Connect with us

Bad Credit

Virus Relief Bill Could Harm Lending, Collections Landscape

Published

on


By David Dormont, Gregory Donilon and Maura Russell

Law360 is providing free access to its coronavirus coverage to make sure all members of the legal community have accurate information in this time of uncertainty and change. Use the form below to sign up for any of our daily newsletters. Signing up for any of our section newsletters will opt you in to the daily Coronavirus briefing.

Law360 (September 8, 2020, 5:31 PM EDT) —

David Dormont
David Dormont
Gregory Donilon
Gregory Donilon
Maura Russell
Maura Russell

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact the U.S., Congress may potentially alter the legal landscape for creditors and debtors.

The U.S. House of Representatives recently passed H.R. 6800 — the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions, or HEROES, Act. This $3 trillion, 1,852-page bill contains provisions that would significantly affect the extension of credit to and the collection of debts from individuals, small businesses and nonprofit organizations.

In short, most legal collection and enforcement efforts against covered entities and individuals would likely be stayed nationwide for the foreseeable future. 

Since the pandemic began, creditors attempting to collect debts and/or enforce judgments and security interests have faced a hodgepodge of state and local procedures restricting such measures. Under the HEROES Act, those collection actions that have been allowed to proceed may actually grind to an indefinite halt. 

Highlighted below are several important provisions of the act that, if passed, would abruptly shift the playing field for creditors and debtors. These provisions also raise a host of questions and potential pitfalls. As detailed further, this well-intended legislation may actually be fraught with unintended consequences for both creditors and debtors — unintended consequences that could exacerbate already-distressed economic conditions.

The Bill

As a proposed amendment to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, the HEROES Act would prohibit most collection actions against small businesses and nonprofits from the date of the law’s enactment until 120 days after the end of the president’s national emergency declaration. This covered period figures to be a long pause, which may continue well into 2021.

The upshot of this legislative moratorium is that creditors may be saddled with large receivables that they cannot legally attempt to collect for at least a year. Once the act’s moratorium ends, it is likely that creditors attempting to seek relief through the court system could still encounter an unprecedented backlog of cases.

Additionally, the act would expand the FDCPA’s definition of a “debt collector” to include essentially any person or entity that engages in the collection of a debt and may require such person or entity to follow the requirements that the FDCPA places on debt collectors.

There are two important exceptions to the foregoing. First, a mortgage loan is not covered in the definition of a debt. Second, the restrictions do not apply to “an obligation arising out of a credit agreement entered into after the effective date” of the act.

Thus, if after the act becomes effective, (1) the debtor signs a new credit agreement, and (2) the creditor lends new money or tenders new goods based on that new credit agreement, then the creditor will not be restricted by the provisions of the act in collecting that new accumulated debt. 

Prohibited Collection Activity

The HEROES Act would bar various collection measures, including:

  • Enforcing a security interest;
  • Collecting any debt;
  • Commencing or continuing an action to evict a small business or nonprofit organization for nonpayment; and
  • Threatening to take any of the foregoing actions.

As proposed, the act would effectively stop the enforcement of any judgment against a covered business, even if the judgment was obtained before the act’s effective date. Arguably under The HEROES Act, creditors may also be prevented from asserting mechanic’s liens against covered businesses and nonprofits. Further, creditors may be forbidden from renewing existing liens as they expire due to state time limits. 

The HEROES Act’s prohibition on threats to take certain action raises the important question of whether a creditor would be prohibited from even filing a lawsuit against a debtor. In many jurisdictions, the entry of a judgment results in an attachment of the debtor’s real property, which the act would explicitly prohibit.

A lawsuit may therefore be deemed a threat to attach or foreclose on real property. While the act is silent about whether obtaining a judgment would violate the law, it does explicitly prohibit commencing or continuing an action to evict a small business or nonprofit.

As such, there is a potential statutory counterargument that, if Congress had intended to bar a creditor from commencing or continuing a suit for a debt owed, it knew how to do so and determined not to impose such a prohibition.

Protected Businesses

The HEROES Act would protect a wide array of businesses from collections, including small businesses and almost all nonprofits organizations, including most universities, schools, hospitals, religious organizations and charities.

With respect to small businesses, the act defines the term as having the same definition as the term “small business concern” in Section 3 of the Small Business Act. In addition to certain criteria enumerated in the SBA, classification as a small business concern under the SBA is dependent upon the definition of “small” under industry size standards categorized using North American Industry Classification System codes.

The industry size standards are generally based on the average number of employees over the previous year or average annual receipts over the past three years. 

