The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau said Thursday that it paid $24.5 million in restitution to consumers after uncovering illegal activities in auto finance and payment firms in the first four months of this year.
In a report that highlighted issues uncovered during exams between January and April, the CFPB found a range of illegal activity including deception by auto lenders about loan terms, and miscalculations of loan financing amounts by at least one financial institution.
The report does not identify any companies, but is used to help institutions under the CFPB’s supervision better understand the agency’s thinking.
The CFPB uncovered failures in disclosing the interest to consumers on interest-only loans, and in providing so-called “adverse action” notices to consumers. One debt seller improperly sold thousands of dollars of accounts that were either in bankruptcy, had debts that were fraudulent or accounts that had already been settled.
Debt collectors were found to have misled consumers about debt repayment options. And at least one financial firm illegally required consumers to use affiliated providers of tax services and flood determination services.
“This report highlights our ongoing work to address violations of the law and slipshod practices that endanger consumers,” CFPB Director Richard Cordray said in a press release. “The Bureau’s supervisors continue to perform more and better oversight of these financial markets, and their report gives the industry an opportunity to reflect on their practices before consumers are made to suffer harm.”
The bureau said its supervisory work in connection with debt sales helped with an enforcement action in February against Citibank for illegal debt sales practices. The action returned nearly $5 million to consumers and imposed $3 million in civil money penalties.