California DBO Reaches $160,000 Settlement with Payday Lender

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​On March 12, 2018, the California Department of Business Oversight (California DBO) announced that it reached a settlement with a payday lender over allegations that the lender improperly raised the principal value of its vehicle-secured loans to avoid interest rate caps imposed by the California Finance Law, Fin. Code § 22000 et seq. (CFL). The CFL imposes interest rate caps that apply to loans with principal amounts up to $2,500. According to the California DBO, the payday lender charged DMV fees to customers and improperly added those fees to the loan’s principal amount in an effort to exceed the $2,500 threshold and thus skirt the CFL’s interest rate caps. The California DBO also alleged that the company engaged unlicensed lead generators to find potential customers in violation of the CFL. Under the settlement, the payday lender agreed to pay $82,000 in restitution to 519 borrowers and an administrative penalty of $78,000.

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