State Warns Oregonians About Unlicensed Payday Lenders

Don’t bury yourself in illegal interest and fees this holiday season

With the holiday spending season under way, the Oregon Division of Finance and Corporate Securities warns consumers about the dangers of unlicensed payday lenders.

“While Oregon law limits how much can be charged for a payday loan, unlicensed lenders don’t follow the law so they lure people to websites with promises of quick cash and then charge exorbitant fees,” said David Tatman, the division’s administrator.

The division receives ongoing complaints about payday lenders who frequently charge far more than state law allows. For example, the most you should pay in interest and fees for a $100 loan is $13.06. You have 31 days to pay back the loan, and you should get a written agreement spelling out the details.

Consumers often complain that they gave payday lenders their bank account number, then later realized the lender is withdrawing far more than what they expected or that is legal.

The division recently created www.stopunlicensedloans.com to alert people to the problem of unlicensed lenders. The site also provides a list of lenders licensed to do business in Oregon; the division receives few complaints about licensed lenders.

“We understand that short-term loans are a way for some people to make ends meet,” Tatman said. “But it’s easy to dig yourself into a hole when illegal lenders charge double and triple what is allowed by law.”

Surveys show that holiday spending will likely increase this year as Americans perceive improvement in their financial situation. Still, debt remains a concern. More than half of people with incomes below $25,000 say that if they were to receive a $5,000 windfall, they would use it to pay down debt, according to a Nov. 27 survey by the Consumer Federation of America and the Credit Union National Association. A total of 32 percent of people with incomes above $100,000 said the same. 

“Of course, creating an emergency fund to help with unexpected expenses or a Christmas fund to control holiday spending are great strategies to limit debt in the first place,” Tatman said. “But when you really need a payday loan, you can avoid paying ridiculous amounts of interest simply by using a licensed lender who follows Oregon law.”

If you have questions about payday loans or whether a lender is legal in Oregon, visit the new website or call the division at 866-814-9710 (toll-free in Oregon) or 503-378-4140.

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The Division of Finance and Corporate Securities (DFCS) helps ensure that a range of financial products and services are available to Oregonians and protects consumers from financial fraud and abuse. It does that by licensing financial institutions and service providers, regulating the sale of securities in Oregon, investigating complaints and alleged violations of financial-service laws, and providing education and other resources to consumers. The division is part of the Department of Consumer and Business Services, Oregon’s largest business regulatory and consumer protection agency. For more information, visitwww.dcbs.oregon.gov.

 

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