By Lisa Hagan – WABE 90.1
Western Sky Financial, LLC, owes $15 million for an illegal payday lending operation.
The Georgia Supreme Court has ruled that a South Dakota company violated Georgia’s ban on payday lenders.
The court has ordered Western Sky Financial to pay more than $15 million. That’s the amount prosecutors estimate the company collected from Georgians since the case started.
Liz Coyle heads Georgia Watch. It’s a consumer advocacy organization that tipped the attorney general off about Western Sky.
“We know what a detrimental effect on Georgians and Georgia families these predatory lenders have, so it’s fortunate that Georgia does have a strong ban on payday lenders and a department of law that enforces that ban,” said Coyle.
But she said payday lenders are no longer the main way people are getting ripped off.
“Unfortunately the state still has small dollar lending through title pawn loans that trap Georgians in the same cycle of debt as payday lending and end up with rates as high as 300 percent APR,” said Coyle.
She said the number of companies that let people take out high-cost loans against their car titles has grown since state lawmakers made payday lending illegal.
Her group estimates title loans companies pull in just under $200 million annually in Georgia.
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Source: WABE 90.1