are not state licensed. Plain Green Loans was one of the earlier players in the installment loan space. They were a solid option in the early days as their site is transparent and provides clear pricing but today, there are state licensed lenders providing installment loans and we prefer state licensed lenders. Net Credit, CashNetUSA, and OppLoans are examples of state-licensed lenders. In addition, many of these lenders may even provide lower rates.
Plain Green Loan's website is very clear and informative. They provide APR's and payment amounts. Loan amounts range from $250 to $1,000 and term ranges from 8 to 38 bi-weekly payments. As Plain Green exports it's tribal law into your state these terms do not vary by state. In order to be approved you must have a proven source of income, email address, verifiable phone, an active and valid checking account and be at least 18 years old (or 19 years old if you are an Alabama or Nebraska residence). Approval or denial happens instantly online. For applications completed by 6pm ET they will deposit funds into your checking account by the next business day. Applications after 6pm ET will be processed the next business day.
The website it not clear as to whether loans from Plain Green are reported to the three major credit bureaus so it is unclear whether a loan from Plain Green can improve your credit score. They do say, "because we may report your payment history to one or more credit bureaus, late or non-payment of your loan may negatively impact your credit rating." The also go on to say that delinquent accounts may be sold to a collection agency. So as with many most short term loans, failure to pay your loan may negatively impact your credit rating as collections agencies do report to the bureaus. See Do Payday Loans Affect Credit Score for additional information on credit scores and short term loans.
As a tribal lender Plain Green has not submitted to regulation by the states in which it operates. In general, each state has their own laws and regulators. This can make it very confusing and expensive for lenders as they must be in compliance with numerous and some times conflicting regulations. Native American tribes have a unique distinction in that they operate as separate entities and export their laws into other states. This simplifies compliance and at its best means tribal lenders can pass savings on to consumers but at its worst is gives room for lenders to do unscrupulous lending practices. It is for this reason that many states are challenging the right of tribes to export their laws. Plain Green appears to be a solid lender but we prefer state licensed lenders as there is an additional level of scrutiny. Plain Green is able to become state licensed but at this point is not.
Short terms loans are not cheap. Installment loans such as the loans offered by Plain Green differ from payday loans in that the fees they charge and principal are due over multiple pay periods rather than in full at the next pay period. This often makes it more feasible for borrowers to pay off the loan and can be cheaper than rolling over a payday loan multiple times. See Payday Loan or Installment Loan for additional information.
Plain Green Loans use to use Think Finance's lending platform. It appears that this relationship was a model used by Think Finance with other tribes where Think Finance provided operations and the tribes provided legal rights as a sovereign nation. In 2014, Think Finanace spun off the operations largely related to these functions into a company called Elevate. Elevate runs Rise Credit.
In summary, if you are in a bind and need quick cash we prefer state licensed lenders to Plain Green. In addition, other lenders may even charge cheaper rate.