The CFPB has announced a proposed settlement with Think Finance, LLC, formerly known as Think Finance, Inc., and six subsidiaries, to resolve the lawsuit the Bureau filed on November 15, 2017 (see our 11/16/2017 Top Story). The Bureau alleged that the Think Finance Entities engaged in unfair, deceptive, and abusive acts and practices in violation of the Consumer Financial Protection Act in connection with the illegal collection of loans that were void in whole or in part under state laws governing interest rate caps, the licensing of lenders, or both.
In 2018, the Bureau filed its first amended complaint, alleging that the Think Finance Entities operated as a common enterprise that affiliated with tribal lenders in the offering and collection of online installment loans and online lines of credit to consumers nationwide. The Think Finance Entities, the Bureau alleged, made deceptive demands and illegally took money from consumers’ bank accounts for debts that consumers did not actually owe because the loans were either partially or completely void under the law of 17 states. The Bureau also alleged that the Think Finance Entities provided substantial assistance to two debt collection companies that were also engaged in the illegal collection of loans.
If the proposed stipulated final consent order is entered by the court, it would, among other things, prohibit the Think Finance Entities from offering or collecting on loans to consumers in any of the 17 states if the loan violates state lending laws and from assisting others in engaging in that conduct. The proposed order would also impose a $1 civil money penalty for each of the seven Think Finance Entities.
The proposed settlement is part of a global resolution of the Think Finance Entities' bankruptcy proceeding, which includes settlements with the Pennsylvania Attorney General's Office and private parties in a class action suit. Consumer redress will come from a fund created as part of the global resolution, which is anticipated to have over $39 million available for distribution and may increase.