New York Joins Ranks of State AGs Suing Internet Payday Lenders

Posted on August 16th, 2013 in E-Commerce, Payments, State Issues By BuckleySandler

On August 12, New York Attorney General (AG) Eric Schneiderman announced a lawsuit against payday lending firms and their owners for allegedly violating the state’s usury and licensed lender laws in connection with their issuing of personal loans over the Internet. The AG claims that the companies charged annual interest rates from 89% to more than 355% to thousands of New York consumers, which rates far exceed the 16% rate cap set by state law. The AG joins the FTC and other state attorneys general who have acted against some of these and other Internet lending companies. Federal and state authorities more generally have been ratcheting up their scrutiny of online lending, and the AG’s action follows an inquiry initiated last week by the New York Department of Financial Services concerning payday lending. The AG states that his investigation began last fall.  He is seeking a court order prohibiting the companies and individuals from engaging in further illegal lending or enforcing existing usurious loan contracts, cancellation of all outstanding loans, restitution for borrowers of all interest collected above the legal limit of 16% interest, disgorgement of profits, and penalties of up to $5,000 per violation for deceptive acts and practices.

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