Payday lender arrested for illegal online loans, high interest


North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein has temporarily barred a Florida-based financial services company from operating in North Carolina, accusing him in a lawsuit of charging 120% to 200% interest on illegal online loans.

A Superior Court judge granted Stein’s request for a temporary restraining order against Approved Financial, which the attorney general says is not licensed to operate in the state.

The lender is reaching out to potential customers by email and phone, circumventing state consumer laws by forcing borrowers to travel to South Carolina to get their money back, according to a press release.

“North Carolina has driven out payday lenders so they can’t take advantage of North Carolina workers,” Stein said in the statement. “We will not allow them to try again to operate in our state by circumventing the law and using online channels.”

Approved Financial has loaned funds to more than 380 people statewide, amounts ranging from $ 500 to $ 5,000. The company’s loans require borrowers to secure loans with the titles of their cars, which allows Approved Financial to repossess vehicles from late-paying customers.

The judge’s order prevents Approved Financial from granting or collecting loans for the next 35 days, the statement said, during which Stein’s office will seek a permanent injunction. Stein is also asking for repayments for the borrowers and for civil penalties against the company.

An attorney for the company did not immediately return an email seeking comment.

This story was originally published May 21, 2019 9:27 a.m.

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Josh Shaffer covers Wake County and Federal Courts. He has been a reporter for The News & Observer since 2004 and previously wrote a column on unusual people and places.


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