Founded in 1987, Nicholas Financial is a publicly traded company that provides direct consumer loans. It operates a network of more than 50 branch offices in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Michigan, Maryland, Virginia, Alabama and Tennessee. The company serves several franchised and independent automobile dealers. Nicholas Financial also purchases installment sales contracts from automobile dealers for pre-owned cars and light-duty trucks. It offers a range of portfolio acquisition services. The company operates a software subsidiary, Nicholas Data Services, which designs, develops, supports and sells accounting software to small-sized businesses throughout North America. In addition, Nicholas Financial provides online payment options.