TGB Extends FS Chief Executive Officer Contract Amid Rapid Revenue Increases
Updated: Apr 24
St. Louis Call Center Looking to Hire Tribal Members
By Joe Morey
The LCO Tribal Governing Board (TGB) narrowly approved extending the contract for LCO Financial Services Chief Executive Officer, Scott Soli, by an additional three years after his contract expires next year, 2024 in February. The extension will keep Soli as CEO until 2027.
LCO Secretary-Treasurer Tweed Shuman brought the proposal for Soli's contract renewal extension to the TGB for a vote.
Shuman confirmed LCO FS, beginning in May, would be contributing $750,000 monthly to the tribal general fund from their revenues, and then increasing that amount to $1 million in February of 2024. The contribution has been $500,000 for the past year.
The motion to extend was approved 3-2-1, with Glenda Barber abstaining. The three to approve were Shuman, Gary “Little Guy” Clause and Lorraine Gouge. Opposing were Don Carley and Michelle Beaudin. Chairman Louis Taylor doesn’t vote unless there is a tie, but expressed his support to extend Soli’s contract.
During discussion on the motion, Little Guy said his belief is that it doesn’t matter whether any council member likes Soli, he is a revenue stream for our Tribe. He said Soli is responsible for a large revenue stream for the Tribe like we’ve never had before, allowing the Tribe to purchase things and build things and all of it for the future of our Tribe.
“I’m going to support the man,” Little Guy said. “We have to move forward with him and have more revenue streams and diversify our money. Let our money make money for us.”
Little Guy acknowledged to LCO News that Soli has 30 years of banking experience and that we should trust that he is doing the right thing for our Tribe.
Little Guy added that no one supports the idea of Tribal Preference when hiring more than he does, but in some instances, we aren’t going to find anyone within our Tribe who can do certain positions and it’s best for the Tribe overall to hire the right person.
Don Carley responded to Little Guy’s comments in the meeting stating that he isn’t against Soli, and that he did a great job, but added, “He’s trying to move our corporate office to St. Louis and we don’t really know what’s going on in St. Louis.”
Beaudin added that she also believes Soli wants to move the entire operation to St. Louis.
Carley added that he may have breached his contract by bringing operations there.
Soli opened the St. Louis Call Center for FS because he told TGB that after they dissolved their relationship with their former service provider, they would have to have their own call centers and there just isn’t a large enough work force in the LCO/Hayward area. By opening in downtown St. Louis, they can reach into a larger workforce.
Soli told LCO News that the headquarters of LCO FS can’t be moved to St. Louis due to regulations. He said it’s a tribal lending operation and has to remain on Reservation. The only thing in St. Louis is a call center to hire more agents, he added.
Soli said he spends time at both locations working back and forth, jokingly adding that he likes to spend more time at the St. Louis location during the winter time, avoiding our northern Wisconsin winters.
Lorraine Gouge said during the discussion to extend his contract, Soli stood out to us and that’s why we hired him. She said the Tribe was making a small percentage and wasn't making much and he changed all that. The Tribe makes 100% of the revenue.
Louis Taylor said that when Soli was hired, FS was contributing $40,000 a month to the general fund, and as of May 1, that will be $750,000 monthly and next year, $1 million.
Prior to his arrival at LCO Financial Services in February of 2020, Soli explained the LCO Call Center was only receiving collections for clients who were over 90 days past due, the most difficult to collect. He changed that so FS agents would collect on all accounts.
Soli also gave the agents an opportunity to get bonuses based on 10% of their net collections and employees were able to increase their incomes.
Gouge also said she goes to the FS location at LCO and see’s our people working there and they are happy.
“They are making a good wage, bonuses, and I believe we give him the three years. Give him the opportunity,” Gouge said. “We are growing, we are heading in the right direction.”
She added that she wants to see Soli start training and mentoring a tribal member because someday he would be retiring.
Shuman, who also serves as the LCO FS Board Chairman, told LCO News that the tribal enterprise has consistently experienced rapid growth, more so than anyone could have predicted several years ago. He is referring to a time prior to the hiring of Soli, who Shuman credits with the exponential growth.
In a short amount of time, “We’ve made great strides in increasing income for the Tribe, opening new opportunities for tribal members, and ensuring that any legal liability is minimized by demonstrating operational and financial control,” Soli told LCO News in late 2020. “For FY 2020 Financial Services provided an estimated $11.6 million to the economic aid of the tribe in the form of Distributions, Payroll, and New Portfolio capital among other things.”
This revenue amount has increased year after year, with an estimated $11 million alone being contributed to FY 2024’s general fund, not counting payroll and other contributions.
Soli explained FS committed to an increase of 33% in additional distributions to the Tribe in 2021 while continuing to build the Tribe’s own portfolio.
“This is historic not only for the Tribe but for all Native Americans. I am not aware of another Tribe that is doing 100% of this type of lending on the reservation and not utilizing any servicers or outside investors,” Soli noted.
Soli said FS is a very noble cause because every dime made goes back to the community. He explained this is the fifth company he has headed, and none have excited him as much because the profits benefit an entire community.
“What we do is something not provided by anyone else. Our clients can’t go to a bank for a loan or they don’t have savings,” Soli said. “Banks won’t give them a loan due to credit problems and other issues.”
Carley stated in 2021 the success of LCO FS means more distributions to the Tribe, which in turn provides more needed revenue to be used for Tribal Member services to combat health issues, alcoholism, drug abuse and for rehabilitation.
“This has the potential to provide economic development to our Tribe like never before,” Carley noted. “This may finally provide much needed health care for our Elders, especially for home health care and our own facilities so they can stay here at home."
“We owe all this economic growth to the leadership of LCO FS and all the hardworking employees and managers,” stated Shuman. “We are definitely grateful and thankful for the forward thinking of the team that Soli has put in place.”
The St. Louis Call Center has the ability to hire 58 more agents, while the current LCO FS operation at Lac Courte Oreilles has doubled its lease space and has the capacity to hire over 100 agents, but has been difficult to staff at the capacity due to finding the workforce locally.
Soli said that the St. Louis location provides an opportunity for Tribal Members who want to try something different, and to relocate to a much warmer climate and still work for the Tribe. He said they are currently hiring.
Human Resources Director, Amber Riedell, said all the employees at FS work well together and understand each other. “We’re like a family here. All the executives’ doors are always open and anyone can come in and talk to us. We all work well as a team and work together to get things done.”
Soli added, “We are actively looking for skilled and entry level applicants to become part of this growing Tribal business. Our team members are very productive, very well managed, and most importantly very happy to work for Financial Services.”
Soli said anyone interested in working at LCO FS should check out the website at LCOfinancial.com
“There is lots of great info about Financial Services and our Team Members. Be sure to check our podcasts that are hosted by Cameron Quaderer, he interviews team members to provide an insight to what goes on inside financial services,” Soli said.
Soli noted that the starting wage is $15/hr for day, and a dollar more for evening shift.
“With our bonus incentives the average agent will make $19/hr with many agents making well over $30 /hour. Same for both call centers,” Soli said.
Other incentives include scholarships for anyone going to college in Hayward; Monday lunches for all personnel; daily snacks/hotdogs/sodas; and both call centers get double pay for working holidays and minimum of 3 weeks’ vacation to start.
There are additional bonuses also, depending on the area FS wants to emphasis each month/quarter.