CashPoint in Groveton is the latest car title loan business to close.
Not long ago, car title lenders seemed to be opening up all over the Richmond Highway corridor. Now, they appear to be slowly fading away.
The latest title lender to close is CashPoint, which was located in a small office building at 6801 Richmond Highway. CashPoint, which opened in 2012, closed earlier this month, although the building’s owner was unable to be reached for the exact date.
CashPoint’s closing marks the third Route 1 car title lender to close its doors in less than three years. Fast Auto Loans in the Mount Zephyr area closed last January, and a nearby EZ Title Loans shut down in May 2016.
At least four lenders specializing in car title loans still operate in the Richmond Highway area — three TitleMax Title Loans and a LoanMax Title Loans.
Many watchdog groups and politicians consider title loan businesses to be predatory for providing high-interest loans — sometimes in excess of 200 percent — to low-income residents. The industry saw a boom in 2011 after the Virginia General Assembly passed a law allowing title lenders to accept out-of-state titles (car title lending is not legal in Maryland or the District of Columbia).
While its unclear what will replace CashPoint, it won’t be a car title lender. Fairfax County passed regulations in 2015 that cracked down on so-called “alternative lending institutions,” including a provision that barred them from opening up in stand-alone buildings or revitalization areas.