Category Archives: Predatory Lending

Loan Shark Granted Clemency by Trump Enjoined from Lending Activity

According to the New York Attorney General, before reporting to prison in 2020, Jonathan Braun was a prolific predatory lender, notorious for charging borrowers extreme interest rates and threatening those who fell behind–collecting $77 million in payments from small-business owners via merchant cash advances. In 2019, Braun was sentenced to 10 years in prison in […]

Online lending platform’s terms for tacked-on loan charges? “Tips” and “donations”

“Tipping” and “donating” have taken on a new meaning in high-interest online lending. Earlier this month, California, Connecticut, and the District of Columbia snagged SoLo Funds, Inc., an online lending platform, for deceiving consumers about the true cost of the loans it facilitated. According to the states and DC, the fintech required borrowers to pay […]

CFPB proposes rule on residential clean energy financing

The past two decades have seen the growth of Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing programs– which allow property owners to finance the costs of energy-efficiency-related improvements, secured by the property itself and paid as an addition to an owner’s property tax bill. In the residential market, there has been a concern that these loans […]

CFPB’s repeat offenders swindling military borrowers?

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in recent actions against entities it calls “repeat offenders” has zeroed in on flagrant violations of the Military Lending Act (MLA), which is meant to safeguard active-duty military members and their families from financial abuses. The MLA has features perfect for military families in search of a loan: it caps […]

Faust article proposes interesting solution for when lenders make loans consumers lack the ability to repay

Abigail Faust of The Van Leer Jerusalem Institute has written Regulating Excessive Credit, forthcoming in the Wisconsin Law Review.  Here is the abstract: Consumer financial protection law is dominated by ex-ante, contract-centered regulatory measures. But these measures largely fail to curb lenders’ incentive to lend beyond consumers’ ability to repay. The Article thus suggests an alternative […]

“Rent-a-Tribe” lender not immune from lawsuit over unlawful interest rates

The Fourth Circuit this week ruled in favor of Virginia residents in a RICO action challenging illegally high interest rates. The court explained: “The Lac Vieux Desert Band of Chippewa Indians purportedly created businesses under tribal law to make small-dollar, high-interest-rate loans to consumers via the internet. The Borrowers allege that the Tribe did so […]

Former employee of short-term lender explains how it snared consumers in debt traps

New Mexico recently enacted a 36% rate cap on consumer loans. Among the remarks that motivated them to do so was the following: Thank you Madam Chair, Members of the Committee. My name is Will Hancock and I’m a student at the University of New Mexico School of Law. I had the displeasure of working […]

Some clothing retailers make more than half their income from their overpriced credit cards

The Conversation has an interesting piece titled Store credit cards generate corporate profits and disgruntled workers, by a pair of sociology professors, Joya Misra and Kyla Walters. Excerpt: Major apparel companies also sell credit, often with very high fees, like The Gap’s 21.7% starting interest rate, and US$27 to $37 late payment charge. In 2019, […]

Consumer Law Scholars Make Wide-Ranging Proposals to CFPB

The effort was led by Berkeley's Center for Consumer Law and Economic Justice and resulted in production of a series of short memoranda available here. Topics covered include discrimination, arbitration, income share agreements, BNPL, substitution effects of regulation, disclosures, overdraft protections, and more.

Vijay Raghavan article on Consumer Law’s Equity Gap

Vijay Raghavan of Brooklyn has written Consumer Law's Equity Gap, Utah Law Review (forthcoming 2022). Here is the abstract: This article is about the views that shape and constrain the development of consumer law. Consider the market for short-term, high-cost loans. Policymakers tend to justify intervening in these markets on inefficiency grounds (consumers exhibit present bias) […]