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Arkansas Payday Loan Industry

Arkansas payday loan companies get creative! Nothing new here.

Roughly one-third of the payday loan companies Arkansas  Attorney General Dustin McDaniel ordered to shut down or face the possibility of lawsuits have remained open and restructured their businesses to avoid state regulation, an advocacy group said in a report released Wednesday.

The report by Arkansans Against Abusive Payday Lending reported that 55 of the 156 payday lenders McDaniel targeted with cease-and-desist letters are open.

The Report indicates the lenders have adopted payday loan models in an attempt to circumvent regulations of the Check Cashers Act and the recent crackdown by Attorney General McDaniel.

McDaniel told payday lenders they would face lawsuits if they did not shut down by April 4, and 101 lenders closed in response. The attorney general in May filed lawsuits against 20 payday lenders that he said were violating the state’s constitution by charging high-interest loans.

Arkansans Against Abusive Payday Lending said that the total number of payday lenders operating in Arkansas has dropped from 237 in March to 136 this month. McDaniel’s office has said he focused on companies that offer “deferred presentment loans” where the businesses not only exchange cash for a check but also agree to delay the depositing of the check for a specific time.

The Arkansans Against Abusive Payday Lending organization said that the majority of payday lenders targeted by McDaniel but still open are now operating what they call a “money order” model where payday loans are offered at an interest rate of 8.98 percent annually. The loan is issued in a corporate check or money order. The borrower is asked to endorse the corporate check and it is cashed for an additional fee of 10 percent of the check’s amount.