In recent years, we’ve written a number of stories about laws aimed at protecting active-duty servicemembers and their families from predatory loans and the businesses that try to take advantage of loopholes in these rules. Some readers have asked why members of our armed forces merit protections not available to civilians. But this isn’t about just doing something nice for our soldiers; it’s about removing a threat to national security. [More]
Nearly three months ago the Obama administration and the Department of Defense announced a proposed overhaul of the Military Lending Act that would aim to close loopholes regularly exploited by predatory lenders in order to sink their hooks into military borrowers. Now, a new report from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau highlights just how devastating – and costly – those loopholes can be for servicemembers. [More]
When the Military Lending Act was introduced in 2007, it aimed to prevent predatory lenders from gouging military personnel with exorbitant interest rates and mountains of fees. While those protections have proven to be successful in many ways, lenders have since learned how to work around specific limits of the law. Now, attorneys general from 22 states are asking the Department of Defense to do more to shield servicemembers from unscrupulous lenders. [More]
We understand why someone might opt for getting a payday loan online instead of doing it in person. It’s easier, faster, doesn’t require going to a shady-looking storefront operation where some trained fast-talking huckster might try to upsell you unnecessary add-ons or tack on illegal insurance policies. But the truth is that people who get their payday loans online often end up in a worse situation than they would have if they’d applied in person. [More]
While the Military Lending Act aims to protect military personnel and their families from predatory lenders’ often unsavory lending practices that include high interest rates and excessive fees, it still allows for clever lenders to get their hooks into borrowers. That’s why the Obama Administration and the Department of Defense announced a proposed overhaul of the rules – much to consumer advocates’ delight. [More]
It’s only a small victory in the battle against predatory loans, but there’s now one less bank offering a high-risk payday lending product to consumers. Regions Bank has closed the door on its payday loan-esque deposit advance product. [More]
Several cities in Texas have recently enacted laws intended to drive out or rein in short-term, high-interest lenders offering auto-title loans, in which borrowers put up their cars as collateral for short-term loans averaging around $1,500. But one lender has figured out a way to get around those laws — by giving away free cash and redirecting customers elsewhere when they need to refinance. [More]
Arizona is about to say goodbye to predatory payday lenders who issue loans with annual interests exceeding 460%. On Thursday a decade-old law will expire, capping interest rates at 36%. The predatory lenders begged to keep the law in force, but voters and the legislature just sat back and gave the industry a big, slow, deserved punch right in the face. [More]
Sonia, Rent-a-Center’s Public & Community Affairs person, saw our popular post, “How Predatory Lending Works, From Payday Loans To Rent-To-Own” and has a rebuttal that shows how they do math. I showed it to Jess, the creator of the infographic, and he has a rebuttal to the rebuttal. Let the chips fall where they may: [More]
You’re a savvy, savvy consumer. You pay your credit card bills in full every month, auto-deduct a generous portion of your paycheck into savings, invest in index funds, and always make sure you’re getting the best deal from your cable and wireless providers. Unfortunately, some of your brethren do not read Consumerist and can get caught up in the jaws of predatory lenders, wasting limited cash on things like payday loans, bad credit cards, and using rent-to-own stores. So let’s take a walk down the wild side and see how each of these bad choices work, in a giant infographic, courtesy of Mint and WallStats, after the jump. [More]
The bailed-out banks have found a new way to annoy the government, according to the Congressional Oversight Panel, the body named by Congress to oversee the federal bailout. Chair of the committee and friend of the blog, Elizabeth Warren, is concerned that the same people who are subsidizing the banks are being targeted by abusive lending practices, says the Wall Street Journal
For about 30 years, there has been effectively no limit on the interest rates lenders can charge. This means some loans—especially payday loans, tax refund anticipation loans, overdraft protection loans, and car title loans—can have effective interest rates as high as 3,500%.
60 Minutes recently took a look at World Savings Bank, the acquisition that ultimately wounded Wachovia so badly that it had to be acquired by Wells Fargo. What was wrong with an institution for which Wachovia was willing to pay $25 billion? Well, one whistleblower claims that World Savings was engaged in fraud and predatory lending — tricking its customers into signing up for dangerous “option-arm” or (as they cheerfully called them) “pick-a-payment” loans.
Check ‘N Go, a pay day lender, is closing 36 of its 71 stores in Ohio after voters failed to repeal a law that stopped them from charging asinine interest rates.
You surely already know better, because you’re a loyal Consumerist reader, but stay far, far away from the form of legalized usury known as car title loans! CNN has published an overview of the industry, noting that APRs frequently exceed 200%, and that added fees and loan “rollover” options help keep borrowers in a cycle of debt.
Gov. Ted Strickland, of the great state of Ohio, has signed a bill that punches the rapidly growing payday lending industry in the face. As we’ve mentioned before, the bill will cap interest rates at 28% and limits consumers to 4 payday loans per year. A typical payday loan charges around $15 per $100 borrowed on a 2 week loan, which works out to an interest rate of 391%.
Countrywide would like you to believe that it put all that messy “predatory subprime lending” business behind it and is no longer coaching consumers to lie on their loan applications in order to qualify them for loans they can’t afford… but are they telling the truth about telling the truth? One woman who recently contacted Countrywide about refinancing her home told NPR that sketchy mortgage lending is alive and well at Countrywide.
On March 18, Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel sent letters to 156 payday lenders, ordering them to stop issuing new loans and void any current and past due loans or face legal action. McDaniel charges that the lenders are violating Arkansas’s constitutional prohibition against usurious interest rates.