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VEDC in push to find consumers owed $ 7.5 million by Money Mart, Loan Mart before October 1st

September 4, 2012

Contact: Lisa Winkle, VEDC
(818) 907-9977

VEDC in push to find consumers owed $7.5 million by Money Mart, Loan Mart before October 1st

Statewide bid to maximize restitution to borrowers victimized by fraudulent lending practices

LOS ANGELES (August 28, 2012)— VEDC is searching for victims of payday lenders’ predatory lending schemes who may be eligible for restitution from Money Mart and Loan Mart in amounts ranging from $20 to $1,800. The majority of these borrowers are low- and medium-income families. These lending predators especially prey on the immigrant communities throughout California. There are 7 Money Marts / Loan Marts in the Greater Los Angeles area and in these tough economic times restitution to these victims could make a real positive impact.

Under terms of the settlement agreement, Money Mart and Loan Mart are required to forgive $8 million in other debt owed by California consumers.

California consumers who obtained short-term installment loans from Money Mart and Loan Mart from 2005 through 2007, and oversized payday loans from Money Mart and Loan Mart in 2005, may be eligible for restitution of most of interest, fees and finance charges they paid. Unfortunately, there is not a list of eligible claimants and the $7.5 million in repayment funds from the settlement has a claim deadline of October 1, 2012.

The restitution outreach program is among the terms of an agreement negotiated to settle 2007 consumer protection lawsuit against payday lenders Money Mart and Loan Mart and an affiliated out-of-state bank for unfair and fraudulent business practices. The alleged wrongdoing stemmed from the lenders’ marketing of short-term installment loans and oversized payday loans, usually targeted to low-income borrowers, at exorbitant and illegal interest rates.

While the settlement requires the lenders to engage an independent administrator to make “reasonable efforts” to contact all eligible claimants, VEDC is attempting to undertake additional outreach efforts in advance of the Oct. 1, 2012 deadline to reach all potential claimants.

VEDC is asking for assistance from all reporters, editors and broadcasters who cover consumer affairs issues in California to assist in identifying all potential claimants statewide to learn more:

• By visiting http://www.sfcityattorney.org/index.aspx?page=442 to complete a claim form.
• By calling the Money Mart Settlement Hotline at (866) 497-5497
• By emailing further inquiries to: MoneyMartSettlement@sfgov.org

The litigation involving the Money Mart/Loan Mart settlement is: People of the State of California ex rel. Dennis Herrera v. Check N’ Go of California, Inc., et al. (San Francisco Superior Court Case No. CGC-07-462779).
This is the first of a series of settlements. The next settlement is expected with Check N’ Go with an anticipated claim period beginning in the fall.

About VEDC
VEDC is the largest non-profit small business lender in metro Los Angeles and offers direct micro and small business loans as well as SBA 7(a) and SBA 504 loans. VEDC has a $20 million loan portfolio and almost $40 million under management and originates loans totaling more than $35 million annually to businesses locally and statewide. With six locations throughout the Los Angeles area and San Francisco, VEDC has supported the small business owner for over 35 years with the goal of creating and sustaining jobs and businesses in low to moderate income communities by providing high-quality small business services. For more information visit www.vedc.org.

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