Do you adhere to best practices for the industry?
Merit Financial Trust adheres to the best practices concerning internet lending. We also recommend our customers take advantage of personal financial literacy education through organizations such as the Community Financial Education Foundation (CFEF) through their My Starting Point
program or through Clarity Services with their Clarity for Consumers
Are you in compliance with applicable law?
Yes, Merit Financial Trust is in compliance with all applicable Federal and Tribal laws and regulations that govern consumer finance and short term loans. Please view our lending license here
Why is Merit Financial Trust better than other lenders?
There are several reasons. Most importantly, Merit Financial Trust works hard to get the money you need into your hands as soon as possible. We believe in transparency meaning Merit Financial Trust will never charge you any "hidden fees" not fully disclosed in the Loan Agreement or the Loan Cost & Terms. Merit Financial Trust provides its customers with outstanding customer service. Our representatives can be reached anytime during business hours to make sure you are well taken care of. We also offer many ways to save on finance fees and earn rewards for good financial behavior.
Do I need to have great credit?
Merit Financial Trust is an option for all credit types. We are not like the local banks that are only lend to a select few. However, we do believe you should be able to afford a loan with us, and we will evaluate your ability to pay the money back. We will look at your banking history and verify your employment in order to help us make a decision. If everything checks out, we are happy to work with you! We do not discriminate.
What does it mean to borrow money from a Tribal lender?
The Oglala Sioux Tribe of the Pine Ridge Reservation regulates consumer lending through the Wakpamni Lake Community Corporation. The Tribe dictates stringent controls on lending practices. The Tribe's regulation is nearly identical to the requirements of applicable Federal consumer finance laws and regulations.
Individual tribes are sovereign states in the eyes of the United States Constitution. Tribes derive their sovereign status via treaties made directly with the United States; specifically, sovereignty is derived from the Indian Reorganization Act of 1834 among others. According to BIA.gov, "Article 1, Section 8 of the United States Constitution vests Congress, and by extension the Executive and Judicial branches of our government, with the authority to engage in relations with the tribes, thereby firmly placing tribes within the constitutional fabric of our nation. When the governmental authority of tribes was first challenged in the 1830's, U. S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshall articulated the fundamental principle that has guided the evolution of federal Indian law to the present: "That tribes possess a nationhood status and retain inherent powers of self-government."
Fast forward nearly 200 years, Merit Financial Trust does business as a Tribal Lending Entity. When doing business with Merit Financial Trust as an online lender, you are virtually conducting a financial services transaction at the Tribal Reservation under the laws of the Tribal Council. Merit Financial Trust is incorporated under the laws of the Tribe, as an economic arm of the Tribe. Proceeds from lending businesses are used for Tribal education and development initiatives.
Just like other online merchants, the Tribe has a legal right to offer innovative financial services from its territory to consumers in an arms-length contractual manner to citizens of the United States.
Do Federal Laws apply?
Yes. Merit Financial Trust is compliant with all applicable consumer finance Federal Laws of the United States of America, including guidelines proposed by the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau.
Do Individual State Laws apply?
Wherever a state's laws are consistent with Federal Laws, Merit Financial Trust honors them. Remember, a Tribe has the same powers as a State under the U.S. Constitution - both are governments. In fact, Congress and the Department of the Treasury has elaborated that the Dodd-Frank Act "empowers tribal governments... to enforce the [CFPB]'s rules in areas under their jurisdiction, the same way that states will be permitted to enforce those rules."
What if I have a problem with my loan?
If you feel there is a discrepancy between the consumer loan agreement and the treatment of your loan, please call 844-688-5921 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
We will do our best to rectify the situation if there was any mistake made by us, our staff, or our vendors who provide important services in connection with our loans.
What legal rights do I have?
You have the right to file disputes to the Tribal Council. That said, we advise customers to contact us first at email@example.com
- we have a professional Dispute Resolution process. We believe 99.9% of disputes can be resolved amicably even before going to Tribal Council.
By agreeing to loan terms, you do however give up the right to take legal action against Merit Financial Trust in a state court. You are also effectively waiving your right to trial by a jury.
The dispute resolution mechanism is a fair process put in place to help customers contest any part of the loan agreement. Our trained dispute resolution team will work with you to first find an amicable resolution or settlement. We value our customers and want your experience with Merit Financial Trust to be outstanding. Our goal is to have you only think of us when the need arises.
Who is Merit Financial Trust?
Merit Financial Trust financial services are offered by WLCC Lending MFT d/b/a Merit Financial Trust. The entity is a subsidiary agency of Wakpamni Lake Community Corporation, an arm and entity organized under and governed by the laws of the Oglala Sioux Tribe of the Pine Ridge Reservation, a sovereign nation located within the United States of America, and is operating within the Tribe's Reservation.
