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Check ‘n Go to pay Idaho fines

Check ‘n Go of Idaho will pay a $50,000 state fine for obtaining customers’ checking account PIN numbers without their knowledge.

The company makes payday loans at seven Idaho locations, including one in Post Falls.

“Our examiners learned of instances where borrowers were asked to input PIN numbers into the lender’s telephone key pad during the loan process,” said Gavin Gee, director of the Idaho Department of Finance. The company later retrieved the PIN numbers, and stored them in its computer to verify account balances, according to Gee.

A confidential informant alerted state officials that the PIN numbers were being collected. The practice violates the state’s payday loan statutes, Gee said. Lenders cannot collect private financial information without the borrower’s consent.

In addition to paying the fine, Check ‘n Go agreed in a settlement with the state to purge records of illegally obtained PIN numbers. The company must also notify people who’ve been customers over the past 12 months, so they can take steps to change the PIN numbers on their checking accounts.

Check ‘n Go is headquartered in Mason, Ohio. Company officials did not return calls for comment Wednesday.

BPA, utilities agree to rate increases

Portland The Bonneville Power Administration said Wednesday it has reached an agreement with more than 120 utilities to raise electricity transmission rates 12.5 percent for the federal fiscal year beginning Oct. 1.

The increase amounts to less than $1 per megawatt-hour, or about 1 percent to 2 percent of the total wholesale power cost of about $30 to $40 per megawatt hour, BPA officials said.

Steve Wright, chief of the Portland-based federal power marketing agency, said the agreement will expedite regulatory approval.

“The increase will ensure that BPA has the revenue necessary to operate the system reliably and make needed capital improvements in transmission facilities throughout the Northwest,” Wright said in a prepared statement.

Bonneville has seen network transmission sales fall by 3,000 megawatts since the Western energy crisis of 2001, a decline agency officials blame partly on utility customers finding more efficient ways to use their transmission rights.

EWU to launch incubator seminar series

Eastern Washington University will launch on Saturday its second annual Incubator Without Walls seminar series.

The collection of seminars, which are free and open to the public, are designed to help entrepreneurs start and expand businesses.

The first session will feature Steve Faust, a Spokane attorney, who’ll discuss the legal aspects of starting a business. It will be held from 8 a.m. until noon at the Riverpoint Higher Education campus, N. 668 Riverpoint Blvd., in room 118. The second session, to be held Feb. 26, will cover accounting concepts for small businesses.

For information on the series or to register, contact Terry Sanchez at (509) 358-2208 or by e-mail at