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Financial Services Law Insights and Observations

Virginia AG Sues Online Payday Lender to Enforce State Licensing Law

Payday Lending State Attorney General Enforcement Internet Lending

Consumer Finance

On July 18, Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (AG) announced a lawsuit against an online lender for allegedly making illegal payday loans in the state. The AG explained that the Virginia State Corporation Commission requires every payday loan lender to obtain a license before conducting business in Virginia. The AG asserts that the lender did not obtain the required license.  State law limits unlicensed lenders to charging no more 12% in annual interest on a loan. The AG alleges that the rates on the online lender’s loans range from 438% annually for a 25-day loan to 1,369% annually for an eight-day loan. The AG stated that the company instructs customers to apply for loans through its website, and after the loan applications are approved, the company wires funds directly to the consumers' bank accounts in exchange for authorizing the company to directly debit loan payments from the customers’ bank accounts. The suit seeks to enjoin the company from collecting interest over the 12% state limit, and seeks consumer reimbursement of certain interest paid and civil penalties in the amount of $2,500 for each violation.

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