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Allen Jones, CEO of Check Into Cash

Check Into Cash, the Cleveland, Tenn.-based payday loan business, has made its first foreign acquisition and bought a 16-store financial services chain in the United Kingdom.

"It's a very good set of stores," said Steve Scoggins, Check Into Cash president, about Cash and Cheque Express.

Scoggins said Check Into Cash, founded by Cleveland businessman Allan Jones, will continue to look at acquisitions in other countries as there's high demand for its services.

"We'll continue to look at further opportunities globally," Scoggins said.

Check Into Cash spokesman Toby Pendergrass said the acquisition price wasn't disclosed.

Founded in 1993, Check Into Cash operates more than 1,000 branch locations in 30 states.

But Scoggins said the U.S. regulatory environment is unpredictable, especially in relation to taxes and health care.

"We've done quite a bit of expansion in the U.S. We're just wanting to be diversified with all the new regulations," he said.

The U.K. operation employs about 55 people, Scoggins said. In addition to financial services and products, the stores offer new and second-hand inventory such as TVs, computers and cell phones.

"That's part of what they do over there," Scoggins said. "We're excited to be over there."

He said plans are to keep the same management team in place and put resources behind the U.K. business and try to grow it.

"Cash and Cheque Express has a rock-solid reputation in the communities they serve," Scoggins said in a statement.

Check Into Cash offers a full suite of financial service products, including installment loans, title secured loans, short-term micro-lending, Western Union money orders and wire transfers, check cashing and bill payment in select locations.