After years of futile attempts to drive high-cost online lenders out of business, at least one state's regulators appear to have hit on a successful strategy: cutting off their access to the payments system.

Since Aug. 5, when New York state regulators put a target on 35 specific lenders that it said were not licensed to make loans in the state, at least nine of the companies have halted operations. Key to the state's effort was a letter it sent to more than 100 banks in which it pressured them to prohibit online lenders from accessing customers' checking accounts.

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