Creditors should take note that these standards vary from industry to industry and some businesses may still qualify as a small business concern and, thus, a small business under the HEROES Act, despite having as many as 1,500 employees or up to approximately $40 million in average annual receipts depending upon the applicable industry.

Indeed, the SBA definition of a “small business concern” encompasses more than just the typical mom-and-pop shop and includes a large segment of U.S. businesses. Given the complexities of identifying a small business under the HEROES Act, and before pursuing any collection activity against another business, creditors should seek assistance from legal counsel to determine whether a particular business is a small business protected by the act.

Tolling

The HEROES Act would toll “[a]ny applicable time limitations for exercising an action” against a small business or nonprofit for the duration of the covered period. Accordingly, the act attempts to protect creditors who are unable to timely pursue claims as a result of the act’s restrictions

This provision of the act, however, raises the constitutional question of whether this federal act can modify a state’s statute of limitations period. This question may need to be addressed by the courts in coming years. 

Penalties

Violations of the collection provisions of the proposed HEROES Act are subject to the penalties set forth in Section 813 of the FDCPA. Along with those potential damages specified under the FDCPA, in any successful action to enforce the foregoing liability, the costs of the action and reasonable attorney fees may be awarded.

While pursuing such claims may seem like a bonanza for plaintiff’s firms, under the unique Catch-22 of the HEROES Act, any judgment obtained against a small business could not be enforced and, arguably, may not even be commenced.

Protections for Consumer Debts

The HEROES Act also offers a variety of protections to individuals that parallel those offered to small businesses and nonprofits, including a proposed eviction moratorium, and prohibitions of the same broad array of collection efforts. The HEROES Act also clarifies that, after the covered period ends and debt-collection protections expire, individuals will not be forced to repay those debts at an accelerated rate. 

The HEROES Act creates a credit facility for creditors and debt collectors who suffer losses caused by loan forbearance to consumers.

But companies seeking these loans will be subject to extra restrictions, including (1) the companies must grant automatic forbearance “upon the request of a consumer,” and (2) they may not charge “fees, penalties, or interest (beyond the amounts scheduled or calculated as if the borrower made all contractual payments on time and in full under the terms of the loan contract) … to the borrower in connection with the forbearance.”

The exact requirements for obtaining these credit facilities and how such facilities will be rolled out are not spelled out in the act and will require significant regulatory input and clarification. 

Impact on Creditors

At first blush, the proposed restrictions on collection efforts under the HEROES Act appear to give struggling businesses and nonprofits the needed breathing room to stabilize their operations and cash flow, and get back on their feet.

In practice, due to the act’s expansive effect, imprecise definitions and indefinite duration, the act’s long-term impact on small businesses and nonprofits may have the opposite effect. In particular, other businesses large and small may hesitate doing business with such entities due to the increased credit risk posed by such transactions.

During the covered period, lenders, vendors and suppliers looking to do business with small businesses and/or nonprofits would no longer be able to rely on the ordinary business terms and relationships that existed prior to the effective date of the HEROES Act.

In order for post-effective date lending, extensions of credit, and delivery of goods to fall outside the restrictions of the act, new credit agreements would need to be entered into before the extension of credit or other business transaction with the small business or nonprofit.

Vendors and suppliers without a new credit agreement may consider providing goods or services to a small business or nonprofit on a cash in advance or a cash on delivery basis to protect themselves from being unable to collect from a small businesses or nonprofit that fails to timely perform or satisfy even post-HEROES Act debt obligations.

This will make an already bad credit situation even worse. As the term “credit agreement” is not defined under the HEROES Act, lenders, vendors and suppliers, even if unsure as to whether or not a business is considered a small business or nonprofit organization under the act, would be well served to memorialize further lending and extensions of credit in a new master credit agreement, evidencing the timing and the credit terms.

It is important to note that, under the act, pre-HEROES Act debt is not being forgiven. It is merely being postponed. As many lenders, vendors and suppliers will continue to do business with many small businesses and nonprofits, the act’s standstill could lead to financial difficulties for these creditors themselves. Moreover, these same creditor entities may or may not be protected from their own creditors by the HEROES Act.

If they are not protected, these lenders, vendors and suppliers could be faced with creditor workouts or bankruptcy scenarios of their own. Lenders, vendors and suppliers will be faced with important decisions of whether they want to continue to do business with business entities under these circumstances.

The HEROES Act will most certainly influence — and in many instances negatively — key components of the bankruptcy system. Indeed, without the need to file for bankruptcy protection, the act serves as a massive, unsupervised automatic stay for tens of millions of individuals and businesses.

