Loan customers look out for high interest rates - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Loan customers look out for high interest rates

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November 11, 2004

Albany- Tammie Nunally doesn't mind reminding customers that their loan payment is due because she knows they're making fair payments to Colonial Finance.

"We deal with customers that are critical, high potential customers that just don't qualify at bank level," Nunally said.

But they still need money. And Tammie is licensed to give them a loan because she and the company she works for are certified through the Georgia Industrial Loan Association.

"We cannot give loans without being certified," she said.

We contacted about ten local loan companies. Colonial Finance was the only one that agreed to speak to us.

Some of these businesses, though, are being shut down for charging customers incredibly high interest like this one that was shut down in East Albany last week.

"The new business plan that they had adopted is that they would charge $25 for every hundred dollars," said Leah McEwen, an assistant district attorney in Dougherty County. "So if you multiplied that out, that is 365 percent."

A state law passed last year makes that a felony and it says companies can only charge up to 16 percent interest for a loan up to $3,000. But some of those companies try to hide the high interest.

"We have heard of other businesses selling phone cards, Internet access, catalog coupons and things of that nature in order to attempt to disguise the transaction," McEwen said.

But Tammie says those companies shouldn't give hers a bad name. "We're here to help people, not hurt them," Tammie said. "When they get a loan from us, we give them something that they are able to pay back."

A loan they can pay back in full and on time.

posted at 10:43 p.m. by brannon.stewart@walb.com