HARRISBURG (KDKA) -- Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced a settlement with Think Finance, a payday lender that has targeted nearly 80,000 Pennsylvanians.
According to the suit, the national online payday lender engineered a $133 million scheme that was charging interest rates of 448%.
The settlement cancels all remaining balances on the illegal loans.
"This is a model of how aggressive enforcement by one state can lend itself to nationwide relief for consumers," said Attorney General Josh Shapiro. "The settlement will provide relief to approximately 80,000 Pennsylvanians who fell victim to the $133 million payday loan scheme engineered by Think Finance and its affiliates, as well as to consumers across the country who were also affected. Our Bureau of Consumer Protection will hold accountable anyone who tries to exploit Pennsylvania consumers by charging illegal interest rates."
Along with voiding all remaining balances, the settlement will allow borrowers that repaid more than the loan principal and lawful 6% interest to share in a multi-million dollar fund created in the settlement. Those involved will receive a check in the mail and will not have to take any further action to claim their refund.
The suit alleges that websites shielded themselves from state and federal law through operating under the guise of Native American tribes and the First Bank of Delaware. According to Shapiro, this violated the Pennsylvania Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law, the Pennsylvania Corrupt Organizations Act, the Pennsylvania Fair Credit Extension Uniformity Act, and the federal Consumer Financial Protection Act of 2010.
Those affected will receive notices if they are eligible relief and those wanting to learn more can visit the PA Think Finance Settlement website or by calling 1-877-641-8838.
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