Check Into Cash expanding pawnshop reach in metro Atlanta

The title pawn consolidation continued Tuesday in metro Atlanta with the announcement that Check Into Cash will acquire two of Prime Financial’s local brands.

Check Into Cash, based in Cleveland, Tenn., is acquiring seven Great American Pawn and Title locations and three Quic!oans title loan locations, mostly in the metro area. The stores are in Carrollton, Cartersville, Covington, Gainesville, Rome, Woodstock, Athens and Statesboro.

Check Into Cash also will acquire Prime Financial’s Great American Cash Advance and Nations Quick Cash Title Pawn brands in Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee, a total of 26 locations in those states.

Pawnshops have seen an upswing in business, suggesting many consumers hurt by the last economic downturn, who are either out of work or who have landed jobs that pay less than previous positions, increasingly are seeking the alternative lenders for emergency, short-term loans.

According to the National Pawnbrokers Association, the majority of members in a 2013 trend survey reported a 10 percent increase in loans made since last year, with the average loan amount remaining at $150. The group said customers tend to borrow only what they need.

“Today’s consumer is looking for alternatives to traditional financial institutions,” Check Into Cash President Steve Scoggins said in a statement announcing the deal with Prime Financial. “We help people every day by assisting with their short-term financial needs during difficult times. These Prime Financial stores are an important part of the communities they serve and we look forward to serving those customers.”

Check Into Cash has several title pawn locations in metro Atlanta. The company has more than 1,100 stores in 30 states and the United Kingdom.

Last month, pawnshop operator Cash America announced it was acquiring all of rival PawnMart's locations in metro Atlanta, nearly tripling its size locally to 48 stores. Cash America, which has 17 metro shops, will acquire Norcross-based PawnMarts' 31 local pawnshops and three additional stores in North Carolina in a cash deal valued at $62 million.

Check Into Cash did not disclose how much it is paying for the 10 Prime Financial locations in Georgia.