Not only would collection efforts be stayed under the act, but creditors — now all classified as debt collectors — are likely prohibited from, among other things, commencing an involuntary bankruptcy proceeding against a small business or nonprofit organization that is in default on its payment obligations to such creditor on account of a pre-HEROES Act covered debt.

Instead, the creditor must stand by and wait until the covered period expires, in the hopes that the small business or nonprofit organization has stabilized itself and has the necessary cash flow to resume payments under the payment plans imposed by the HEROES Act. 

Preferring Creditors

The HEROES Act expressly does not prohibit a small business or nonprofit “from voluntarily paying, in whole or in part, a debt,” thereby allowing small businesses and nonprofits to prefer one creditor over another during the covered period. In a bankruptcy proceeding, a trustee is vested with avoidance powers to recover such preferential payments and redistribute them among the debtor’s creditors.

Given the duration of the covered period, many payments made to preferred creditors during the covered period would no longer be avoidable in a subsequent bankruptcy case or state court insolvency proceeding because the applicable look back period (usually 90 days) under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code and certain state laws will have expired.

Thus, unless the lookback period is extended, preferential payments made by a small business or nonprofit to certain of their creditors during the covered period may ultimately be unrecoverable to the detriment of other creditors that were not paid and were faced with the restrictions of the HEROES Act.

Furthermore, given the broad definition of a “debt collector,” the act might even prevent a trustee in a pending bankruptcy case from commencing or continuing any preference avoidance action against a small business or nonprofit organization until such time as the covered period is over.

While affording small businesses and nonprofits with the necessary breathing room for the near future, the HEROES Act may do little more than delay the inevitable rush to the bankruptcy court that may still occur after the covered period.

Unsecured lenders, vendors and suppliers who continue to do business with these small businesses and nonprofits may find that, even with a new credit agreement as discussed above, once the covered period is over, they stand in a very long line for payment with all of the other creditors of such small business or nonprofit.

Absent a perfected lien or security interest, such unsecured lender, vendor or supplier will have no preferred status over other pre-HEROES Act creditors. 


David Dormont, Gregory Donilon, and Maura Russell are partners at Montgomery McCracken Walker & Rhoads LLP.

The opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the firm, its clients, or Portfolio Media Inc., or any of its or their respective affiliates. This article is for general information purposes and is not intended to be and should not be taken as legal advice.

For a reprint of this article, please contact [email protected].

Source link

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Bad Credit

Inside the Highly Profitable and Secretive World of Payday Lenders

Published

on

Illustration by Sarah Maxwell, Folio Art

When Bridget Davis got started in the family’s payday lending business in 1996, there was just one Check ’n Go store in Cincinnati. She says she did it all: customer service, banking duties, even painting walls.

The company had been established two years earlier by her husband, Jared Davis, and was growing rapidly. There were 100 Check ’n Go locations by 1997, when Jared and Bridget (née Byrne) married and traveled the country together looking for more locations to open storefront outlets. They launched another 400 stores in 1998, mostly in strip malls and abandoned gas stations in low-income minority neighborhoods where the payday lending target market abounds. Bridget drove the supply truck and helped select locations and design the store layouts.

But Jared soon fired his wife for committing what may be the ultimate sin in the payday lending business: She forgave a customer’s debt. “A young woman came to pay her $20 interest payment,” Bridget wrote in court documents last year during divorce proceedings from Jared. “I pulled her file, calculated that she had already paid $320 to date on a principle [sic] loan of $100. I told her she was paid in full. [Jared] fired me, stating, ‘We are here to make money, not help customers manage theirs. If you can’t do that, you can’t work here.’ ”

Photograph by Brittany Dexter

It’s a business philosophy that pays well, especially if you’re charging fees and interest rates of 400 percent that can more than triple the amount of the loan in just five months—the typical time most payday borrowers need to repay their debt, says the Pew Charitable Trusts, a nonprofit organization focused on public policy. Cincinnati-based Check ’n Go now operates more than 1,100 locations in 25 states as well as an internet lending service with 24/7 access from the comfort of your own home, according to its website. Since its founding, the company has conducted more than 50 million transactions.

What the website doesn’t say is that many, if not most, of those transactions were for small loans of $50 to $500 to working people trying to scrape by and pay their bills. In most states—including Ohio, until it reformed its payday lending laws in 2019—borrowers typically fork over more than one-third of their paycheck to meet the deadline for repayment, usually in two weeks. To help guarantee repayment, borrowers turn over access to their checking account or deposit a check with the lender. In states that don’t offer protection, customers go back again and again to borrow more money from the same payday lender, typically up to 10 times, driving themselves into a debt trap that can lead to bankruptcy.

