Payday lender says it's 'a service people like'


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – One day after News4Jax reported on payday and title loan companies making a comeback around Jacksonville and what is being done to project customers, one of the businesses involved spoke out.

The owner of a Cash Plus, which has two storefronts in Jacksonville offering payday loans, said the report only showed one side and featured unhappy customers. Douglas Grimaldi  said payday lenders a good and needed service, and most customers like them.

"We offer a service that people like, and it's a choice for people," Grimaldi said. "It's very, very regulated in the state of Florida."

It's true that Florida law has set limits on what can be charged. Grimaldi said he would only make $45 for making a $400 loan that would be paid back in 14-30 days. 

"They don't have to go from loan to loan. These folks choose to," Grimaldi said. "They have to pay back the full loan and have to wait 24 hours before they can go back and get another loan."

State law also requires a 60-day grace period if someone can't pay back a loan.

"If someone calls us up and says, 'Hey, I can't pay the loan,' by law we have to give them 60 free days to pay it. We can't deposit a check or add any other fees to that whatsoever. It's completely free for 60 days," Grimaldi said. "They can go to credit counseling if they want to, but they don't even have to."

Lynn Drysdale, with Jacksonville Legal Aid -- and a critic of payday loans -- said they have no complaints on Cash Plus. She said most of the problems come from online store transactions.

Grimaldi admits there may be some who take advantage of customers, but he says it's not him.

"I don't make a lot of money doing this. I am not a rich guy at all," Grimaldi said. "A lot of people think we are or I am, but we have a lot of laws we have to adhere to."

Grimaldi showed News4Jax video of customers that are happy with his service. We have talked to some online and off camera who say they use payday loans as a backup, and understand the need.

The advice from experts is know who you are dealing with it ask questions and check them out before you sign any agreement.

To learn more about regulations on these businesses or to verify a license, call the Florida Office of Financial Regulation at 850-487-9687 or visit its website: flofr.com.

About the Author: