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Excessive Interest Rate

The Arkansas Constitution imposes an interest rate cap of 17%. The complaint for this class action alleges that Santander Consumer USA, Inc. violates this basic provision, and the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act (ADTP), with its interest charges in the financing agreement for the purchase of a vehicle.

BlueChip Financial Logo

This class action takes on the payday lending entity BlueChip Financial, which does business as Spotloan. However, it also brings suit against officials of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians, which purportedly owns BlueChip, for acting as a front for Spotloan.

Big Picture Loans Logo

This is yet another class action taking on a “rent-a-tribe” payday loan scheme. Big Picture Loans, LLC was not actually a tribal company, the complaint for this class action alleges, but a scheme designed to get around licensing requirements and laws that prohibit lenders from charging too much interest. (Note that this case was transferred from another jurisdiction and so has two different case numbers on documents.)

Great Plains Lending Logo

This is the fourth complaint these same plaintiffs have filed for this “rent-a-tribe” usury scheme, each time against a different group of defendants. This time, defendants are Mark Curry, Brian McGowan, Eric Lau, and Sentinel Resources, LLC. The class action claims they have violated Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) laws as well as Virginia’s usury laws.

Mariner Star Logo

This settlement resolves a class action against Mariner Finance, LLC. The complaint alleged that Mariner charged customers refinancing charges but did not include those with the simply interest rate in the promissory notes, possibly because the interest rates might then higher than allowed by Maryland laws.

Debt Ball and Chain

States have usury laws that prevent lenders from setting outrageous terms that hard-pressed customers will never be able to fulfill. But these laws don’t always apply to short-term loans. The complaint for this class actions cites one company, Speedy Cash, that allegedly charges interest rates, fees, and penalties so high that borrowers can never repay their loans, and it claims that the company deliberately presents the loan agreements in such a way that customers have no time to review them and see what they are really signing up for. 

Payday Loan Sign in Storefront Window

This is the third of three related cases alleging that unscrupulous lenders have used Native American tribal sovereignty to get around state usury laws and illegally extract nearly $70 million from Virginia residents in the last four years. The forty-page complaint contains a great deal of detail on the workings of the two tribal companies and the roles and actions of different parties in the scheme. The complaint alleges violations of (1) the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) laws, which forbid the “collection of unlawful debt” and (2) Virginia laws prohibiting the charging of more than 12% interest on loans.

Bank of America Branch Sign

Bank of America is paying nearly $42 million to settle claims that it violated the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, the Truth in Lending Act, North Carolina’s Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices Act, as well as common law, by charging service members and their families excessive interest rates on mortgages, credit card accounts, and other interest-bearing obligations, and by attempting to hide

Percentage Sign with Upward Arrow

According to the complaint for this class action, plaintiff Lazarao Cintron was charged more interest than the state usury law allows. Prosper, Inc. gave Cintron a personal loan of $4,000 at 17.99% interest, the complaint alleges, under a contract which had a New Jersey choice of law provision. However, under the usury laws for the state of New Jersey, the maximum permissible rate of interest is 16%. Later, Prosper transferred or assigned the loan to Monterey Financial Services, which also attempted to collect the loan with its excessive interest rates.

Tribal Item

This class action involves a payday loan scheme that combines interest rates in excess of 400%, a snarl of interlocking companies, and a “rent-a-tribe” agreement that attempts to use Native American tribal rights as a shield against federal and state usury laws. The name of defendant Kenneth Rees as well as the general outline of the case will be familiar to those who know of the other class action filed against Plain Green and Great Plains a couple of months after this one. The complaint alleges that defendants violated RICO laws as well as Virginia’s usury laws and asks, among other things, that the loans be declared null and void.