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Indian Nations Law Update - June 2013

June 06, 2013

Godfrey & Kahn Assists Tribes Exploring Formation of Banks and Other Lending Institutions
Most tribal communities have inadequate banking and financial services. In order to fill this need, tribes are increasingly exploring forming their own banks or credit unions. Reasons for these initiatives may include (1) removing cultural barriers that sometimes prevent tribal members from applying for loans from commercial lenders, (2) encouraging entrepreneurship among tribal members by making credit more available than is currently available through local banks, and (3) replacing tribal loan programs with a structure that is more business-like and which enables the tribe to minimize defaults and increase collections, and (4) making a profit for the tribe.

In order for tribal governments to evaluate the feasibility of a tribal lending institution, they need to understand the various types of lending institutions in order to decide which would best meet the Tribe's needs. It is also necessary to determine the federal deposit insurance requirements and the regulatory obligations that a tribal lending institution would have under state or federal law and assess how the Tribe might meet these obligations (e.g. with existing personnel, hiring consultants, partnering with another lending institution, etc.). In considering its options concerning the type of lending institution to be formed, tribal government should take into account the demands that each type of lending institution may make on the tribe's personnel and financial resources.

Godfrey & Kahn's Indian Nations and Banking & Financial Institutions teams advise tribes exploring formation of a tribally owned financial institution. For more information, contact Indian Nations Law Practice Group leader Brian Pierson at 414.287.9456 or

Godfrey & Kahn Attorney John Reichert to Present on "Best Practices for Community Banks" in Chicago June 17
John Reichert, a shareholder on Godfrey & Kahn's Banking & Financial Institutions team, will present "Positioning Your Bank & Seizing Opportunities" June 17 at the Oakbrook Marriott, 1401 West 22nd Street, Oak Brook, Illinois. The conference, entitled "Leveraging Best Practices for Community Banks in the New Regulatory and Competitive Environment," will address:

  • Staying ahead of your regulators and competitors.
  • Capital adequacy stress testing & why it MUST be linked to strategic planning.
  • How to transform your strategic planning processes, whether yours is a healthy or "not so healthy" bank.
  • What 'smart" banks are doing to position themselves and seize opportunities.
  • Effectively managing your downside risks.

To register, email; please provide the name of your bank and the names and titles of the attendees

Godfrey & Kahn Benefits Attorney to Moderate Panel on Federal Health Insurance Marketplace in Wausau June 14
Godfrey & Kahn employment benefits attorney Todd Cleary will moderate the panel "To Insure or Not to Insure: Costs and Benefits of Opting Out" at the Wisconsin Institute for Public Policy & Service's Professional Conference, Preparing for the Federal Health Insurance Marketplace to be held June 14 at the Westwood Conference Center in Wausau. For program details and registration information, please click here.

U.S. DOE Grants Indian Country Energy Grants
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced up to $7 million in new funding opportunities to help deploy clean energy projects in tribal communities. These grants can help tribes reduce reliance on fossil fuels and promote economic development and energy independence.

The "Community-Scale Clean Energy Projects in Indian Country" ($2.5 to $4.5 million total available funds) grant program will aid tribes in installing clean energy systems that reduce fossil fuel use by at least 15% in either new or existing tribal buildings. Individual awards may range from $50,000 to $1.5 million, with a minimum 50% cost share required, and DOE anticipates making 10 to 20 awards. The application deadline for this grant is June 27, 2013.

The "Tribal Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Deployment Assistance" grant program (approximately $2.5 million total funds available) will aid tribes in installing renewable energy and energy efficiency technology that reduce fossil fuel use in existing tribal buildings by at least 30%. Individual awards may range from $50,000 to $250,000, with a minimum 50% cost share required. DOE anticipates making 10 to 20 awards. The application deadline for this grant is June 20, 2013.

Godfrey & Kahn has assisted tribes with the preparation of renewable energy and energy efficiency grant applications that have resulted in total awards of more than $5 million. Godfrey & Kahn also assists tribes in packaging federal grants with other grants and tax incentives, including the 30% federal tax credit for renewable energy projects, state and/or utility grants and New Market Tax Credits.

For more information about Godfrey & Kahn's energy-related Indian country experience, or a free consultation, contact Indian Nations Law Practice Group leader Brian Pierson at 414.287.9456 or, or Environment & Energy Strategies Practice Group leader John Clancy 414.287.9256 or

Godfrey & Kahn Health Law Team to Present on New HIPAA Rules
Under the recently released HIPAA Omnibus Rule, more privacy and security requirements may apply to an increased number of corporate entities and organizations. Godfrey & Kahn will offer a complimentary breakfast program focusing on the impact of these significant HIPAA privacy and security requirements on business associates, subcontractors, and covered entities at the following times and locations:

Tuesday, June 18 - Green Bay
Speakers: Scott Thill
St. Brendan's Inn
234 South Washington Street
Green Bay, WI 54301

Tuesday, June 25 - Milwaukee
Speaker: Scott LeBlanc
Godfrey & Kahn Office
780 North Water Street
Milwaukee, WI 53202

Thursday, June 27 - Madison
Godfrey & Kahn Office
One East Main Street, Suite 500
Madison, WI 53701

Please RSVP by Friday, June 7 to Stephanie Hecht at or 414.287.9532.

Godfrey & Kahn to Present on Financing Renewable Energy at Albuquerque Conference June 11
The "Developing Tribal Energy Resources and Economies Conference" will be held June 10-12, 2013 at Sandia Resort and Casino, Albuquerque, New Mexico. Godfrey & Kahn attorneys Brian Pierson and John Clancy will join with Forest County Potawatomi Attorney General Jeffrey Crawford to present "Casino Energy Consumption and the Seven Generations Ethic" from 3:00 to 4:30 pm on Tuesday, June 11. The presentation will describe successful Indian country projects and focus on financing strategies that enable tribes to convert to cleaner, less expensive energy using federal tax incentives and other non-tribal funding sources. For more information, please click here.

Godfrey & Kahn works with tribes to maximize outside funding sources to finance green energy and promote tribal energy independence. For more information about Godfrey & Kahn's Indian country experience, or a free consultation, contact Indian Nations Law Practice Group leader Brian Pierson at 414.287.9456, or Environmental and Energy Strategies team leader John Clancy at 414.287.9256 or

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