“Regulators from the State of New York and other states lack the authority to regulate legal commerce engaged by members of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe on the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation,” said Steve Emery, founder of the Emery Law Firm in Eagle Butte and a spokesman for Western Sky Financial. “The consequence of this groundless overreach is the loss of 94 quality jobs in this economically disadvantaged community.”
The immediate cause of Western Sky’s suspension of operations was the effort by state regulators to pressure and intimidate banks, other financial institutions and payment processing services into choking off business with online lenders like Western Sky. Many of these lenders are based on Indian reservations and therefore subject to tribal, not state, laws and regulations.
“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,” said Butch Webb, founder of Western Sky Financial. “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.”
Western Sky Financial will maintain a limited staff to support the company’s efforts as it seeks to resolve the issues it faces in court.