Report: High Interest Auto Repair Loans Harm Military Families

Advocate Andy

Consumer groups release report showing car repair loans with interest rates as high as 189%

A coalition of consumer advocacy groups released a report showing the prevalence of high-interest auto repair loans and noted the impacts often fall on members of the military and their families.

EasyPay Finance, which charges up to 189% APR, is popping up as a financing option at furniture stores, auto repair shops, pet stores and other retail outlets everywhere – including at shops near military bases where the loans are more likely to affect servicemembers. For example, EasyPay Finance is available at numerous auto repair locations and furniture stores that offer EasyPay loans near a military base.

In a statement, members of the coalition - which includes Consumer Federation of America, National Consumer Law Center, Center for Responsible Lending, and Americans for Financial Reform - pointed out the negative impact these loans have on military families.

“The Department of Defense studied high-interest loans like those issued by EasyPay Finance and TAB Bank and concluded they harmed troops and their families – and undermined military readiness,” said Nadine Chabrier, senior policy counsel at the Center for Responsible Lending. “TAB Bank and retailers, such as Meineke, should stop facilitating the sale of EasyPay loans, which inflict pain upon military communities and consumers across the country. The FDIC is responsible for supervising TAB Bank and should stop it from abusing its charter by enabling these predatory loans.”

“The fact that predatory lenders continue to target military families is unacceptable,” said Besa Pinchotti, CEO of the National Military Family Association. ”Military families make tremendous sacrifices for our country every day. It’s outrageous that after all the work we’ve done to protect our military families, they continue to be preyed upon by lenders—especially when they’re at their most vulnerable—needing money for car repairs, to furnish their homes after a military-mandated moves or to make ends meet during a deployment.”

EasyPay offers its auto repair and other high interest loans through FDIC-supervised TAB Bank, thus allowing the company to evade state interest rate caps.

“EasyPay and TAB Bank are using the harmful rent-a-bank model to evade state and federal laws and lure servicemembers and veterans into predatory, outrageously priced loans for auto repairs, pet adoptions, and other retail purchases,” said Rachel Gittleman, Financial Services Outreach Manager of the Consumer Federation of America.

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Andy Spears is a middle Tennessee writer and policy advocate. He reports on news around public policy issues - education, health care, consumer protection, and more.

Nashville, TN

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