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Financial Services Law Insights and Observations

Massachusetts announces $27 million settlement with auto lender

State Issues Massachusetts Auto Finance Interest Rate

State Issues

On September 1, the Massachusetts attorney general announced “the largest settlement of its kind” with a Michigan-based auto finance company (defendant) resolving allegations of predatory lending and deceptive debt collection practices. The defendant allegedly made high-interest subprime auto loans that it knew or should have known that many borrowers would be unable to repay. The assurance of discontinuance states that some of the company’s borrowers were subject to hidden finance charges, which resulted in violations of Massachusetts’s 21 percent usury cap. The defendant also allegedly “failed to inform investors that it topped off securitization loan pools with higher-risk loans.” Under the terms of the settlement, the defendant must pay a total of $27.2 million and provide debt relief and credit repair to over 3,000 borrowers across the state who are expected to be eligible for settlement funds. The settlement also requires that the defendant make changes to its loan handling practices. According to the AG, this action “is part of her Office’s ongoing industry-wide review of securitization practices in the subprime auto loan market.”

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