Jared and Bridget Davis are embroiled in a nasty court battle related to his 2019 divorce filing in Hamilton County Domestic Relations Court. Thousands of pages of filings and 433 docket entries by April 26 offer the public a rare glimpse into the business operations of Check ’n Go, one of Cincinnati’s largest privately-owned companies, as well as personal lifestyles funded by payday lending.

The company cleared $77 million in profit in 2018, a figure that dipped the following year to $55 million, according to an audit by Deloitte. That drop in revenue may have something to do with the payday lending reform laws and interest rate caps passed recently in Ohio as well as a growing number of other states.


The day-to-day business transactions that provide such profit are a depressing window into how those who live on the edge of financial security are often stuck with few options for improving their situations. If a borrower doesn’t repay or refinance his or her original loan, a lender like Check ’n Go deposits the guarantee check and lets it bounce, causing the borrower to incur charges for the bounced check and eventually lose his or her checking account, says Nick DiNardo, an attorney for the Legal Aid Society of Greater Cincinnati. After two missed payments, payday lenders usually turn over the debt to a collection agency. If the collection agency fails to collect the full amount of the original loan as well as all fees and interest, it goes to court to garnish the borrower’s wages.

That devastating experience is all too familiar to Anthony Smith, a 60-year-old Wyoming resident who says he was laid off from several management positions over a 20-year period. He turned to payday lenders as his credit rating dropped and soon found himself caught in a debt trap that took him years to escape.

Two things happened in 2019, Smith says, that turned around his financial fortunes. First, he found a stable manufacturing job with the Formica Company locally, and then he took his mother’s advice and opened a credit union account. GE Credit Union not only gave him a reasonable loan to pay off his $2,500 debt but also issued him his first credit card in a decade. “I had been a member [of the credit union] for just two months, and I had a credit rating of 520. Can you imagine?” he says. Smith says he is now debt-free for the first time in 10 years.

Consumer advocates say Check ’n Go is one of the biggest payday lending operations in the nation. But knowing its exact ranking is difficult because most payday lending companies, including Check ’n Go and its parent company CNG Holdings, are privately held and reluctant to disclose their finances.

Brothers Jared and David Davis own the majority of the company’s privately held stock. David bought into the company in 1995, but CNG got its game-changing infusion of capital from the brothers’ father, Allen Davis, who retired as CEO of then-Provident Bank in 1998. Allen sold off $37 million in stock options and essentially became CNG’s bank and consultant.

By 2005, however, the sons were part of a public court battle against their father. Allen accused Jared and David of treating his millions in CNG stock as compensation instead of a transfer from his ex-wife (and the brothers’ mother), sticking him with a $13 million tax bill. In turn, the brothers accused Allen of putting his mistress and his yacht captain on the company payroll, taking $1.2 million in fees without board approval, and leading the company into ventures that lost Check ’n Go a lot of money. Several years of legal fighting later, the IRS was still demanding its $13 million. CNG officials did not respond to requests for comment for this story.

Jared and David split $22 million in profit from CNG in 2018 and, according to the Deloitte audit, CNG’s balance sheet showed another $42 million that could be split between the two brothers in 2019. Jared, however, elected not to receive his $21 million distribution “in order to create this artificial financial crisis and shelter millions of dollars from an equitable split between us,” according to Bridget’s divorce filing.

Worse, she claims, Jared said they would be responsible for paying taxes out of their personal accounts rather than from CNG’s company earnings, making her personally responsible for half of the $5.5 million in taxes for 2019. She believes it wasn’t happenstance that $5.5 million was wired to Jared’s private bank account in December of that same year. Bridget has refused to sign the joint tax return, and Jared filed a complaint with the court saying a late tax filing would cost them $1 million in penalties and missed tax opportunities.

“For the duration of our marriage and to the present, Jared has full and complete control of all money paid to us from various investments we have made in addition to our main source of income, CNG,” Bridget wrote in her motion. She suspects that Jared, without her knowledge or consent, plowed the money for their taxes and from other sources of income into Black Diamond Group, the fund that invests in the Agave & Rye restaurant chain. Beyond the original restaurant opened in Covington in 2018, “they have opened four other locations in one year,” she wrote, including Louisville and Lexington. (The ninth location opened in Hamilton this spring.) Agave & Rye’s website touts its Mexican fare as “a chef-inspired take on the standard taco, elevating this simple food into something epic!”

