By Lee P. Dunham, J.D.
On June 13, 2018, the CFPB entered into a settlement with consumer lending entities Security Group Inc., a South Carolina corporation, and its subsidiaries, Security Finance Corporation of Spartanburg and Professional Financial Services Corp. (collectively, the Lenders), in which the Lenders agreed to the issuance of a consent order finding that they had violated various provisions of the Consumer Financial Protection Act (CFPA), Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and Regulation V (Furnisher Rule) and ordering the payment of a $5 million civil penalty (In the Matter of Security Group, Inc. et al., CFPB File No. 2018-BCFP-0002.).
Findings. According to the consent order, the CFPB found that the Lenders had engaged in unfair acts or practices in violation of the CFPA, 12 U.S.C. §§ 5531(a) and 5536(a)(1)(B). Such acts included: (a) making humiliating and harassing in-person collection visits to consumers’ homes and places of employment; (b) making harassing calls to consumers at their places of employment after having being asked by the consumers, their colleagues, and/or employers to stop calling; and (c) making continued calls to third parties, including consumers' credit references, supervisors, landlords, family members, and suspected family members in a manner that disclosed or risked disclosing the existence of delinquent debt to third parties and/or when the Lenders knew or should have known that the consumers or the third parties had previously requested that the calls cease.
The CFPB also found that the Lenders violated the FCRA and the Furnisher Rule (Section 1022.42(a)) by regularly furnishing inaccurate and incomplete information about consumers to credit reporting agencies.
Consent order terms. Under the terms of the "Consent Order," the Lenders are required to: refrain from further violations; correct inaccurate information they furnished to credit reporting agencies within 90 days; submit a "comprehensive compliance plan" to the CFPB to ensure future compliance with the relevant legal requirements; and pay a $5 million civil monetary penalty.
Companies: Security Finance Corporation of Spartanburg; Security Group, Inc.; Professional Financial Services Corp.
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