Payday loan signs still pepper Tucson

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Nearly two months after payday loans became illegal in Arizona, some stores have covered up the "Payday" portion of the sign, others have replaced them with signs for other products; yet, signs still exist in Tucson that advertise the high interest loans.

Attorney General Terry Goddard says those signs should be gone.  "It would be very suspicious if the name on the store still says payday loans," said Goddard.

Goddard says it's not illegal to have the sign, but it is illegal for businesses to still offer payday loans.

The staff at two local stores advertising payday loans said they no longer offered the high interest loans, but also offered little reason as to why the signs were still up.

Attorney General Goddard was not sympathetic to the excuses offered.  "I suppose you could have lots of excuses for why you didn't take down the sign on the first of July, but now it's almost the end of August, those signs should be gone," said Goddard.

Arizona voters overwhelmingly defeated a ballot measure two years ago that would have extended the life of payday loan stores in the state.

Now, many offer auto title loans, or products that are capped at 36% interest rates.

In case a business does try to offer something similar to a payday loan, the attorney general's office wants to know.  "We have had some complaints," said Goddard.  "I'm very pleased that the borrowing public has been vigilant and they have given us some calls."

People can call the Attorney General's payday lending hot-line to report any problems, or visit the 'Operation Sunset' web site for more information.