(This is an excerpt of a press release by the Office of the San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera)
San Francisco (July 26, 2012) — City Attorney Dennis Herrera was joined at a news conference today by City Treasurer Jose Cisneros, San Francisco Labor Council Executive Director Tim Paulson, and S.F. Interfaith Council Executive Director Michael Pappas to highlight the upcoming final 60-day mark of the City’s statewide push to locate consumers who may be eligible for restitution from Money Mart and Loan Mart in amounts ranging from $20 to $1,800. Victims of the payday lender’s predatory lending schemes were also on hand to speak to the news media about their own experiences.
The restitution outreach program is among the terms of an agreement Herrera’s office negotiated to settle his office’s 2007 consumer protection lawsuit against the 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, Herrera’s office is authorized to undertake an additional statewide outreach effort in advance of the Oct. 1, 2012 deadline to reach all potential claimants who may have moved, or who may have dismissed or misunderstood letters from the restitution administrator.
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. The three-month push was launched earlier this month, and will include additional news conferences with community leaders and consumer advocates across the state in advance of the Oct. 1, 2012 deadline.