North Carolina Department of Justice
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Statement from Attorney General Roy Cooper on Advance America case

Release date: 12/27/2005

Statement from Attorney General Roy Cooper on Advance America case:

 

“We’re pleased that this decision prevents payday lenders from using out-of-state banks to avoid North Carolina law. The Commisioner’s well reasoned opinion stops these illegal loans by protecting North Carolinians from sky-high interest rates and unreasonable terms.”

Background:

On August 26, 2004, Cooper issued an investigative demand seeking information about Advance America’s payday lending operations in North Carolina. Advance America claimed that its loans were made by an out of state bank, but Cooper argued that Advance America was actually lending money at high interest rates in violation of North Carolina law. In February 2005, Advance America was called before the Commissioner of Banks to answer these charges. Cooper’s office prosecuted the case and the Commissioner ruled in Cooper’s favor today. The ruling can be found at the Commisioner’s website (http://www.nccob.org/).

A summary of other actions to date taken by Cooper against payday lenders in North Carolina:

The Attorney General’s Office and the State Commissioner of Banks have worked together on the issue of payday lending since state legislators allowed North Carolina’s payday lending law to expire after four years on August 31, 2001. After sunset of the law, many payday lenders closed their doors while others circumvented the state’s laws, by affiliating with out of state banks or claiming their loans are rebates on Internet service contracts.

  • Check into Kwik Kash: Judgment entered in December 2003 finding check cashing payday loans to be void and permanently enjoining defendants from offering any loans.
  • ACE Cash Express (made payday loans in partnership with Goleta National Bank): Settled in December 2002. ACE agreed to cease making or originating payday loans in North Carolina for one year.
  • Timrik, Inc.: Check cashing payday lender enjoined in January 2002 from making or collecting on payday loans.
  • Crawford's Leasing: Check casher who opened personal property and car "sale" and leaseback business to evade lending laws. Consent judgment entered in November 2003 with permanent injunction against conducting this type of business and declaration that loans are unenforceable.
  • Highlands Venture, LLC (dba Speed Net): Court judgment in May 2004 declaring the company’s Internet rebate transactions were subterfuges to avoid lending laws, declaring loans to be unenforceable, and enjoining defendants from offering further Internet cash rebates.
  • NCCS Loans, Inc. (dba Advance Internet): former payday lender changed operation to offer cash rebates of up to $500 if consumers signed one-year contracts to pay $60 every 2 weeks (for a $300 rebate) to use Advance Internet's in-store computer to access the Internet. Court ruled in Attorney General’s favor on February 2004 effectively stopping Advance Internet's operation. Written order issued by Judge W. Osmond Smith III in August 2004. Court of Appeals upholds lower court ruling on November 1, 2005.