Category Archives: Online Lending

FTC Lawsuit Highlights the Importance of Accuracy in Online Loan Advertising and Application Process

A lawsuit filed on April 25th by the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) against LendingClub Corporation (“LendingClub”) shows how promotional language used in attracting online borrowers can get a company in legal trouble if misleading or inaccurate. The FTC’s complaint alleges that LendingClub promised “no hidden fees” in print and online advertising, yet deducted an up-front fee before disbursing loan funds to borrowers. The FTC’s lawsuit also examines in detail the various pop-up bubbles and other features that the online loan platform used in the application process to disclose fees, noting that a consumer was unlikely to learn of the existence of the fees based on how such pop-up bubbles and other features worked. The FTC …

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Online Lending Legislation Fails in the 2018 Virginia General Assembly

A bill (HB 1248) to require online lenders to obtain a consumer finance company license to offer installment loans to Virginia consumers failed to advance in House of Delegates this session. Another bill (SB 625) that would have restricted the interest rate on such loans to no more than 36% likewise stalled in the House after passing the Senate with strong support. HB 1248, introduced by Delegate Terry Kilgore (R-Gate City), the Chairman of the House Commerce and Labor Committee, represented the work of a study group comprised of industry and government representatives appointed by the Virginia Bureau of Financial …

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Virginia Senate Committee Approves 36% Cap on Consumer Installment Loans

On January 29th, the Virginia Senate Commerce and Labor Committee approved legislation (SB 625) that would restrict the annual interest rate on all installment loans offered by consumer finance companies to no more than 36%. Under Virginia’s current consumer finance company statute, only loans of $2,500 or less are subject to a 36% annual interest rate restriction. For loans over $2,500, there is no restriction and a consumer finance company may charge interest at a rate established by contract. Thus, the bill would take the existing 36% cap – applicable only to loans of $2,500 or less – and extend it to all installment loans that consumer finance companies would be authorized to …

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Virginia Study on Internet Lending Concludes

The working group of the Virginia Bureau of Financial Institutions (the “Bureau”), which was established to consider potential legislation for the licensing and supervision of online lenders, held its last meeting on September 14th. The Bureau will now prepare a report, possibly with proposed legislation, to submit to the Virginia General Assembly for its consideration in the 2018 session. At the September 14th meeting, it was established that there is consensus (no opposition) among the working group members to recommending legislation to amend Virginia’s consumer finance company statutes to require the licensing of online lenders and to subject such lenders …

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Virginia Study Group Considers Licensing and Supervision of Internet Lenders at Second Meeting

The working group of the Virginia Bureau of Financial Institutions (the “Bureau”), which was established at the direction of the Virginia General Assembly to consider potential legislation to regulate internet lending, held its second meeting on July 15th. The focus of the group is primarily on online closed-end and open-end loans made by non-depository lenders, particularly out-of-state lenders.  Such lenders are not subject to the licensing and other requirements under Virginia’s current consumer finance statutes. At the outset of the meeting, representatives from both the Bureau and the Virginia Attorney General’s office expressed their view that all non-depository lenders making …

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Virginia Bureau of Financial Institutions to Study Internet Lending Issues for Legislative Recommendations

The 2017 Virginia General Assembly tabled a number of bills (HB 1443, HB 1817, HB 2310, HB 2310, HB 2445, and SB 1126) dealing with consumer finance companies, Internet lenders, and open-end credit with the understanding that the issues raised in such bills would be studied by a working group of the Virginia Bureau of Financial Institutions this year. The Bureau study group is tasked with making legislative recommendations for consideration by the Virginia General Assembly in its 2018 session, which convenes in January. The Bureau study will give particular attention to the licensing and supervision of Internet lenders making …

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Virginia General Assembly to Consider Legislation Impacting Online Lending in 2017 Session

Legislation affecting online lending will be among the bills the 2017 Virginia General Assembly considers when it convenes on January 11th for its regular session. Delegate Peter Farrell has prefiled two bills that would impose new licensing requirements and fee limitations on such loans. Similar bills are expected to be introduced by other members of the General Assembly. These measures have the support of the Virginia Bureau of Financial Institutions (the “Bureau”), the Virginia Attorney General’s office, and Legal Aid organizations, among others. With respect to Delegate Farrell’s bills, HB 1443 would subject any lender making consumer loans over the …

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National Bank Charter Will Be Available to Fintech Companies in the New Year

Financial technology companies will soon have a new business model to consider – one that will allow them to avoid the various licensing and other regulatory requirements in the states where they do business. The Office of Comptroller of the Currency (“OCC”), the federal banking agency responsible for the supervision of national banks, announced on December 2nd that it will start granting limited or special purpose national bank charters to fintech companies. There are, however, strings attached. A fintech company electing such a charter will be subject to many of the same rigorous safety and soundness standards that currently apply …

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Online Lender Fined for Requiring Repayment by AutoPay

In a March 16th decision, a federal magistrate judge in California ordered a lender to pay $500,000 in statutory damages under the Electronic Funds Transfer Act (“EFTA”) for conditioning online loans on borrowers’ agreements to repay such loans through automatic electronic funds transfers. Under the EFTA (15 U.S.C. §1693k), a lender may not condition an extension of credit on a consumer’s repayment by means of preauthorized electronic fund transfers (“EFTs”). The opinion in the case, Kempley v. Cashcall, Inc., notes that this is apparently the first court since the EFTA’s enactment to apply the EFTA’s civil damages provision in connection …

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SCOTUS Raises the Stakes in Madden v. Midland Funding

The Supreme Court recently “raised the stakes” concerning its potential review of a significant ruling of the Second Circuit by asking the Obama Administration whether the Supreme Court should review the case. The Obama Administration’s recommendation could potentially nudge the Court into reviewing the significant case that could permanently alter the national marketplace lending industry moving forward by jeopardizing a prevalent funding model used in the industry. The matter, Madden v. Midland Funding, concerns the current bank-partnership model that many marketplace or alternative lenders use to avoid compliance with individual states’ usury laws and interest-rate caps. The Second Circuit, in …

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