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Check Into Cash announced Friday it has purchased the privately-held Equity Management Group, Inc., a family-owned and operated company located in Memphis.

Equity Management was founded by Kimberly Gardner in 1994, one year after Cleveland entrepreneur and now-millionaire Allan Jones founded Check Into Cash.

Gardner is joining the Check Into Cash executive team as vice president of public affairs and communtiy relations. Michael Moore, a top manager at Equity Management Group, is also joining Check Into Cash leadership, as repossessions and remarketing manager.

In a statement on the acquisition, Gardner — who has 22 years of experience in the lending industry — said she looks forward to joining the Check Into Cash team, and is familiar with the Cleveland company having been in the same business for two decades.

"I have always admired and respected Check Into Cash for their industry leadership and look forward to working with a team of highly talented and motivated individuals," said Gardner. "It's exciting to be joining a national leader in the financial services industry."

Check Into Cash is a far larger operation than Equity Management, and operates more than 1,000 stores in 32 states. Check Into Cash is one of the largest payday and title lending companies of its kind in the country.

Steve Scoggins, president of Check Into Cash, said in a statement the acquisition of Equity Management and addition of Gardner and Moore boosts the company's depth of talent.

Like Check Into Cash, Equity Management Group has been a member of the national payday and title lending trade group, the Community Financial Services Association of America.

"We have worked with Kim and Michael for many years in the industry and are thrilled to have them on our team," said Scoggins. "They are both forward-thinking professionals who will help us continue building on our past success and ensuring customers have access to our vital financial resources."

Contact staff writer Alex Green at agreen@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6480.

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