Usury is usury | Arkansas Blog

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Usury is usury

Posted By on Thu, Nov 6, 2008 at 9:39 AM

Thanks to repeated wrong-headed jurisprudence in Pulaski circuit court, it took a while to get to this obvious conclusion. But the state Supreme Court has ruled unainmously that calling interest a check cashing fee or cash advance fee doesn't make it something other than interest. The Constitution limits interest to 17 percent on these types of loans.

Arkansas Business has the story on the long-expected, thoroughly unsurprising (it was presaged by any number of pointed preliminary decisions, but the blood-suckers kept sucking while any avenue of greed remained) but historic ruling on check cashers.

I'll give you the link to the full opinion when the syllabus goes on-line.

A statement from the winning lawyer in this case (a heroic figure, in my view, given his determination on this), is on the jump.

The following is a statement from attorney Todd Turner of Arkadelphia regarding today’s decision by the Arkansas Supreme Court declaring that the Check-cashers Act violates the Arkansas Constitution. A copy of the court’s decision is attached. 

“We are very pleased with today's ruling.  This is a great victory for Arkansas consumers.  There are many attorneys, including my co-counsel, Chris Averitt, and organizations who worked very hard on this case and we hope that this will signal an end to usurious payday lending in Arkansas. Arkansans Against Abusive Payday Lending, a coalition of organizations and individuals who have worked to curtail these unfair practices, has been instrumental in developing public awareness of this issue.

    The aim of this lawsuit was to stop the state from licensing usurious payday lenders and to remove this unconstitutional law from the books.  After five years of litigation, we have accomplished that objective.  We especially appreciate the time and commitment of the individuals who have served as plaintiffs in this case.  The plaintiffs included payday loan victims and concerned citizens such as North Little Rock Mayor Patrick Henry Hays who never visited a payday loan store but who were nonetheless committed to challenging this legislation.

    We have always maintained that the practice of imposing triple-digit interest rates on borrowers was immoral.  Today, the Arkansas Supreme Court confirmed that the practice is also illegal.”


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