CFPB Director Kathy Kraninger Wants To Make These Shady Characters Even Richer On The Backs of Hardworking Americans
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Consumer advocacy organization Allied Progress today unveiled its latest nominees for the Payday Lender Hall of Shame as the Trump administration plans to gut a critical consumer protection against the payday loan debt trap. The continuing series launched last week introduces some of the worst actors in the financial system with histories of dishonest, exploitive or plain criminal behavior that for some reason the Trump administration would rather help than everyday consumers.
“The Payday Lending Industry’s bench of CEOs with questionable or plain sketchy backgrounds runs deep, from a CEO in Florida who is banned from selling insurance because of his criminal past to a West Coast executive who has repeatedly skirted the law. Yet CFPB Director Kathy Kraninger and President Trump want to help these kinds of predatory lenders take advantage of people they know full well can’t pay back high-interest loans on time.” said Patrice Snow, spokeswoman of Allied Progress.
She continued, “The payday lending industry is getting payback for the $2.2 million they gave to Trump campaign and inauguration committees. Why else would one of the least deserving industries get such lucrative special treatment from the federal government? Let’s meet some more winners of Trump’s payday protection rollback.”
Earlier this month, the Trump/Kraninger-controlled Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) rolled out a proposal to undo a commonsense CFPB rule from the Cordray-era requiring payday and car-title lenders to consider a borrower’s ability-to-repay before making a high-interest loan. Without this check in the system, the floodgates will open for millions of consumers – particularly in communities of color – to fall into cycles of debt where borrowers take out new high-interest loans to pay off old loans, over and over again. It is no coincidence that the Trump administration is advancing a top priority of the payday lender lobby after the industry donated over $2.2 million to Donald Trump’s inauguration and political committees and after the Community Financial Services Association Of America (CFSA), the payday industry’s national trade group, came out in early and vocal support of Kathy Kraninger’s nomination to the CFPB.
Without Further Ado, Meet The Second Batch of Nominees for the Payday Lender Hall of Shame:
Ian MacKechnie, Amscot Financial: Super Rich Payday Lender Banned From Selling Insurance In Florida.
Ian MacKechnie Is The Founder And CEO of Amscot Financial, Which Was Banned From Selling Insurance Products In Florida After MacKechnie Pled Guilty To Civil Racketeering.
Ian MacKechnie Is The Founder And CEO Of Payday Lender Amscot Financial.
Ian MacKechnie Is The Founder And CEO Of Amscot Financial. [“Ian MacKechnie,” Amscot Financial, accessed 02/15/19]
- Amscot Financial offers payday loans. [“Cash Advance,” Amscot Financial, accessed 02/15/19]
Ian MacKechnie Agreed To A Lifetime Ban On Selling Insurance Products In Florida After Pleading Guilty To Civil Racketeering Charges.
1998: Then-Insurance Commissioner Bill Nelson Conducted Undercover Sting Against MacKechnie’s Insurance Company, Which Led To Fraud And Racketeering Charges And A Lifetime Ban On MacKechnie Selling Insurance In Florida.Then-Florida Insurance Commissioner Bill Nelson’s “accusation that Amscot tried to trick him and other customers into buying unwanted add-ons for their auto insurance, such as towing services…forced Amscot founder Ian MacKechnie to sell his company’s insurance operations, while his company pleaded guilty to racketeering charges. The uproar indelibly sullied the Amscot name. Or did it? The Amscot name is now emblazoned on a West Shore office building off I-275 in Tampa, and its owner, MacKechnie, presides over one of the fastest-growing financial companies in the Tampa Bay area. Amscot has grown to 46 neighborhood outlets, with leases to open in 24 more locations, including its first in Orlando. MacKechnie says he doesn’t care that his tiff with state insurance regulators led to a lifetime ban on selling auto insurance in Florida. The rest of his bay area financial empire – cashing checks, offering payday loans with high interest rates and other services geared to high-risk customers – has more than compensated. This year, MacKechnie said, he expects Amscot to cash about $600-million worth of checks, provide $160-million worth of payday advances, sell $500-million worth of money orders and provide $100-million worth of advance checks for income tax refunds.” [Jeff Harrington, “Amscot shows its ability to bounce back,” St. Petersburg Times, 08/10/03]
- Florida Department Of Insurance Investigated Amscot For Systematically ‘Sliding’ Add-Ons Such As Towing Charges And Legal Services Into Auto Policies, Which Led To Amscot Pleading Guilty To Civil Charges On Racketeering In Return For Criminal Charges Being Dropped Against MacKechnie. “By 1986, the Florida Department of Insurance started investigating complaints that Amscot was systematically ‘sliding’ add-ons such as towing charges and legal services into auto policies, ballooning the cost by an average of $100 a year. The insurance commissioner said that when he went undercover at an Amscot location he asked for the minimum policy required under Florida law but an agent sold him a policy that included a towing and car-rental add-on. In August 1998, Amscot pleaded guilty to civil charges of racketeering for duping auto insurance customers and agreed to exit the insurance business. In return, state prosecutors agreed not to pursue criminal charges against MacKechnie.” [Jeff Harrington, “Amscot shows its ability to bounce back,” Petersburg Times, 08/10/03]
Ian MacKechnie, Who Has Raked In Money From The Payday Industry, Believes Regulation Of Payday Lenders Is “Elitist”— Despite Being Repeatedly Listed As One Of The 50 Richest People In Scotland.
