FTC investigates Native American tribe payday loan operation

CBS News reports AMG Services is  under investigation by the FTC (Federal Trade commission) and is being chased by multiple states’ Attorney General.  AMG offers cash advances through multiple portals.  The company is owned by a Native America tribe, which should provide them immunity from US law.  The Colorado Attorney General argued at a November hearing that while a small Native American tribe owns the businesses, Level 5 Motorsports race car driver and convicted felon Scott Tucker actually runs the payday lending operations. AMG Services employs Scott Tucker.

Not sure why the FTC would get involved, but they are.  What is noteworthy is that the Colorado AG claims that the operation is bringing in $16M to $20M per month.  The tribe gets 1%, which equates to $160k-$200k per month.

Paying out 1% to the tribe makes a lot of sense, when you do not have to follow state law.  I don’t blame lenders for partnering with tribes, although it is unfair to the licensed lenders that have put up with all the legislative BS.

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  1. Jer
    Posted December 30, 2011 at 6:13 am | Permalink

    You’re right, Nick! The payday loan “brick-n-mortars,” in addition to the Internet Lenders employing the state-by-state licensing models, are in regulatory hell.

    However, I expect the state AG’s and legislators will pass favorable legislation eventually, in an effort to circumvent tribes and offshore Lenders from gaining access to consumer data. Maybe the Fed’s will get into the act as well.

    The DOJ’s reinterpretation of the 1961 Wire Act enabling online gaming will add additional pressure. REALLY INTERESTING times for those of us in the payday loan space!!

    Jer

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