State shuts down USA Payday lending

Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine has ordered USA Payday Cash Advance to stop making small loans at its chain of payday loan and check cashing outlets in metro Atlanta.

Oxendine said the businesses do not have an industrial loan license from the state and are making illegal loans of $3,000 or less. He issued the order after a hearing in August that focused on the company’s financial transactions.

“They tried to deny that they were making loans, but no matter what you call it, that’s what was going on,” Oxendine said. “Georgia law clearly intends for small loans to be strictly regulated as to interest, fees, and length of the loan, and I intend to see that the law is followed.”

Oxendine’s order applies to several businesses owned or operated by Richard D. Clay, II that do business under the names of USA Payday Cash Advance Centers, USA Payday Cash Advance, Money ’til Payday and Great American Credit, Inc.

Oxendine, who is up for re-election this year, has held hearings in Macon and Atlanta into the activities of payday lending firms. As the state’s insurance commissioner, he also licenses and regulates the activities of industrial loan companies.

Legislation was introduced in the 2001 session of the General Assembly to crack down on some of the practices of payday lenders, but the bill died in a Senate committee. Oxendine got a ruling from Attorney General Thurbert Baker last summer that Georgia’s current industrial loan laws, which regulate the practices of finance companies, would also apply to payday lenders.

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