Cash America Settles on Payday Loans

Nov 21, 2013 9:34am

Morning Money Memo:

One of America’s largest payday lenders, Cash America, will pay $19 million to settle government claims that it improperly squeezed money out of thousands of borrowers and overcharged military customers. The settlement was the first one reached with a payday lender by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Cash America will pay a $5 million fine and about $14 million in refunds to consumers. The company did not admit wrongdoing.

Payday lenders have been sharply criticized by the Pew Charitable Trusts and other groups for charging exorbitant fees for short-term loans and putting many low-income consumers in a cycle of debt. Federal and state regulators have begun a crackdown. Earlier this month the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau started taking complaints about payday loans from borrowers.

More problems at Sears. The company’s third-quarter loss grew as the ailing department store operator’s results were hurt by weaker sales at its Kmart and Sears stores. The retailer lost $534 million in its latest quarter. That compares with a loss of $498 million a year earlier. Sales dropped 3 percent at stores that were open for at least a year.

More problems for the struggling newspaper industry, which has been hit by declining subscriptions and classified ad revenue. The Tribune Co. says it’s cutting another 700 jobs as it restructures its newspaper business. Tribune owns the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune and other newspapers.

Federal Reserve jitters returned to the stock market with concerns that the Fed might start easing back on its stimulus earlier than expected. Minutes from the latest policy meeting hinted the central bank could start reducing or tapering its bond purchases in “coming months” if the job market improved. The $85 billion monthly bond purchases have kept interest rates low. The Dow Jones index dropped 66 points Wednesday. Futures are up this morning. Asian stock averages closed down overnight.

Jurors in San Jose, Calif., begin a third day of deliberations on how much money Samsung Electronics owes Apple for copying key features of the iPhone and iPad. A previous jury found Samsung guilty of infringing on several Apple patents.

Richard Davies, Business Correspondent, ABC News Radio

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