Deal reached in 2007 payday lending lawsuit

Lawyers suing payday lenders on behalf of South Carolina customers have reached a $2.5 million settlement with more than a dozen companies.

The State newspaper of Columbia reports Friday that hundreds of thousands customers who took out high-interest payday loans between 2004 and 2009 could get up to $100. The original complainants could get $2,500. The attorneys could split $1 million.

A circuit court judge first must approve the terms. Payday lenders maintain they haven't broken any laws. Qualifying customers have until Sept. 1 to file an application to be part of the settlement.

The lawsuit dates to 2007. Advocates for the poor have long accused the industry of trapping the poor in a cycle of debt. The Legislature passed new regulations on the loans last year.

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