Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation


For Immediate Release:
August 17, 2010  

State Fines Payday Loan Stores (PLS) More than $1.1 Million for Failing to Protect Consumer Information


CHICAGO – The Department of Financial and Professional Regulation today announced that it has imposed a fine of $1,107,000 against Payday Loan Stores of Illinois, Inc., and several of its branch offices for failing to safeguard confidential consumer information with respect to 369 customers.  Thousands of pages of loan files were found in open dumpsters behind several PLS loan stores in the Chicago metropolitan area. The total fine assessed in this matter is the largest ever assessed by the Department under the laws that regulate payday and installment lenders.

The first indication of mishandling files came when IDFPR was notified by the Bolingbrook Police Department on April 15, 2010, that officers had retrieved three (3) boxes of documents from the dumpster located behind the Payday Loan Store of Illinois store at 346/348 Bolingbrook Commons, Bolingbrook. The discarded documents contained personal customer information, including social security numbers and copies of drivers’ licenses.  

“It is fortunate that these documents did not end up in the hands of unscrupulous individuals,” said Brent Adams, Secretary of Financial and Professional Regulation. “Local law enforcement did a fine job by taking this matter seriously and bringing it to our attention.”

Immediately following that notification, IDFPR conducted on-site inspections of other Payday Loan Store of Illinois, Inc. locations and found that documents had been placed into dumpsters at three other locations:  628 W. 14th Street, Chicago Heights, IL; 1515 Western Avenue, Chicago Heights, IL; and 4838 S. Cicero, Chicago, IL.  Again, the discarded documents contained personal customer information such as social security numbers and copies of drivers’ licenses.   

“Borrowers in Illinois are entitled to know that their personal financial information is safe from prying eyes, and when no longer needed, that it is properly shredded and discarded,” said Robert Meza, Director, Division of Financial Institutions. 

On learning that the security of confidential consumer information had been compromised, the Department directed PLS to notify all consumers that were potentially impacted so that they could take the necessary steps to guard against identify theft.

The Department issued five disciplinary orders against PLS, its stores and management for violations of the privacy of 369 customers.  Fines of $3,000 were assessed for each consumer whose information was mishandled.  The law permits the Department to assess fines up to $10,000 per violation of the law.   

Copies of the orders:

CI-2655 - Chicago Heights
CI-1446 - Chicago Heights
PL-1309 - Bolingbrook
CI-1700 - Bolingbrook
CI-2286 - Chicago