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New Yorkers can claim refunds.

New Yorkers can now file claims for more than $20 million in refunds for illegal interest they were charged on loans from Western Sky Financial and CashCall, the state's attorney general said last week.

California-based CashCall is a loan servicer that worked with Western Sky, a South Dakotabased online lender that claimed immunity from state laws because it was based on an Indian reservation and owned by a member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe.

The funds are from a settlement that the office of Attorney General Eric Schneiderman reached after it sued Western Sky Financial, Cash Call Inc., WS Funding and their owners.

Schneiderman said borrowers who got a loan from Western Sky while a resident of New York and who paid Western Sky, Cash Call or affiliated collectors more than the loan itself plus the legal interest of 16% are eligible for refunds of the illegal interest paid.

"If consumers make claims, there is more than $20 million that could be distributed," Schneiderman's statement said, adding that many borrowers already have had their loans and credit histories modified and that the companies have paid $1.5 million in penalties to the state.

"Thousands of New Yorkers who were the victims of exorbitant and illegal interest rates can receive meaningful relief through our settlement fund," Schneiderman said. He said many of the borrowers could receive funds exceeding $1,000.

The loans, acquired by Western Sky and serviced by CashCall, ranged from $850 to $10,000 with upfront fees, extensive repayment terms and yearly interest rates ranging from nearly 90% to 343%, the CFPB has said. That federal agency also sued CashCall, saying last December the company debited customer accounts for money they did not owe.

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Publication:Credit Union Times
Date:May 28, 2014
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