If your finances are touch-and-go, you can go to Check 'n Go. The subsidiary of CNG Financial provides customers with payday loans, which are unsecured, short-term cash advances often used to cover unplanned expenses. Borrowers can apply at any of Check 'n Go's some 1,000 branch locations in about 25 states, or via the company's web site. Loan amounts typically range from $50 to $1,500; maximum amounts and interest rates are determined by the laws of the state that the loan is originated in. As the payday loan industry faces increased scrutiny over what are perceived to be unfair lending practices, Check 'n Go has introduced new products and services such as check cashing, installment loans, and title loans.
It also provides prepaid MasterCard debit cards through its sister company, Axcess Financial. In 2009 CNG inked an agreement with Western Union to offer cash transfers, money orders, and bill payment services.
Also that year the company announced plans to exit Virginia and shutter nearly 70 stores there after a law restricting payday loans took effect at the beginning of the year. The company also modified its offerings in its home state of Ohio, where a cap on interest rates that payday lenders can charge compelled it to close about half of its 70 stores there. CNG closed around another 100 branches in Arizona and exited the state in 2010 after a law allowing cash advances there expired.
On the national level, it remains to be seen how the company may be affected by the Dodd-Frank financial reform act of 2010, which contains provisions that give incentive to financial institutions to offer small-dollar loans as alternatives to payday lending. The act also created a new regulatory body, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, that oversees the industry.
Though CNG said the move was not made in response to tighter regulations stateside, it has looked overseas for expansion. In 2006 the company acquired a majority interest in Cheque Centres, which offers payday advances through about 130 locations in the UK; it purchased the remaining stake it did not already own in 2008.
Brothers David and Jared Davis own more than 60% CNG. Their father Allen, who was president of Provident Bank before founding CNG in 1994, owns more than a quarter. In 2005 the family became embroiled in a lawsuit after CNG booked a stock transaction to the father as taxable income. During the trial, Allen Davis also contended that Check 'n Go's debt and dividend payment structure threatened its viability. In 2007 the presiding judge ruled in favor of the father and banned CNG from declaring or issuing dividends or incurring any additional debt. An appellate court later upheld the decision. – less