Payday lender ACE Cash Express Inc. will offer installment plans to borrowers who cannot repay their loans in full before the company closes down its two Maine locations in July, a state official said.

That offer conflicts with the account of one borrower who contacted the Press Herald and said the lender did not offer him any installment-plan options.

“We apologize for the inaccurate information provided to the customer at issue,” an ACE executive told the state, according to William Lund, superintendent of the Maine Bureau of Consumer Credit Protection. “We will communicate to our store employees that customers should be allowed to make payment arrangements if they are unable to pay their balances in full.”

ACE, which has locations in Portland and Brunswick, recently told customers it no longer would offer payday loans, and that it was calling due all outstanding loans. Although the company did not return calls from the Press Herald, it informed the state Tuesday that it plans to exit the Maine market July 11. The move is part of a broader downsizing in multiple states, ACE said, but it did not specify which states or how many locations would be closed.

“ACE Cash Express will be ceasing all operations in the state as of July 11, surrendering both their lender and money transmitter licenses,” Lund said via email. “They will be initiating no new loans and will not be allowing rollovers of existing loans but will offer repayment plans to those with existing loans who can’t pay immediately.”

Bruce Clothier, a former ACE borrower in Maine, contacted the Press Herald last week after he was notified by the lender that his payday loan was due in full. In the past, ACE has allowed payday loan customers up to four monthly extensions, provided that they pay the interest due on their loan each month.

Clothier said Friday via email that he paid off his loan but was concerned that the sudden policy change could put other ACE customers in financial jeopardy.

“This is going to hurt a lot of people and may ruin their credit when the short notice goes to collection,” he said.

But Monday, ACE contacted Lund from its headquarters in Irving, Texas, and told him the company would offer repayment plans, Lund said.

According to a copy of ACE’s borrower contract obtained by the Press Herald, “If you are unable to pay your loan in full by the due date, you are eligible for a repayment plan once in any twelve (12) month period. You must request this payment plan on the day before your due date or on your due date.”

The repayment plan requires borrowers to make four equal monthly installments and does not involve any additional fees or interest, the contract says.

ACE, which provides financial services aimed at low-income residents, operates in 31 states and the District of Columbia, according to its website, but not all of those states allow payday lending. The company offers a variety of other services, including auto title loans, prepaid debit cards, check cashing, bill payments, money transfers, money orders and direct deposit.

Lund has said that payday loans are not as lucrative in Maine as in some other states because of a relatively low cap on the maximum annual interest rate that lenders can charge. Federal regulators are proposing new rules that would make payday lending even less profitable, he said.

ACE was charging its payday loan customers in Maine $15 to borrow $150 for up to a month, and $25 to borrow $250. The average annual interest rate charged for payday loans in Maine is 217 percent, according to a 2014 study by the Pew Charitable Trust. Payday loan stores in other states charge average annual rates as high as 582 percent, it said.

The federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau recently reached a $10 million settlement with ACE after accusing it of harassing borrowers to collect debts and take out multiple loans. A federal class-action lawsuit against the company is pending in Delaware, where it is accused of “wrongful and unconscionable conduct, including breaches of the duty of good faith and fair dealing,” according to the complaint, filed in U.S. District Court.

Attorneys for ACE have argued that the lead plaintiff, payday loan borrower Rosalyn Johnson of Delaware, has failed to support her claims with evidence, and that ACE is not liable for Johnson’s failure to understand the terms of her loan.

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