In a state like Oklahoma, with vast distances and an inadequate public transportation infrastructure, having a reliable car is paramount for employees of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation. This issue is exacerbated outside of the state’s two major metropolitan areas of Oklahoma City and Tulsa, where public transportation options almost cease to exist. In an effort to assist tribal employees in obtaining reliable transportation while avoiding high-fee, predatory car loans, the Citizen Potawatomi Community Development CorporationDevelopment Corporation offers an employee automobile program.
James McSpadden was one such employee in a situation where his only option was to drive unreliable, used cars. McSpadden, who lives in Oklahoma City near the State Fairgrounds, makes a 33 mile drive – one way – to work at the Grand Casino Hotel Resort as a banquet supervisor. He had long driven second hand and used cars, but became aware of the employee loan program at the tribe’s annual employee health fair.
“I love my job out at the Grand. The tribe has been really good to me, and I have never had a new car. With the holidays coming up, I was going to be at work a lot and I knew I needed something more reliable,” he explained.
McSpadden saw an advertisement of the employee car loan program when he attended the CPN Tribal Employee Health Fair, and contacted Tina Pollard at the Citizen Potawatomi Community Development Corporation to find out more. Pollard, a consumer finance lending manager at the CPCDC, worked with McSpadden to find financing for a new car.
“Honestly, I went into it thinking it was not going to go through,” he said.
McSpadden, like many customers who use the CPCDC’s short-term loan programs, had a bruised credit score, making traditional financing from a bank an unrealistic proposition. Aside from offering reasonable rates for his automobile loan, McSpadden noted that the process of an automatic withdrawal from his paycheck as a tribal employee alleviates the hassle of making the payment each month.
“I don’t have to worry about it,” he explained. “I don’t see it, and it’s automatically paid, meaning I don’t have to struggle or stress about making sure it gets made.”
McSpadden estimates that because he is a tribal employee in his position for the long-haul, he’s projected to pay off his loan within three years.
If you would like to learn more about programs that helped McSpadden, please contact the Citizen Potawatomi Community Development Corporation at (405) 878-4697 or visit www.cpcdc.org.