Date Updated: June 1, 2017
Date Posted: January 8, 2016
The State of Washington Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) has received complaints from Washington consumers against Sierra Financial, LLC d/b/a Sierra Lending, LLC. Consumers reported that Sierra Financial, LLC d/b/a Sierra Lending, LLC was charging excessive fees and interest, would not give an installment payment plan, threatened criminal action, and tried to settle accounts for amounts over the loan amount.
Sierra Financial, LLC d/b/a Sierra Lending, LLC operates a website at [www.sierralending.com] and lists its contact information as:
Sierra Lending, LLC
P.O. Box 647
Santa Ysabel, CA 92070
It appears that Sierra Financial, LLC d/b/a Sierra Lending, LLC may be operating as a tribal online lender that is not licensed in Washington. Sierra Financial, LLC d/b/a Sierra Lending, LLC claims to be owned by the Iipay Nation of Santa Ysabel, a federally-recognized Indian Tribe located in California. If you have a complaint against Sierra Financial, LLC d/b/a Sierra Lending, LLC, you can contact the Iipay Nation of Santa Ysabel. The Iipay Nation of Santa Ysabel’s contact information is:
P.O. Box 130
Santa Ysabel, CA 92070
Sierra Financial, LLC d/b/a Sierra Lending, LLC is not licensed by the DFI and is not registered to conduct business in Washington State by the Department of Licensing, the Department of Revenue, or the Secretary of State.
DFI warns Washington consumers that, before doing business with a financial service provider, a consumer should:
- Make sure that the entity is licensed. Consumers can use the "Verify a License" feature on DFI’s website at www.dfi.wa.gov to check whether a payday or consumer loan company is licensed to conduct business in the State of Washington
- Not provide any personal information, such as social security number or bank account number or access if the company is not licensed or authorized to conduct business.
Please note that Sierra Financial, LLC d/b/a Sierra Lending, LLC should not be confused with the following company licensed to conduct business in the State of Washington through the Secretary of State, Department of Revenue, and/or Department of Licensing:
Sierra Financial Services, Inc. d/b/a Omni Financial Consultants
380 Interlocken Crescent, Ste 800
Broomfield, CO 80021-8036
Important Information For Washington Consumers About Unlicensed Lenders
Washington State residents are informed that Washington State law provides in RCW 31.45.105(1)(d) and (3) that a “small loan” made by an unlicensed entity to a person physically located in Washington State is uncollectible and unenforceable in Washington State. A “small loan” is defined in RCW 31.45.073 and is a loan that does not exceed $700.
Washington State residents with loans exceeding $700 are informed that Washington State law provides in RCW 31.04.035 that fees or interest charged in the making of a nonresidential loan by an unlicensed lender must be refunded to the borrower.
Washington State residents only: If you suspect unlicensed activity by a payday lender or consumer loan company, please contact the Department at 1-877-RING-DFI (746-4334), or online at www.dfi.wa.gov. Even if the activity involves a loan you obtained over the internet, a license is generally still required. If a collection agency is attempting to collect a debt from you, check that the company is licensed by the State of Washington Department of Licensing. Collection activities by payday lenders in the State of Washington are subject to RCW 31.45.082, which limits the time, place, and manner by which a payday lender may collect a debt. Payday lenders must also provide borrowers with an installment plan if the borrower is not able to pay the small loan back when it is due.
Important Information For All Consumers
- If you received a loan from a lender and someone else is now attempting to collect the loan, the collection activity may be subject to the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). If you are contacted by a third party claiming you owe a debt, you can request a “written validation notice,” which must provide the amount of the debt, the name of the creditor you owe, and your rights under the FDCPA. If you have questions regarding federal debt collection laws you can contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at 1-877-FTC HELP or online at www.ftc.gov.
- If you feel you have been the victim of a scam you can contact the FTC at 1-877-FTC-HELP (382-4357) or online at www.ftc.gov; or the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau at 1-855-411-CFPB (2372) or online at www.consumerfinance.gov.
- If the scammers already have your bank account information, social security number, or other personal information, you may be a victim of identity theft. You can contact your bank and the three major credit bureaus and take appropriate precautions. The FTC has information for victims of identity theft online at www.ftc.gov.
- If you feel you have been the victim of a loan scam involving the internet you can contact the Internet Crime Complaint Center online at www.ic3.gov.
- If you feel you have been the victim of a loan scam and are concerned about your personal financial information, you can contact your banking institution and the three major credit bureaus. Procedures for contacting the credit bureaus are available on the FTC’s website at www.ftc.gov.
- If you live in another state, go to this webpage to find the regulator in your home state: http://mortgage.nationwidelicensingsystem.org/consumer/Pages/AgencyContacts.aspx.