CHECKING LENDERS

To verify the license status of any lenders, call the bureau’s toll-free number at 800-332-8529. The bureau also maintains a roster of licensed supervised lenders on its website, www.credit.maine.gov.

STAFF REPORT

The state Bureau of Consumer Credit Protection on Monday issued a warning about what it described as a phony loan company that’s claiming falsely to be based in a central Maine town.

In a release, the bureau said it had received calls from people wanting to know more about Crestridge Capital, which says on its website, www.crestridgecapital.org, that it is based in Belgrade.

David Leach, principal examiner with the bureau, said the company’s address actually corresponds with a vacant single-family house on Depot Road near the municipal softball fields. No lender is located at the claimed address, he said.

Leach said the company promised one woman a $5,000 loan at 7 percent interest rate with a three-year payback term. When the company asked her to make a lump-sum payment of $770 up front, she became suspicious and contacted the bureau.

“Crestridge Capital is not registered in Maine as a consumer lender,” Leach said. “It’s also not listed with corporate filings in the Secretary or State’s Office, and town officials in Belgrade confirm that no such company is located at the address listed on the Crestridge website.”

Monday afternoon, a person who identified himself as a representative of Crestridge Capital answered the company’s listed phone number, 855-480-7130, and he referred questions to an unnamed manager who did not return a call seeking comment. An email sent to Crestridge Capital also was not returned Monday.

Leach said Maine has many reputable licensed lenders, and that consumers never should wire or mail certified funds to unknown lenders. Instead, they should deal with known licensed lenders, he said.

The Bureau of Consumer Credit Protection is part of Maine’s Department of Professional and Financial Regulation. The bureau licenses lenders, creditors and collectors; conducts periodic examinations of creditors to determine compliance with state laws; and responds to consumer complaints and inquiries.


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