In his response, Jared wrote, “We have very limited regular sources of income.” He says he isn’t receiving any additional distributions from CNG, the couple’s primary source of income, “and this is not within my control. The company has declared that we would not make any further distributions in 2020 given economic circumstances. This decision is based on a formula and is not discretionary.” Agave & Rye helped produce $645,000 in income for Black Diamond in 2020 but has paid out $890,000 in loans, he says. Through August 31, 2020, he wrote, the couple’s “expenses have exceeded income from all sources.”


The divorce case filings start slinging mud when the couple accuses each other of breaking up their 22-year marriage and finding new partners. Jared claims Bridget began an affair during their marriage with Brian Duncan, a contractor she employed through her house flipping business. Bridget, he says, paid Duncan’s company $75,000 in 2018 as well as giving him a personal gift of $70,000 that same year. Jared says she also bought Duncan at least one car and purchased a house for him near hers on Shawnee Run Road for $289,000, then loaned money to Duncan. Jared says Duncan has been late in repaying the note.

While Bridget says Duncan has been drug-free for several years, he has a rap sheet with Hamilton County courts from 2000 to 2017 that runs five pages long. It lists a half-dozen counts of drug abuse and drug possession, including heroin and possession of illegal drug paraphernalia; assaulting a police officer; stealing a Taser from a police officer; criminal damaging while being treated at UC Health; more than a dozen speeding and traffic violations; a half-dozen counts of driving with a suspended license; receiving stolen property; twice fleeing and resisting arrest; three counts of theft; two counts of forgery; and one count for passing bad checks.

Bridget has fired back that Jared not only is hiding his money from her but spending it lavishly on vacations, resorts, and high-end restaurants with his new girlfriend, Susanne Warner. Bridget says Jared gifted Warner with $40,000 without Bridget’s knowledge, then declared it on their joint tax return as a “contribution.” Bridget’s court filings include photocopies of social media posts of Jared and Warner globetrotting from summer 2019 to summer 2020: vacation at Beaver Creek Village in Avon, Colorado; cocktails at High Cotton in Charleston, South Carolina, and dinner at Melvyn’s Restaurant and Lounge in Palm Springs, California; getaways at resorts in Nashville and at a lakefront rental on Norris Lake ($600 per night); in the Bahamas at a Musha Cay private residence ($57,000 per night), at South Beach in Miami, and at a private beach at Fisher Island; in Mexico at Cabo San Lucas; in the U.S. Virgin Islands at Magen’s Bay and on a private yacht ($4,500 per night); in California at Desert Hot Springs, the Ritz-Carlton in Rancho Mirage, and Montage at Laguna Beach; and in the Bahamas at South Cottage ($2,175 per night).

For her part, Bridget has gone through some of the top lawyers in town faster than President Trump during an impeachment—six in all, two of whom she’s sued for malpractice. She sent four binders of evidence to the Ohio Supreme Court, asking for the recusal of Hamilton County Judge Amy Searcy and claiming Searcy was biased because of campaign donations from Jared and his companies. Rather than deal with the list of questions sent to her by Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor, Searcy stepped down. Two other judges have since stepped into the fray, and in March Bridget filed for a change of venue outside of Hamilton County, arguing she can’t get a fair trial in her hometown. At press time, a trial date had been set for June 28 in Hamilton County.

The poor-mouthing in the divorce case has reached heights of comic absurdity. Jared claims he’s “illiquid” because he didn’t get his distribution from CNG in 2019. Bridget has received debt collection notices for the nearly $21,000 owed on her American Express card and a $735 bill from Jewish Hospital. There’s no sign yet that anyone is coming to repossess her Porsche, which according to her filings has a $5,000 monthly payment. Each party has received $25,000 a month in living expenses, an amount later reduced to $15,000 under a temporary legal agreement while the divorce case is being sorted out. Court filings show that Jared’s net worth is almost $206 million and Bridget’s is $22.5 million.


In the early 1990s, Allen Davis was raising eyebrows at Provident Bank (later bought by National City), and not only because of his very unbanker-like look of beard, ponytail, and casual golf wear. He was leading the company into questionable subprime home loans for people with bad credit and a frequent-shopper program for merchants, though the bank’s charter barred him from getting involved in full-blown predatory lending practices. With guidance and funding from his father, Jared, at age 26, launched Check ’n Go in 1994 and became a pioneer in the payday lending industry. Jared and his family saw there were millions of Americans who didn’t have checking or savings accounts (“unbanked”) or an adequate credit rating (“underbanked”) but still needed loans to meet their everyday expenses. What those potential customers did have was a steady paycheck.