What is Sovereign Immunity?
Merit Financial Trust is owned by the Tribe, which is a federally-recognized American Indian Tribe
receiving governmental sovereign immunity. Because Merit Financial Trust and the Tribe are entitled to sovereign immunity, you will be limited as to what claims, if any, you may be able to assert against the Tribe and Merit Financial Trust. To encourage resolution of consumer complaints, any complaint may be submitted by you or on your behalf to the Tribe for review as described in other sections of this FAQ.
What kind of loans do you offer?
Merit Financial Trust offers short term consumer loans often used to cover unexpected expenses. These loans are not intended to meet long-term financial needs.
How much can I borrow?
Merit Financial Trust offers loans up to $1,000. The actual amount of your loan is contingent on many factors and is based on a judgment of how much you can afford to borrow and your ability to pay back the loan?
What is the cost of the loan?
APR is the abbreviation of Annual Percentage Rate. APR is the true cost of borrowing money, expressed in a standardized form of a yearly measure to allow consumers to compare lending options.
Our APR varies based upon varying factors of each loan. Different factors could include the amount in which you borrow and the frequency of your pay dates. The actual terms, rates, annual percentage rates (APRs), or fees associated with the loan you may receive will be fully disclosed in detail in your proposed loan agreement. By way of example, our APR can range between 36% and 690%.
With respect to APR, all lenders are required to disclose their price per loan based on APR. APR was designed as a method to allow consumers to evaluate a loan product over the course of a full year or 365 days. Our short-term consumer loan is typically designed to be repaid over a much shorter time period than one year. Therefore, the actual interest you are paying should be much less than the stated APR.
Is this type of loan right for me?
Short-term lending products provide the cash needed to meet an immediate short-term cash flow problem. It is not a solution for longer term financial problems for which longer term financing may be more appropriate. Merit Financial Trust is a relatively expensive lending solution. Alternative forms of credit, such as a credit card cash advance, personal loan, home equity line of credit, drawing from existing savings, or borrowing from a friend or relative may be less expensive and more suitable for your financial needs. You may want to discuss your financial situation with a non-profit financial counseling service in your community.
When will I receive my loan?
Once you submit an application, you will hear from us within one (1) business day. Please make sure you are available via phone and email in order to finalize your loan documents or to provide any additional information necessary to evaluate your application. The faster we can reach you, the faster we can process your loan.
Loan applications fully verified and approved by 5pm Eastern Time are typically funded the next business day excluding bank holidays. Some loans may be eligible for same day funding. Loans are not processed on weekends and bank holidays.
What if I want to repay my loan early?
Loans can be repaid at any time without penalty. Please contact our customer service department if you wish to repay your loan early.
What if I change my mind and no longer want the loan?
You have the ability to cancel your loan before 5:00 pm Eastern Time the next business day immediately following the disbursement date. Please contact our customer service department to discuss options.
How do I make payments on my loan?
If your funds are deposited electronically into your bank account (ACH), payments will be debited from the same checking account. If you choose to make your payments directly, payments must be mailed to our office and received by your payment date. If a payment is not received by the scheduled payment date, the account may incur a late fee as provided for in the loan agreement.
How can I get a copy of my loan agreement?
You should print out and save your loan documents once your loan is approved. However, we can send your documents via email. Please contact our customer service department to request your loan documents.
How can I contact you?
Merit Financial Trust customer service department is available Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. through 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time. Our telephone number is 844-688-5921
. You may also contact us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
or via regular mail at:
Merit Financial Trust
PO Box 204
#1 Wakpamni Lake Housing
Please note we are closed on weekends and holidays.
What if I'm late on a payment?
We understand that life is unpredictable and from time to time you may miss a payment. If you miss one payment but have a history of making other payments on time, we will waive the late fee on a one-time basis as a way to say "thank you" for being a good customer. If you work with us, we will work with you.
What happens if I miss a payment?
We will work with you to make sure you are able to pay back the loan. We report payment history to the credit bureaus and want to make sure you are able to access the loans you need. We do understand that financial challenges present themselves at times. If you need help setting up a payment plan, please call our Customer Service line 844-688-5921.
However, if you fail to work with us on adjusting the loan and setting a payment plan, we will suspend your account and access to our loans. We will also be forced to report to several credit bureaus about your non-payment or refusal of payment. Please take this very seriously, as this will hurt your chances of getting credit from other lenders in the future. We will also be eligible to contract outside collection agencies (compliant with FDCPA).
How can I bring down the finance fees and the overall cost of the loan?
The more information you give us to make us comfortable about your creditworthiness, the more flexibility we will be able to give you. You will be eligible for lower rates as you build a borrowing history with us. We are constantly offering promotions to reduce your rate. Just engage with us and keep an eye out for our communications!