The return of rent-a-bank lending is the most serious threat in 20 years to states' ability to protect their residents from predatory lending. Proposed rules would make it easier for high-cost lenders to launder their loans through banks.

What is Rent-A-Bank?

 

The Rent-A-Bank Scheme | Center for Responsible Lending, regularly updated

"Predatory lenders are making loans of 100% APR or more in states with limits of 36% or less by laundering loans through an out-of-state bank that is not subject to state interest rate limits. This is a rent-a-bank scheme."

 

Payday lenders and online consumer lenders are starting to make usurious loans up to 160% in states where those rates are illegal by using banks, which are not subject to state rate caps, as a fig leaf. Banks have little to do with the loans, which they immediately sell.

 

Bank regulators shut down these schemes in the early 2000s, but two state-chartered banks, FinWiseBank and Republic Bank and Trust, both regulated by the FDIC, are again helping payday lenders evade the law in 28 states & DC

 

NCLC issue brief on rent-a-bank lending and threat to usury laws

FDIC / OCC Proposal Would Encourage Rent-a-Bank Predatory Lending | NCLC, December 2019

 

This issue brief explains the business arrangements between banks and lenders and legal issues with rent-a-bank lending. And it highlights the huge threat that an FDIC/OCC proposal poses to states' historic ability to limit interest rates and to protect their residents from predatory lending.

 

Comments on the OCC proposal are due Jan 21, 2020 and on the FDIC proposal are due Feb 4, 2020.

 

Rent-A-Bank In The News
2020

 

Proposed Federal Banking Rule Would Unleash Predatory Lending in All 50 States | Press Release, Consumer Federation of America, September 4, 2020. "The OCC’s Plan Would Gut Longstanding Anti-Evasion Doctrine and Encourage Triple-Digit Interest Rate Loans That Violate State Rate Cap Laws."

 

DBO Launches Investigation Into Possible Evasion of California’s New Interest Rate Caps By Prominent Auto Title Lender, LoanMart | Press Release, CA Dept of Business Oversight (DBO), September 3, 2020

 

The risks of Fintech - including Rent-A-Bank schemes - for consumers. The Fintech Debt Trap | Alyssa Katz, The Intercept, August 30, 2020 in partnership with TypeInvestigations

 

This article explains what the threat means to states like AZ and NC that took action against high cost payday lending. After a 15-year ban, could payday lending return to North Carolina? | Sophie Kasakove, The News & Observer, August 6, 2020

 

OCC Proposal Would Turn State Interest Rate Limits Into a “Dead Letter,” Causing Explosion of Rent-a-Bank Payday Lending that Will Devastate Struggling Families | NCLC Press Release, July 20, 2020

 

Advocates Praise D.C. Attorney General Suit Against Predatory High-Cost Rent-a-Bank Lender | NCLC Press Release, June 5, 2020

 

Advocates Condemn Rent-a-Bank Rule that Encourages Predatory High-Cost Loans; Call on Congress to Pass Federal 36% Interest Rate Cap Limit | NCLC Press Release, May 29, 2020

 

‘Rent-a-Bank’ Lending Practices Trigger Calls For Regulation By PYMNTS | March 11, 2020
Based on a paywalled article in the Wall Street Journal 

 

NCLC and AFR press releases in opposition to the OCC Proposal (see adjacent) that Would Bypass State Rate Caps to Allow High-Cost Predatory Loans | January 22, 2020

 

Rent-A-Bank In The News
2019

 

California made triple-digit interest illegal on these loans. Lenders have found a loophole

by Hannah Wiley | The Sacramento Bee, December 18, 2019

 

Trump’s Bank Regulators Open the Door to More Predatory Lending by David Dayen | The American Prospect, November 19, 2019

 

Trump Administration Declares Open Season on Consumers for Subprime Lenders
by Adam Levitin | Credit Slips, November 18, 2019

 

How Some Online Lenders Dodge State Laws To Charge Triple Digit Interest Rates

November 12, 2019 | NPR, All Things Considered

 

Rent-A-Bank In The News 2021

 

President Signs Legislation to Repeal Banking Regulator's Predatory “Fake Lender” Rule | CFA Press Release, July 1, 2021

"Washington, D.C. –  Last night, President Biden signed a resolution into law that repeals the OCC’s “fake lender” rule, which allows predatory lenders to evade state interest rate laws by putting a bank’s name on the paperwork."

 

House Votes to Repeal Banking Regulator’s Predatory “Fake Lender” Rule | CFA Press Release, June 24, 2021

"President Biden Should Immediately Sign the Resolution, Rescinding the Rule Allowing Triple-Digit Interest Rate Loans Across the Country"

 

National Consumer Law Center Advocates Praise U.S. House Vote to Repeal National Banking Regulator’s Predatory Lending Rule | NCLC Press Release, June 24, 2021

 

Who Supports Overturning the OCC's "Fake Lender" Rule? | Consumer Federation of America brief, April 30, 2021

"Across party lines, state attorneys general, banking regulators, credit unions, academic scholars, state legislators, faith leaders, and civil rights, consumer, disability rights, housing, labor, legal services, senior rights, small business, and veterans organizations agree that a bank’s mere name on a piece of paper should not allow predatory lenders to hide behind a fake lender in orderto evade state usury laws."

