LCO Financial Services Director Gives Report to TGB
By Joe Morey
LCO Financial Services (FS) Director Lee Harden gave a report on the state of the tribe’s lending entity on Monday, Sep. 9, to the LCO Tribal Governing Board (TGB). The director stated LCO FS is doing better than expected, and he cited the recent IRS audit which had no findings.
Harden reported for the month of August, above the $200,000 monthly payment to the tribe, $430,684 was deposited into the tribe’s Capital Improvement Account at People’s Bank. He noted $300,000 was retained for FS operations. He said they are projecting over $500,000 for the Capital Improvement Account for the month of September.
Harden told TGB they were still in the process of drafting the FY20 budget.
“The revenue projections are not done yet so it’s difficult to forecast distribution to the tribe,” Harden said. “I’ve asked our service provider to at least give us the ball park estimate.”
LCO TGB member Tweed Shuman, who is the LCO FS Board Chairman, asked Harden if it was safe to say the $200,000 distribution to the tribes General Fund will continue and Harden said he believes it will.
Harden pointed out that $144,000 per month was going to LCO Development for the renovation of the old Boys and Girls Club into the new LCO FS building but the building is now finished and that amount will now be added to the Capital Improvement Account.
Shuman said the tribal membership is benefitting from LCO FS and the tribe is moving forward. He noted the tribe’s percentage of LCO FS is up to 65% from 1.8%, and eventually, the tribe will own 100%.
Harden said it was the Lac Vieux Desert chairman, Jim Williams, who introduced the lending business opportunity to our tribe over 5 years ago and they are now at 100% ownership of their operation. Harden said they went up from a $250,000 monthly distribution to the tribe up to over $400,000 per month. They have been in business three years longer than LCO, Harden explained.
Regarding employment, Harden said they are growing the call center in the new LCO FS building. They have 23 employees now and a batch of new ones coming in for training, but by this time next year, Harden said they would have 43 call center agents.
“You can be green off the street and we can train them,” Harden said. “We’ve had a couple of our agents who have advanced to higher supervisory positions with a new level of responsibility. They’ve excelled and so they were advanced. We want to promote our agents to higher positions.”
Harden thanked the LCO FS Board and the LCO TGB.
“We highly appreciate that council has stepped up on LCO FS and your leadership is important and we look to you to help guide us,” Harden said.