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Automated Services Bank to provide casino with cash-access services

La Mesa-based Borrego Springs Bank will soon provide casino cash access services to the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians’ casino in San Bernardino County.

A recent contract agreement included a “Touch ‘N’ Go Cash” ATM and credit card cash-advance services at the casino’s 1,800 slot machines.

“We are attempting to bridge the gap between traditional banking services and the Indian government,” said Frank V. Riolo, President and CEO of Borrego Springs Bank. “Understanding the complex and fluid legal and political issues of Indian Country is essential in this environment.”

Riolo said issues such as sovereignty, federal tax laws relative to Indians, and tribes’ access to available funds can complicate relationships between Indian tribes and banks.

“Historically, banks just accepted that assisting with the development of businesses or programs for tribes or individual tribal members was too difficult or not cost effective,” Riolo said.

The agreement is the first contract outside San Diego County that Borrego Springs Bank has for providing its services to an Indian casino. The bank already provides its services to Viejas Casino in Alpine. Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians has majority interest in the bank.

San Manuel Indian Bingo & Casino was founded in 1986 and employs 1,500 people, most of which are non-Indians. The 24-hour casino offers bingo, card games and video card machines.

“It’s coming full circle when Indian casinos create spin-off Indian businesses,” said San Manuel Chairman Deron Marquez. “It’s important to support Indian-owned enterprises that service and understand our needs, whether it’s tribally owned casinos, or securing financing for economic development.”

Borrego Springs Bank is the first Native American-owned bank in California, servicing east San Diego and Imperial counties. It also has 14 Small Business Administration loan production offices in seven states. The bank has assets of $85 million and $77 million in deposits as of Dec. 31, 2000.

The bank also recently expanded its board of directors to include Mark A. Macarro, chairman of Pechanga Band of Luiseno Mission Indians in Temecula; Anthony R. Pico, retired chairman of the Viejas tribe; and Daniel Tucker, vice chairman of the Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation.

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