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Internet Payday Loan Companies Under Attack by Regulators

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Baltimore, MDConcerned about high interest rates, astronomical fees and predatory practices, some states are cracking down on Internet payday loan companies. Not only are the online payday loan companies under scrutiny, but some of the banks that may aid the online lenders in doing business are also facing questions about their policies. At the root is whether these online loan companies are operating illegally in certain states, and whether some banks are responsible for helping them to do so.

Individual states have different regulations responsible for online and payday lending. Some require lenders to have a license if they charge above a certain interest rate. Others make predatory lending illegal. Because many payday loan companies operate online, rather than in a brick-and-mortar storefront, consumers may still be able to access these loans, even if it is illegal for the lender to operate in the consumer’s state.

According to a white paper by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (4/24/13), titled “Payday Loans and Deposit Advance Products,” although the use of online payday loans is small compared to those from a storefront loan, online loan use is growing and could one day become more popular than loans offered from a storefront.

The report notes that online loans tend to come with fees equal to or higher than storefront loans, possibly because of the cost of customer acquisition and the higher loss rate. Some online loans come with an automatic rollover, in which the lender only debits the consumer’s account for the fee and the loan is automatically rolled over. It is then up to the borrower to notify the lender if he or she wishes to pay the loan in full.

Although the report focuses on storefront payday loans (the bureau noted it would be conducting an analysis of the online loan market in the future), because the fees are similar, some of the findings can be extended to online payday lenders. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau notes that with storefront loans, fees are typically expressed as a dollar amount per $100 borrowed. Most fees run from $10 to $20 per $100 borrowed; a fee of $15 per $100 borrowed equals an APR of 391 percent on a 14-day loan.

A concern for critics is that the people using these loans are often struggling to pay their basic expenses, and predatory loans with high fees are likely to push them further into financial difficulty.

Some states are now investigating online payday lenders, with New York filing a lawsuit against three lenders, alleging the lenders charged interest rates that were higher than the state allowed. On August 12, 2013, New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman announced lawsuits were filed against Western Sky Financial, LLC; CashCall, Inc; WS Funding, LLC; and their owners for violating lending laws.

According to a news release from Schneiderman, the companies facing the lawsuits charged annual interest rates from 89 percent to 355 percent - much higher than the 16 percent cap on most lenders not licensed by the state.

“The companies took advantage of these consumers by charging extremely high rates of interest that were above New York State’s usury caps,” according to the news release. “For example, consumers that received loans of $1,000 were charged an interest rate of more than 234%, and had to repay as much as $4,942 in interest and principal over just two years."

In response to the lawsuit, Western Sky Financial reportedly announced it would stop funding loans on September 3, 2013. On its website, the company blamed “unwarranted regulator oversight” for the decision to lay off approximately 100 employees.

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READER COMMENTS

Posted by

on
I am dealing with 2 payday loans right now which are: Plain green loans, and cash call. I live in the state of Georgia and would like to know how to legally get rid of them and get them out of my bank account. I am tired of being harass by these peoples.

Posted by

on
I am dealing with 2 payday loans right now which are: Plain green loans, and cash call. I live in the state of Georgia and would like to know how to legally get rid of them and get them out of my bank account.

Posted by

on
First ofall my first loan in 2011 was with weatern sky, i paid it off or i would have had to pay 8.000.00 over 4years of interest. the loan was for 2500.00 and they still got over a thousand off me in interest, 2nd loan was with cash call and basicly the same thing in 2012. NOW i have another loan which swicthed to cash call made 5pymts, of 300 per month and all of a sudden a company called dellbert services, a bank out of las vegas took it over and since then i refuse to make a pymt. i live in pennsylvania and they said western sky sold my loan to them and did NOT mention cash call and said they dont know who they are and i said i dont know who delbert services are!!!!Is this legal?? There are other lenders i used which are MY CASH NOW, MOBILE LOANS, PLAIN GREEN LOANS.My cash now i was dealing with for 3 years and never missed a pymt and i paid at least over 10,000.00 in interest.Sometimes i used them because i counted on my overtime at work , thats how i got wrapped up on these internet payday loans and ended up getting a new loan to pay off an old loan and so on so fourth, i need help

Posted by

on
Don't apply online to these payday loan companies. Not only are they predators, your personal information is being stolen. These criminals are relentless contacting you with bogus claims for money owed to payday lenders. They Will threaten you with arrest and jail time,. They Will call your employer constantly. You will harassed constantly for months on end. There is nothing you can do to stop them, it could go on for years. This is no joke. They Will make your life miserable and possibly cost your job. Never ever send money to them.

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