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 lawsuit, the national online payday lender designed a $133 million program that charged interest rates of 448%.
The settlement cancels all remaining balances on the illegal loans.
“It’s a model of how aggressive enforcement by one state can lend itself to national relief for consumers,” Attorney General Josh Shapiro said. “The settlement will provide relief to approximately 80,000 Pennsylvanians who were victims of the $133 million payday loan program designed by Think Finance and its affiliates, as well as consumers across the country who were also affected. Our Consumer Protection Bureau will hold anyone accountable who tries to exploit Pennsylvania consumers by charging illegal interest rates.”
In addition to canceling any remaining balances, the settlement will allow borrowers who have repaid more than the loan principal and the statutory 6% interest to share in a multi-million dollar fund created as part of the settlement. The persons concerned will receive a check by mail and will not have to take any other steps to claim their reimbursement.
The suit alleges that the websites shielded themselves from state and federal laws by operating under the guise of Native American tribes and the First Bank of Delaware. According to Shapiro, this violated Pennsylvania’s Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Act, Pennsylvania’s Corrupt Organizations Act, Pennsylvania’s Fair Credit Extension Uniformity Act, and the 2010 federal law on consumer financial protection.
Affected individuals will receive notices if they are eligible and those wishing to learn more can visit the PA Think Finance Settlement website or by calling 1-877-641-8838.