Recent changes in federal banking regulations and a 2004 Georgia statute on lending practices have driven most payday lenders out of the state.

While the Georgia Legislature showed payday lenders the door, it opened up another avenue of litigation for those who say they’ve been preyed upon by payday loan shops, by allowing for private suits. Former Gov. Roy E. Barnes seized on that opportunity, bringing at least three putative class actions in state courts on behalf of consumers.