 

Consumer Advocate Leaders in 36 States and Washington, D.C. Balk at “Fake Lender” Rule | NACA Press Release, April 27, 2021

"The National Association of Consumer Advocates Releases Letter Signed by Its State Leaders Urging Congress to Rescind OCC Lending Rule"

The Arizona co chairs of NACA signed onto the letters to House and Senate that are linked from this press release.

 

Conference of State Bank Supervisors' letter to Congress supporting the Congressional Review Act challenge to the OCC's fake lender rule | CSBS, April 26, 2021

"On behalf of the Conference of State Bank Supervisors (CSBS), I am writing to express our members’ support of the Congressional Review Act (CRA) joint resolution (S.J. Res.15) to strike down the Office of the Comptroller of Currency’s (OCC) true lender rule."

 

Bipartisan Group of 25 State Attorneys General Urge Congress to Repeal OCC “True Lender” Rule | Letter, April 21, 2021 | NCLC Press Release

"Letter Reflects Bipartisan Support for State Interest Rate Caps and the Need to Stop “Rent-a-Bank” Evasions by Predatory Lenders". The Arizona AG did not sign.

 

138 Scholars Call for Congressional Repeal of “True Lender” Rule | Letter, April 20, 2021 | NCLC Press Release

"OCC Rule Usurps Role States Have Had Since Founding of the Nation in Protecting Families from Usurious Lending"

 

Local advocacy groups call on Arizona legislators to fix lending laws

Brent Ruffner, Daily Independent | April 9, 2021

"Officials from the Phoenix-based group Wildfire and the Center for Economic Integrity say proposed national legislation could halt triple-digit interest rates that get passed onto consumers on short-term loans such as advances given in exchange for a car titles."

 

AG Racine Sues Online Lender for Making Predatory and Deceptive Loans to 4,000+ District Consumers | Press Release, DC Attorney General, April 5, 2021

"OppFi Charged Illegal Interest Rates of up to 198% -- More than Eight Times Higher than the District’s Rate Cap -- and Falsely Claimed Its High-Cost Loans Help Build Credit"

 

NY AG James Sues to Stop Trump Administration from Allowing Predatory Lenders to Take Advantage Of New York’s Most Vulnerable Communities | Press Release, NY Attorney General, January 5, 2021

"New York Attorney General Letitia James today led a coalition of eight attorneys general from around the nation in filing a lawsuit to stop the Trump Administration from implementing a new rule that would take advantage of New York’s most vulnerable consumers."

 

 

 

Toolkit for Advocates

 

Factsheets

 

 

Rent-A-Bank 101

 

 

National Consumer Law Center

 

 

Complaint to FDIC re: Capital Community Bank

 

 

Letters & Comments

 

Senators must protect borrowers | Cynthia Zwick & Kelly Griffith, Anthem Independent, April 21, 2021

 

Wildfire and CEI Press Advisory "Congress to Introduce Resolution Rescinding 'Fake Lender' Rule Enabling Predatory Lenders to Evade Arizona’s Interest Rate Limits" | March 29, 2021

 

Letter to Speaker Pelosi, Majority Leader Schumer, Minority Leader McCarthy and Minority Leader McConnell re: "Support CRA challenge to OCC 'fake lender' predatory lending rule" | March 22, 2021 | signed by 325 organizations including 13 in AZ

 

CEI Letter to AG and DIFI requesting enforcement re: Rent-A-Bank | September 23, 2020

 

CEI Press Release on OCC "True Lender" proposal | September 8, 2020

 

AZ Coalition letter to OCC on "True Lender" proposal, submitted with CEI's Comments to the OCC (below).

 

CEI Comments on "True Lender" proposal submitted to the OCC Docket, September 3, 2020   

 

CEI letter to AG and AZDFI requesting action re: Rent-A-Bank | June 19 letter, updated July 15, 2020

 

AZ coalition comments on FDIC Notice of Proposed Rulemaking etc. | February 4, 2020

 

National coalition comments on OCC Notice of Proposed Rulemaking etc. | signed by CEI, January 21, 2020

 

AZ coalition letter to AG and AZDFI re: Rent-a-Bank Online Lending in Violation of Arizona Consumer Protections | January 15, 2020

 

National coalition letter to FDIC Re: FDIC-supervised banks helping predatory lenders charging 135% to 199% APR to evade new California law | signed by CEI, November 7, 2019

 

National coalition letter to OCC and FDIC opposing their support for predatory small business lender using rent-a-bank scheme | signed by CEI, October 24, 2019

 

CEI comment to FDIC re Small-Dollar Lending | January 22, 2019