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BOSTON – Massachusetts Consumer Affairs Director Beth Lindstrom and Division of Banks Commissioner Steven Antonakes on Feb. 9 announced that cease activity directives were issued against 91 companies marketing payday loans to Massachusetts consumers. The announcement was hailed as a big step to combat illegal Internet payday lending activity in Massachusetts. “These loans carry exorbitant fees and interest rates and can quickly lead consumers into escalating debt,” said Lindstrom. “Equally dangerous is the huge risk of identity theft as these websites typically provide very little identifying information, but require direct access to bank accounts via cyberspace. There are far safer and less costly ways to deal with short-term cash flow problems.” “None of these companies are licensed to offer loans to Massachusetts consumers,” said Commissioner of Banks Steven L. Antonakes. “All of them charge interest rates far in excess of what our small loan law allows. Today we are ordering them to cease issuing payday loans in the Commonwealth.” The Division of Banks also contacted several local companies requesting that they no longer accept print or online advertisements from out-of-state payday lenders.

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