Conventional banks share a big part of the blame for the nation’s army of unbanked borrowers by imposing checking account fees and onerous penalties for bounced checks. In 2019, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation estimated there were 7.1 million U.S. households without a checking or savings account.

The Davises launched Check ’n Go on the pretext that it would “fill the gap” for people who occasionally needed to borrow money in a hurry—a service for those who couldn’t get a loan any other way. But consumer advocates say the real business model for payday lending isn’t a service at all. The majority of the industry’s revenue comes from repeat business by customers trapped in debt, not from borrowers looking for a quick, one-time fix for their financial troubles.

Ohio’s payday lending lobbyists got a strong hold on the state legislature in the late 1990s, and by 2018 Democratic gubernatorial candidate Richard Cordray could rightfully claim in a campaign ad that “Ohio’s [payday lending] laws are now the worst in the nation. Things have gotten so bad that it is legal to charge 594 percent interest on loans.” His statement was based on a 2014 study by the Pew Charitable Trusts.

The frustration for consumer advocates was that Ohioans had been trying to reform those laws since 2008, when voters overwhelmingly approved a ballot initiative placing a 28 percent cap on the interest of payday loans. But—surprise!—lenders simply registered as mortgage brokers, which enabled them to charge unlimited fees.

The Davis family and five other payday lending companies controlled 90 percent of the market back then, an express gravy train ripping through the poorest communities in Ohio. The predatory feeding frenzy, especially in Ohio’s hard-hit Rust Belt communities, prompted a 2017 column at The Daily Beast titled, “America’s Worst Subprime Lender: Jared Davis vs. Allan Jones?” (Jones is founder and CEO of Tennessee-based Check Into Cash.) In 2016 and 2017, consumer advocates mustered their forces again, and this time they weren’t allowing for loopholes. The Pew Charitable Trusts joined efforts with bipartisan lawmakers and Ohioans for Payday Loan Reform, a statewide coalition of faith, business, local government, and nonprofit organizations. Consumer advocates found a legislative champion in State Rep. Kyle Koehler, a Republican from Springfield.

It no doubt helped reform efforts that former Ohio Speaker of the House Cliff Rosenberger resigned in spring 2018 amid an FBI investigation into his cozy relationship with payday lenders. Rosenberger had taken frequent overseas trips—to destinations including France, Italy, Israel, and China—in the company of payday lending lobbyists. In April 2019, Ohio’s new lending law took effect and, since then, has been called a national model for payday lending reform that balances protections for borrowers, profits for lenders, and access to credit for the poor, according to the Pew Charitable Trusts. New prices in Ohio are three to four times lower for payday loans than before the law. Borrowers now have up to three months to repay their loans with no more than 6 percent of their paycheck. Pew estimates that the cost of borrowing $400 for three months dropped from $450 to $109, saving Ohioans at least $75 million a year. And despite claims that the reforms would eliminate access to credit, lenders currently operate in communities across the state and online. “The bipartisan success shows that if you set fair rules and enforce them, lenders play by them and there’s widespread access to credit,” says Gabe Kravitz, a consumer finance officer at the Pew Charitable Trusts.

Other states like Virginia, Kansas, and Michigan are following Ohio’s lead, Kravitz says. Some states, such as Nebraska, have even capped annual interest on payday loans. As a result, Pew researchers have seen a reduction in the number of storefront lending op­erations across the country. Even better, Kravitz says, there’s no evidence that borrowers are turning instead to online payday lending operations.

Cincinnati is one of five cities chosen for a grant to replicate the success of Boston Builds Credit, an ambitious effort that city launched in 2017 to provide credit counseling in poor and minority communities by training specialists at existing social service agencies. The program also encourages consumer partnerships with credit unions, banks, and insurance companies to offer small, manageable loans that can help the unbanked and underbanked improve their credit ratings. “Right now, local organizations are all kind of working in silos on the problem in Cincinnati,” says Todd Moore of the nonprofit credit counseling agency Trinity Debt Relief. Moore, who applied for the Boston grant, says he’s looking for an agency like United Way or Strive Cincinnati to lead the effort here.

Anthony Smith is thankful that he’s escaped the downward spiral of his payday loans, especially during the pandemic’s economic turmoil. “I’m blessed for every day I can get paid and have a job during these difficult times, just to be able to pay my bills and meet my responsibilities,” he says. “I’ve always kept a job, but until now I’ve had crappy credit. That doesn’t mean I’m a bad guy.”

