Online Fast Cash Lenders to Pay $9 Million to Settle Claims of Illegal Lending to North Carolina Consumers

On June 21, 2016, the North Carolina Attorney General announced that two online fast cash lenders have agreed to pay more than $9 million in refunds for allegedly illegal loans issued to North Carolina consumers.  The settlement stems from a December 2013 complaint alleging that the lenders violated North Carolina usury and consumer protection laws by making loans to North Carolina residents at exorbitant “interest rates from 89.68% to 342.86% per annum.”  In August 2015, the Court issued a preliminary injunction barring the companies from lending to consumers in North Carolina.  Under the terms of the consent judgment, the companies must (1) cease all unlicensed lending activities in North Carolina; (2) cease all collection activities on loans made to North Carolina borrowers; (3) “cancel, release, forgive, and adjust to zero balance all outstanding loans”; (4) contact the credit bureaus “to request that any credit reporting by Defendants for all North Carolina Borrowers…be removed”; (5) pay $9,025,000 in refunds to North Carolina consumers; and (6) pay $350,000 “for reimbursement of the State’s costs and attorneys’ fees” and “to cover the costs of the Administrator and expenses incurred in providing notice and processing reimbursements.”  The defendants allegedly had sought to evade North Carolina law through affiliation with a Native American tribe.