State regulators reach million dollar settlement with internet lender

OKLAHOMA CITY - The Oklahoma Department of Consumer Credit says online lender, CashCall, exploited Oklahoma consumers.

“This is the classic rent-a-tribe,” said the Oklahoma Department of Consumer Credit’s deputy administrator, Ruben Tornini.

The state charges CashCall with servicing and collecting large sums of cash on illegally made loans.

“Their original argument [is] because they didn't make the loan with excessive charges, that's not their deal,” Tornini said.

Tribal lender Western Sky Financial created the loans.

Remember the state has no jurisdiction over tribal lending, so tribes can charge customers excessive interest rates and get away with it!

Non-tribal lenders like CashCall though are licensed by the state and must follow a different set of rules. 

Tornini says CashCall was exploiting the tribe to get around state law.

“The benefit to a legitimate company just collecting is being able to say, ‘Hold up a second. We didn't make that loan [and] if it's excessive that's not our problem,’” said Tornini. That's where we've come in and said, ‘No you can't collect that loan because the charges are excessive,’”

CashCall is barred from doing business in Oklahoma.

It must pay a million dollars in relief to about $6,500 borrowers in our state, plus forgive all debt and remove any negative information from credit reports.

The In Your Corner bottom line:

  • Avoid online pay day or short-term loans.
  • Make sure the lender is licensed with the state.
  • Check a lender's licence here.

The Department of Consumer Credit wants to hear from anyone who took out a loan with Western Sky or made payments to CashCall.

“We found that phone numbers change, addresses change,” Tornini said. “You can imagine we're going to send out all of this certified mail [and] it's going to come back non-deliverable.