Judge: Payday Loans are Constitutional

LITTLE ROCK, AR - A state judge says that Arkansas laws allowing "payday loan" fees that exceed the state's interest limits is constitutional.

Pulaski County Circuit Judge Barry Sims did not hear any additional testimony or evidence yesterday before ruling in the lawsuit challenging the 1999 Arkansas Check Cashers Act.  The Arkansas Supreme Court last year reversed and remanded the case to Sims for the second time after disagreeing with the judge's ruling that those suing had not exhausted their administrative appeals.

Sims said he had previously ruled from the bench that the act was constitutional, but a written order did not include that ruling.  Sims asked attorneys for the Arkansas State Board of Collection Agencies to prepare an order upholding the cashiers act.

Todd Turner, an Arkadelphia lawyer representing those suing the Arkansas State Board of Collection Agencies, said he planned to appeal Sims' ruling again to the Arkansas Supreme Court.

Turner says the act violates the state constitution by allowing payday lenders to make consumer loans with interest rates of more than 17 percent annually.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)