Can others worth millions of dollars say the same?

Inside the Highly Profitable and Secretive World of Payday Lenders Source link Inside the Highly Profitable and Secretive World of Payday Lenders



Source link

Continue Reading

Bad Credit

What’s Questionable Credit and Can I Get a Car Loan With It?

Published

on

Questionable’s definition means that something’s quality is up for debate. If a lender says that your credit score is questionable, it’s likely that they mean it’s poor, or at the very least, they’re hesitant to approve you for vehicle financing. Here’s what most lenders consider questionable credit, and what auto loan options you may have.

Questionable Credit and Auto Lenders

Many auto lenders may consider questionable credit as a borrower with a credit score below 660. The credit score tiers as sorted by Experian the national credit bureau, are:

  • Super prime: 850 to 781
  • Prime: 780 to 661
  • Nonprime: 660 to 601
  • Subprime: 600 to 501
  • Deep subprime: 500 to 300

The nonprime credit tiers and below is when you start to get into bad credit territory and may struggle to meet the credit score requirements of traditional auto lenders.

This is because lenders are looking at your creditworthiness – your perceived ability to repay loans based on the information in your credit reports. Besides your actual credit score, there may be situations where the items in your credit reports are what’s making a lender question whether you’re a good candidate for an auto loan. These can include:

  • A past or active bankruptcy
  • A past or recent vehicle repossession
  • Recent missed/late payments
  • High credit card balances
  • No credit history

There are ways to get into an auto loan with questionable credit. Your options can change depending on what’s making your credit history questionable, though.

Questionable Credit Auto Loans

If your credit score is less than stellar, it may be time to look at these two lending options:

  • What Is Questionable Credit and Can I Get a Car Loan With It?Subprime financing – Done through special finance dealerships by third-party subprime lenders. These lenders can often assist with many unique credit situations, provided you can meet their requirements. A great option for new borrowers with thin files, situational bad credit, or consumers with older negative marks.
  • In-house financing – May not require a credit check, and is done through buy here pay here (BHPH) dealers. Typically, your income and down payment amount are the most important parts of eligibility. Auto loans without a credit check may not allow for credit repair and may come with a higher-than-average interest rate.

Both of these car loan options are typically available to borrowers with credit challenges. However, if you have more recent, serious delinquencies on your credit reports, a BHPH dealer may be for you. Most traditional and subprime lenders typically don’t approve financing for borrowers with a dismissed bankruptcy, a repossession less than a year old, or borrowers with multiple, recent missed/late payments.

Requirements of Bad Credit Car Loans

In many cases, your income and down payment size are the biggest factors in your overall eligibility for bad credit auto loans. Expect to need:

  • 30 days of recent computer-generated check stubs to prove you have around $1,500 to $2,500 of monthly gross income. Borrowers without W-2 income may need two to three years of professionally prepared tax returns.
  • A down payment of at least $1,000 or 10% of the vehicle’s selling price. BHPH dealers may require up to 20% of the car’s selling price.
  • Proof of residency in the form of a recent utility bill in your name.
  • Proof of a working phone (no prepaid phones), proven with a recent phone bill in your name.
  • A list of five to eight personal references with name, phone number, and address.
  • Valid driver’s license with the correct address, can’t be revoked, expired, or suspended.

Depending on your individual situation, you may need fewer or more items to apply for a bad credit auto loan. However, preparing these documents before you head to a dealership can speed up the process!

Ready to Get on the Road?

With questionable credit, finding a dealership that’s able to assist you with an auto loan is easier said than done. Here at Auto Credit Express, we want to get that done for you with our coast-to-coast network of special finance dealerships.

Complete our free auto loan request form and we’ll get right to work looking for a dealer in your local area that can assist with many tough credit situations.

(function(d, s, id){ var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) {return;} js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id; js.src = "http://connect.facebook.net/en_US/sdk/debug.js"; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs); }(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk'));

Source link

Continue Reading

Bad Credit

Entrepreneur Tae Lee Finds Her Fortune

Published

on

By Jasmine Shaw
For The Birmingham Times

Birmingham native Tae Lee had plans last year to visit the continent of Africa, the South American country of Columbia, and the U.S. state of Texas.

“I was going to stay in each place for like four to six weeks, and then COVID-19 happened,” she said. “So, I just was like, ‘You know what, I’m just gonna go to Mexico and stay for six months.’”

