The number of complaints against Great Plains Lending continue to grow and the company is now fighting back against the state of New York in the courtroom. Great Plains Lending was on the list of tribal companies that were targeted by the New York. The state of New York is being sued, specifically the state superintendent of Financial Services, to place an injunction against the state as it tries to stop Great Plains Lending (and American Web Loan) from issuing new loans in the state of New York.
There is a very good chance that New York is going to lose this fight, as the tribal sovereignty is guaranteed and administered at the federal level. Frankly, the state of New York doesn't have the ability to "protect" their constituents from tribal business because that business is not under the jurisdiction of New York to regulate. It would be like if New York insisted that the U.S. Navy not be the naval force that protects New York. Sorry guys, but that's the way things are, you can't change certain things in this world.
Now, despite the fact that Great Plains Lending will most likely win against the state of New York doesn't mean that the complaints against the company aren't growing, because they are and quickly. A simple search for Great Plains Lending kicks back a number of very bad reviews, posts, write-ups, and very bitter stories. Don't look now but Great Plains Lending is starting to get the reputation similar to that of Western Sky Financial. Native American lenders charge more for their lending instruments, it is just that simple. But many people (who become customers) don't know this or at least don't think about it much until they start repaying on their loans. That's when the complaints start to fly.
Below are bits and pieces of some of the more recent complaints and reviews about Great Plains Lending...
One man wrote about how he paid over 400% interest on his loan and was not getting out of debt as he paid his regular (scheduled) payments. He finished by saying the following "So Im telling anyone not too get involved with this Company they are a scam and should be put in jail." Not a very happy customer.
Another comment, that wasn't a complaint or review was posted by a person who said "glad I saw these comments now I have changed my mind about getting money from them." This is a bad sign for Great Plains, they don't need to have people who were considering becoming a customer reading these reviews and then walking away before even applying to the company.
Not all people are disgusted ex-borrowers. It's pretty obvious that Great Plains Lending is doing a good amount of direct mail marketing because a lot of people write online about getting their offers via the mail. But many people are not very happy or impressed with the offer. One person that received the mailed materials was considering taking out a loan but did not and wrote "My name appears in upper and lower-case letters as a proper noun. All legit businesses address people with their name spelled in all capital letters." So in this case the company lost a potential customer due to their lack of business savvy.
Here is another complaint that has popped-up a few times. A man said that he applied to Great Plains and was denied a loan, most likely due to income requirements (but he didn't say why) but whether he got the loan quickly became a moot point. Very shortly after applying to Great Plains Lending the man started receiving dozens of calls from all sorts of unknown companies claiming he could get a loan. So it appears that Great Plains Lending somehow distributes, lends, sells, or otherwise shares the information from an applicant that does not actually get approved for a loan. Now this won't be a problem for most applicants because the approval rate is very high, especially if you meet all the requirements the firm lists on their homepage. However, this is disconcerting for those who are not approved. The man wrote "is it because my app got declined they just threw me out there as scrap" as an open-ended question about this predicament.
Despite all of these negative reviews and complaints, I am still on the other side of the fence with this company. I have used Great Plains Lending and I will say the interest rates are very high. But I knew this going in to the loan. This company issues installment loans, so if you can it's a great idea to take a percentage of the loan amount and use it to pay down some of the principal on the first repayment date. This helps lower the remainder of the repayment amounts. In other words, it changes the schedule of repayments completely because the underlying (principal) amount was changed.
Great Plains Lending has a lot of reviews online and very few provide any kind of favorable view of the company. But myself, the company was there when I needed money and they were flexible when I paid off chunks of principal. And this is what a lot of people don't understand. Yes, the company charges high interest rates, everyone knows that. My question is who else is issuing any loans at all? Not the banks, certainly not the credit unions. The larger (more corporate) online lenders like Springleaf require a good credit score, good job, good income, a long time at the same job, and personal references. Please, how many Americans can provide that list of items these days? Maybe 35% at the most. The rest of the public is left to lenders such as Great Plains Lending and the rest of the Native American loan shops. So to everyone who is complaining, yes you have some good points that have validity. But, have you thought about who is left to issue any loans at all to anybody with Native American lenders? Because the answer is absolutely nobody.
The last point I want to make about Great Plains Lending concerns their flexibility. That word gets thrown around a lot and I'm guilty of that as well. Flexible, it means that the company will make adjustments very readily and very often. You can repay chunks of principal at any time, and Great Plains will completely reformat your loan to adjust (reduce) what your loan schedule looks like. The loan schedule is very easily changed, even for small amounts of $5 or $10 of extra principal paid back early. It helps quite a bit to make any principal repayments on the front end if possible, and you can use some of the funds from your loan amount to do this, assuming you don't spend all of that loan amount.
The New York government is pushing to get Great Plains Lending out their state, but they don't face good chances. But it's the undercurrent that the company needs to keep an eye on because there is a quite of bit of discontentment out there. Much of it is deserved and some of it is just do to sloppy business practices. Would it really hurt to lower those high rates at least some? And to practice common courtesy when conducting business? Great Plains Lending needs to take a long look in the mirror and decide what kind of company they want to be, and just as importantly, how they want to be perceived on the unforgiving internet.