Deal reached in 2007 payday lending lawsuit

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - Lawyers suing payday lenders on behalf of South Carolina customers have reached a $2.5 million settlement with several companies.

The lawsuit includes hundreds of thousands of customers who had a high-interest payday loan with the companies named in the lawsuit from Aug. 27, 2004 to Dec. 31, 2009. Those customers could get up to $100.

The original complainants could get $2,500. The attorneys could split $1 million.

A circuit court judge first must approve the terms. Payday lenders maintain they haven't broken any laws. Qualifying customers have until Sept. 1 to file an application to be part of the settlement.

The lawsuit dates to 2007. Advocates for the poor have long accused the industry of trapping the poor in a cycle of debt. The Legislature passed new regulations on the loans last year.

The lenders who are defendants in the lawsuit are:

  • Advance America
  • Cash Advance Centers of South Carolina, Inc.
  • Advance America, Cash Advance Centers, Inc.
  • Carolina Payday Loans, Inc.
  • Southern Fast Loans of South Carolina, Inc. d/b/a Quick Cash
  • Check Into Cash of South Carolina, Inc.
  • Check 'N Go of South Carolina, Inc.
  • Southern Specialty Finance, Inc.
  • QC Holdings Cos.
  • QC Financial Services, Inc.
  • Local Cash Advance of SC, LLC
  • Local Cash Advance of South Carolina III, LLC
  • Local Cash Advance of South Carolina II, LLC
  • Local Cash Advance of SC IV, LLC
  • Express Check Advance of South Carolina, LLC
  • Check Advance, Inc.
  • Crusader Cash Advance of South Carolina, LLC d/b/a Crusader Cash Advance

Copyright 2010 WTOC. All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.