Banking Committee Chair: ‘Payday loan sharks preying on most vulnerable’

Hartford, Conn. (WTNH)–  ‘Payday Loans’ with interest rates between 200 and 400 percent are being offered to Connecticut residents through direct mail and the internet, by a lending company associated with a Native American Tribe in Oklahoma.

The co-chair of the General Assembly’s Banking Committee is blowing the whistle on this and he’s getting help from the Governor and the leaders of both of Connecticut’s federally recognized tribes

If you or someone you know has received a letter from ‘Great Plains Lending,’  you or someone you know has been targeted to get on the hook for some of the highest interest rates imaginable.   A loan you are unlikely ever to be able to repay.

“Payday ‘Loan Sharks’ who are preying on the most vulnerable citizens of our state they are exploiting the the poorest residents of our state, the residents of or cities,” said Rep. Matt Lesser (D-Middletown), the co-chair of the Banking Committee.  “Any entity trying to do business in the state of Connecticut has no right to charge our citizens 448 percent interest rates,”  added Gov. Dannel Malloy (D-Connecticut).

‘Great Plains Lending’ is associated with a Native American tribe in Oklahoma and has been taken to court by the Connecticut Banking Department because short term loan interest rates are capped in Connecticut at 12 percent.

Because of that a third group has been putting up billboards and sending direct mail post cards accusing Governor Malloy of attacking Native American Tribes.

And because of that, the chairman of Connecticut’s two federally recognized tribes came to the State Capitol today to clear things up.  “To insure that Connecticut residents don’t mistake the flyers that they’re seeing the billboards that they’re seeing with these two tribes in the state of Connecticut,” said Mohegan Tribal Chairman Kevin Brown.
‘Tribes and the entire industry should also insure they are being responsible and that their customers can repay those loans without getting charged unreasonable fees and paying extremely high interest rates,”  added Rodney Butler, the tribal chairman of the Mashantuckets.
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The state has fined the Otoe-Missouria Tribe of Oklahoma  $ 1.5 million for violating state loan regulations.  According to Bloomberg News, the Oklahoma tribe believes they have the right to charge the high rates under federal law.

Now the General Assembly is quickly crafting a law that says no Connecticut resident can be held liable for any amount in excess of the maximum, state allowed, 12 percent interest rate.

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