The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has finalized a settlement with Think Finance, an online payday lender, that will see the company and six of its subsidiaries pay fines of $1 each, for a total of $7, while reserving nearly $40 million to be returned to consumers who were victimized by the lender’s illegal collection activities.
The CFPB originally sued Think Finance back in 2017, in what was the last enforcement action under former director Richard Cordray. Last year, the two sides agreed to a settlement in which Think Finance and its subsidiaries, which have filed for bankruptcy protection, would pay $7 in fines and make $39 million available to consumers.
Back in 2017, the CFPB charged Think Finance with providing a platform for lenders to gouge consumers by charging higher-than-allowed interest rates or by making loans when it did not have a proper license to do so.
Think Finance marketed and solicited small-dollar loans on behalf of a number lenders that are owned by Native American tribes, including marketing, advertising, hosting websites, routing customer calls, training customer service agents to handle customer calls, monitoring employees, providing and maintaining a loan servicing platform, providing and maintaining loan origination software, identifying third party collection agencies, and facilitating the sale of delinquent accounts.
A copy of the proposed final consent order can be accessed by clicking here.
If agreed to by the court, Think Finance and its subsidiaries would be barred from offering or collecting on loans in any of the 17 states in which it originated loans that were void under those states’ laws. Those states are Arizona, Arkansas, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, and South Dakota. Think Finance helped originate more than $35 million of loans in those states and collected on more than $56 million in principal and interest.