The state Department of Financial Institutions has issued a temporary cease and desist order against payday lender Checkmania Inc., a Carlsbad, Calif.-based company that does business in Washington under the names Checkmate and Checkmate Express.
Checkmate and Checkmate Express operate 20 branches in Washington, including locations in Tumwater, Olympia and Lacey, according to the Checkmate website.
The cease and desist order requires Checkmate to stop offering and selling a “retail installment loan program,” which charged an annual percentage rate of up to 391 percent for a 15-day loan. The loans were due on the borrower’s next payday. The company also must stop making loans to borrowers that exceed statutory loan limits, according to DFI. In other words, the loans were marketed to borrowers who had already reached their eight-loan limit. “Of the 43 loans made to borrowers at one branch, 90 percent exceeded the statutory limitations passed by the Legislature,” DFI’s Director of Consumer Services Deb Bortner said in a statement.
The temporary cease and desist order names Checkmania Inc., Checkmate, Checkmate Express Corp. and Checkmate Express. All four have the right to request a hearing on the order, according to DFI.