Bryan Cohen Oct. 26, 2012, 7:51pm

LITTLE ROCK (Legal Newsline) - Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel made a request on Thursday to a Pulaski County Circuit Court judge to compel three payday lending companies to respond to a civil investigative demand for information.

Partner Weekly LLC, Selling Source LLC and Money Mutual LLC are lead generators for payday lenders that are all based at the same Las Vegas address. The companies allegedly use aggressive advertising campaigns to market payday loan availability and solicit loan applications.

McDaniel requested in court that the companies fully respond to a civil investigative demand sent by his office on August 9. He asked that the court prohibit the companies from continuing business in the state until they respond to the request.

McDaniel's office is looking into the companies as part of a continuing effort to prevent illegal and usurious payday lending in Arkansas and is seeking information from the companies related to business operations, lending partners, ownership structure and dealings with consumers in Arkansas.

"We believe that these companies are luring Arkansans into applying for loans that only push consumers further and further into debt," McDaniel said. "The companies appear to be advertising for loans that are unconstitutional in Arkansas. We will continue to take actions to ensure that organizations related to payday lending do not harm our state's consumers."

In advertisements, Money Mutual states that it has a network of 100 lenders to provide short-term cash loans. The companies also use television and radio ads to market services directly to consumers in Arkansas.

Payday loans are short-term, high-interest loans with annual fees and interest rates that can exceed 300 percent. Arkansas law prohibits lenders from setting interest rates higher than 17 percent.

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