2019 Georgia Code
Title 16 - Crimes and Offenses
Chapter 17 - Payday Lending
§ 16-17-1. "Payday lending" defined; legislative findings; prohibited activity; no impairment of agencies with concurrent jurisdiction
(a) Without limiting in any manner the scope of this chapter, "payday lending" as used in this chapter encompasses all transactions in which funds are advanced to be repaid at a later date, notwithstanding the fact that the transaction contains one or more other elements and a "payday lender" shall be one who engages in such transactions. This definition of "payday lending" expressly incorporates the exceptions and examples contained in subsections (a) and (b) of Code Section 16-17-2.
(b) Despite the fact that the Attorney General of the State of Georgia has opined in Official Opinion 2002-3 entered on June 27, 2002, that payday lending is in violation of Georgia law and despite the fact that the Industrial Loan Commissioner has issued cease and desist orders against various payday lenders in the State of Georgia, the General Assembly has determined that payday lending continues in the State of Georgia and that there are not sufficient deterrents in the State of Georgia to cause this illegal activity to cease.
(c) The General Assembly has determined that various payday lenders have created certain schemes and methods in order to attempt to disguise these transactions or to cause these transactions to appear to be "loans" made by a national or state bank chartered in another state in which this type of lending is unregulated, even though the majority of the revenues in this lending method are paid to the payday lender. The General Assembly has further determined that payday lending, despite the illegality of such activity, continues to grow in the State of Georgia and is having an adverse effect upon military personnel, the elderly, the economically disadvantaged, and other citizens of the State of Georgia. The General Assembly has further determined that substantial criminal and civil penalties over and above those currently existing under state law are necessary in order to prohibit this activity in the State of Georgia and to cause the cessation of this activity once and for all. The General Assembly further declares that these types of loans are currently illegal and are in violation of Code Section 7-4-2. The General Assembly declares that the use of agency or partnership agreements between in-state entities and out-of-state banks, whereby the in-state agent holds a predominant economic interest in the revenues generated by payday loans made to Georgia residents, is a scheme or contrivance by which the agent seeks to circumvent Chapter 3 of Title 7, the "Georgia Industrial Loan Act," and the usury statutes of this state.
(d) Payday lending involves relatively small loans and does not encompass loans that involve interstate commerce. Certain payday lenders have attempted to use forum selection clauses contained in payday loan documents in order to avoid the courts of the State of Georgia, and the General Assembly has determined that such practices are unconscionable and should be prohibited.
(e) Without limiting in any manner the scope of this chapter, the General Assembly declares that it is the general intent of this chapter to reiterate that in the State of Georgia the practice of engaging in activities commonly referred to as payday lending, deferred presentment services, or advance cash services and other similar activities are currently illegal and to strengthen the penalties for those engaging in such activities.
(f) This chapter in no way impairs or restricts the authority granted to the commissioner of banking and finance, the Industrial Loan Commissioner, or any other regulatory authority with concurrent jurisdiction over the matters stated in this chapter.
Code 1981, § 16-17-1, enacted by Ga. L. 2004, p. 60, § 3; Ga. L. 2005, p. 60, § 16/HB 95.