BOSTON – Many people who are struggling to make ends meet are looking for quick loans online to be successful.
Carlos Maldonado needed the money quickly to pay some bills. He went online and found Integra Credit.
“It sounded very honest, so I just kept clicking,” said Maldonado.
But Maldonado asked for help after noticing he had to pay an interest rate of over 100%.
“This is what they sent me,” Carlos Maldonado said, showing his loan documents.
He was approved for a loan of $ 2,500 and then noticed that after making the payments he still had a high balance. Maldonado asked for documents and found he had to pay an interest rate of 141% and the cost of the loan was $ 3,200. In total, he is expected to repay $ 5,700.
“141% just doesn’t make sense to the dumbest person in the world,” Maldonado said.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has received 20 complaints about Integra Credit from dissatisfied customers in the past two years. A consumer claimed he was charged 275% interest.
“Lenders are certainly taking advantage of people’s desperation and their need to lock them into high interest rate loans like this,” said consumer lawyer Jared Lee.
Lee says that in some states, Maldonado’s loan would have a capped interest rate, but he says some online lenders have found a way around state-regulated rate limits.
“There is actually a practice commonly known as bank leasing where non-bank entities use a chartered bank just to create a loan and then transfer that loan to the entity that actually makes the loan,” Lee said.
Integra Credit uses a bank in Utah, where there is no limit on the rates that lenders can charge borrowers.
“Legislative efforts are underway to explore the possibility of a cap on domestic interest rates, and this is something consumers should consider and decide their opinion,” Lee said.
Integra Credit did not respond to requests for comment.
Maldonado says the high rate loan keeps him from paying for his diabetic needs. “This company takes the money I’m supposed to put in on drugs, giving it to them just doesn’t make sense.”
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