Once home from Playa Del Carmen, located on Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula, the 33-year-old entrepreneur put the final touches on “Game of Fortune: Win in Wealth or Lose in Debt,” a financial literacy card game for ages 10 and up.

“We created ‘Game of Fortune’ because we realized there was a gap in learning the fundamentals of money,” said Lee. “We go through life not knowing anything about money and then—‘Bam!’—real life hits. Credit, debt, and bills come at us quick!”

Lee believes the game “gives players a glimpse of real life” by using everyday scenarios to teach them how to make wiser financial decisions without having to waste their own money.

“I feel like [financial literacy] can be learned in ways other than somebody standing up and preaching it to you over and over again,” she said. “You can learn it in ways that are considered fun, as well.”

Which is why “we want the schools to buy it, so we can give students a fun way to learn about financial literacy,” she added.

Lee, also called the “Money Maximizer,” is an international best-selling financial author, speaker, coach, and trainer who is known for her financial literacy books, including “Never Go Broke (NGB): An Entrepreneur’s Guide to Money and Freedom” and the “NGB Money Success Planner High School Edition.” The Birmingham-based financial guru focuses on creating diverse streams of income in the tax, real estate, insurance, and finance industries.

For Lee, it’s about building generational wealth, not debt.

Indispensable Lessons

Lee got her first glance at entrepreneurial life as a child watching her mother, Valeria Robinson, run her commercial cleaning company, V’s Cleaning. Robinson retired in 2019.

“My grandmother had a cleaning service, too,” said Lee. “So, even though I didn’t start out as an entrepreneur, watching my mom and grandma do it taught me a lot.”

Lee grew up in Birmingham and attended Riley Elementary School, Midfield Middle School, and Huffman High School. She then went on to Jacksonville State University, in Jacksonville, Alabama, where she earned bachelor’s degree in physical education. She struggled to find a career in her field and became overwhelmed by student loans.

“My credit and stuff didn’t get bad until after college,” she said. “I was going through school and taking money, but nobody told me, ‘Oh, you’re gonna have to pay all of this back.’”

Before embarking on her extensive career in money management, Lee had not learned the indispensable lessons that she now shares with clients.

“‘Don’t have bad credit.’ That’s all I learned,” she remembers. “Financial literacy just wasn’t taught much. I learned the majority of my lessons as I aged.”

In an effort to ward off collection calls and raise her credit score, Lee researched tactics to strategically eliminate her debt.

“I knew I had to pay bills on time, and I couldn’t be late with payments,” she said.

Lee eventually began helping friends revamp their finances and opened NGB Inc. in 2017 to share fun, educational methods to help her clients build solid financial foundations.

“People were always coming to me like, ‘How do I invest in this?’ and ‘How do I do that?’ So, I said to myself, ‘You know what, people should be paying to pick your brain.’”

Legacy Building

While Lee enjoyed watching her clients reach milestones, like buying a new car with cash or making their first stock market investment, she was also designing “Game of Fortune” to teach the value of legacy building.

“The game gives players the knowledge to build generational wealth, not generational debt,” she said. “It gives you a glimpse of life, money, and what can truly happen if you mismanage your coins.”

Using index cards to create her first “Game of Fortune” sample deck, Lee filled each card with pertinent terms related to debt elimination and credit and wealth building. She then called on a few friends to help her work through the kinks.

Three of her good friends—Barbara Bratton, Daña Brown, and Sha Cannon—were just a few of the people that gave feedback on the sample deck.

“From there I met with Brandon Brooks, [owner of the Birmingham-based Brooks Realty Investments LLC], and four other financial advisors to fine-tune the definitions and game logistics,” Lee said.

Though Lee was unable to land a job in physical education after graduating from college, she now sees her career with NGB Inc. as life’s unexpected opportunity to teach on her own terms.

“Bartending and waitressing taught me that working for someone else was not for me,” she replied. “In order to get the life I always wanted, I had to create my own business.”

In her entrepreneurial pursuits, Lee strives to be an open-minded leader who embraces the need for flexibility.

“COVID-19 has shown me that in entrepreneurship you have to maneuver,” she said. “When life changes, sometimes your business will, too. You may have to change the path, but your ending goal can be the same.”

“Game of Fortune: Win in Wealth or Lose in Debt” is available and sold only on the “Game of Fortune” website: gameoffortune.money. To learn more about Tae Lee and Never Go Broke Inc., visit taelee.money and nevergobroke.money or email [email protected]; you also can follow her on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/nevergobrokeinc) and Instagram (@nevergobrokeinc).

Source link

Continue Reading

Trending