Washington State Department of Financial Institutions

News Release

Thursday, April 6, 2006

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

DFI Takes Action Against Unlicensed Payday Lender

OLYMPIA, WA – Regulators at the Washington State Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) fined Uncle Buck$, located in Selah, Washington, for conducting unlicensed check cashing and payday lending services. Upon receiving a statement of charges and a cease and desist order from DFI, the company stopped doing business, requested a hearing, and settled the matter. After paying the fines and signing the order on March 28, Uncle Buck$ was issued a license to operate.

DFI visited the business on February 9, 2006 after receiving a tip from a consumer. Company records revealed that unlicensed check cashing and small loan activity took place from at least December 2005 through March 6, 2006. During this time, Uncle Buck$ collected over $3,800.00 in check cashing fees from over 175 consumers. The company failed to disclose the terms of small loans to borrowers, and loan agreements included fees in excess of the maximum allowed by law. Uncle Buck$ was ordered not to do business without a license and the company closed its doors on March 7, 2006.

By signing the consent order, Uncle Buck$ agreed to cooperate with DFI, maintain all books and records according to law, and undergo annual examinations for two years or face additional fines and other prohibitions outlined in the order. The company was fined $4,000 and over $1,500 in investigation costs. In addition, Uncle Buck$ must lower their rates by 50% for a period of three months.

Tips for Consumers
For more information about payday loans, visit DFI’s consumer education pages  or call 1-877-746-4334.

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Contact:

Martha Dickens, Communications Consultant, DFI, 360-902-8731 or via email at mdickens@dfi.wa.gov.

Interviews:

To arrange an interview with Chuck Cross, Director of the Division of Consumer Services, contact Martha Dickens.
DFI