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Financial Services Law Insights and Observations

Maryland affirms penalties of over $3 million against auto lender

State Issues State Attorney General Maryland Auto Finance Interest Rate Usury

State Issues

On August 11, the Maryland attorney general announced that a circuit court in Maryland affirmed that an auto-lending company’s transactions were illegal loans, not pawn transactions, and upheld the Consumer Protection Division’s imposition of $2.2 million in restitution and a $1.2 million penalty. In its press release, the AG alleged that the company “made predatory loans at outrageous interest rates, illegally repossessed cars, and preyed on Maryland consumers,” in violation of the Maryland Consumer Loan Law, the Maryland Interest and Usury Law, and the Installment Loan-Licensing Provision. According to the memorandum of the court, the loans issued by the company were not considered to be title pawn transactions, but were instead illegal consumer loans which “violated the consumer protection statutes as respondents were not licensed to make loans in Maryland, failed to make the required disclosures to the consumer, engaged in unfair trade practices, exceeded the statutory interest rate caps, took unpermitted security interests for loans of less than $700.00 and engaged in illegal repossession activities.”

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