Ian MacKechnie Called Efforts To Regulate Payday Lending “Elitist.”
Ian MacKechnie Has Described Criticism Of Amscot’s Payday Lending Business As “’Elitist.’” “City officials on Wednesday called off a controversial deal that allowed Amscot Financial to accept its utility payments, just days before the City Council was expected to publicly denounce the company’s check cashing and payday advance services. […] Founder Ian MacKechnie said the criticism of Amscot and its clients is insulting. ‘I see it as elitist,’ he said earlier this week. ‘They are talking down to people who they don’t know. We think what’s most important is that people have choices.’” [Cristina Silva, “Amscot Out As Bill-Pay Site,” St. Petersburg Times, 12/12/08]
Ian MacKechnie Has Been Ranked One of the Richest Men in Scotland For Years.
2004: MacKechnie was ranked among the top 50 richest in Scotland, worth $87 million. [Glasgow Evening News, 4/17/04]
2005: MacKechnie was ranked among the top 50 richest in Scotland, worth $136 million.[London Sunday Times, 4/3/05]
2006: MacKechnie was ranked among the top 50 richest in Scotland, worth $120 million. [London Sunday Times, 4/23/06]
2007: MacKechnie was ranked among the top 50 richest in Scotland, worth $138 million. [London Sunday Times, 4/29/07]
2008: MacKechnie was ranked among the top 50 richest in Scotland, worth $149 million. [London Sunday Times, 4/27/08]
2009: MacKechnie was ranked among the top 50 richest in Scotland, worth $141 million. [London Sunday Times, 4/26/09]
2012: MacKechnie and family was worth $237 million. [The Scotsman, 8/15/12]
Investment Banker And Industry Insider C. Dan Adams Has Fought Efforts To Rein In The Payday Industry In Texas.
C. Dan Adams, President And CEO Of The Capital Corporation, Is On The Board Of Directors For The Community Financial Services Association (CFSA), The Payday Industry’s Trade Group.
C. Dan Adams Is President And CEO Of The Capital Corporation, “As President and CEO of The Capital Corporation, Dan Adams is responsible for the overall operations and strategic direction of the company as well as its relationships with its affiliates and portfolio companies.” [“C. Dan Adams,” The Capital Corporation, accessed 02/19/19]
C. Dan Adams Is On The Community Financial Services Association Of America’s Board Of Directors. [“Board of Directors,” Community Financial Services Association of America, accessed 02/19/19]
- The Community Financial Services Association Of America Is “The Payday Lending Industry’s Trade Group.” “The payday lending industry’s trade group, the Community Financial Services Association of America, didn’t respond to requests for comment.” [Victor Reklaitis, “One potential winner from the government shutdown — payday lenders,” MarketWatch, 01/11/19]
C. Dan Adams Was Among Those “Openly Working To Kill Anything And Everything” That Would Threaten The Payday Industry In Texas.
C. Dan Adams Was One Of The Payday Lenders “Openly Working To Kill Anything And Everything” Related To A “Surprisingly Tough” Payday Lending Regulation Bill Advanced By The Texas Senate In 2014. “The industry was apparently spooked after the Senate made its move last week. The original version of the Senate bill ‘was a bill that required sacrifices for all parties but we were willing to make those sacrifices for the benefit of Texas,’ said C. Dan Adams, CEO of South Carolina-based The Capital Corporation. The lenders are now openly working to kill anything and everything except perhaps legislation that would pre-empt city ordinances regulating payday loans.” [Forrest Wilder, “Payday Loan Reform Faces Uphill Battle in House,” Texas Observer, 04/30/13]
- The Payday Industry Argued Against Regulation Before A Texas House Committee After The Senate Legislation Passed. “[…] [T]he payday loan industry strutted its stuff before a very friendly House committee. The hearing came just a week after the Senate passed a surprisingly tough bill that the industry insists would shut down most of Texas’ 3,400 payday and auto-title storefronts.” [Forrest Wilder, “Payday Loan Reform Faces Uphill Battle in House,” Texas Observer, 04/30/13]
C. Dan Adams Bundled Over $151,000 In Political Contributions For South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster, Whose 2010 Campaign Illegally Mishandled Donations From Payday Lenders.
In 2018, C. Dan Adams Bundled Over $151,000 In Political Contributions For South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster…
In 2018, C. Dan Adams Was Described As A “Self-Proclaimed ‘Free-Market Capitalist’” Who Bundled Over $151,484 For South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster. McMaster received “$151,484 from Greenville chief executive and self-proclaimed ‘free-market capitalist’ C. Dan Adams, who bundled the contributions using various companies” [Tom Baron, “Most expensive race in SC history: See where candidates for governor get their money,”The State, 10/23/18]
…Who Was Ordered To Pay $69,200 In Refunds And $5,100 In Fines For Improperly Handling Contributions To His 2010 Campaign, Including From Payday Lenders Cash America And Ace Cash Express.
South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster Had To Refund $69,200 In Improper Campaign Contributions And Pay A $5,100 Fine After The South Carolina Ethics Commission Found That His 2010 Campaign Violated Campaign Finance Laws. “The allegations against McMaster stem from the period after he lost the 2010 GOP primary for governor, won by then state-Rep. Nikki Haley. After the loss, McMaster set up a separate general election campaign account and accepted contributions to retire his campaign debt – even though he was not in the November general election. Some donors to McMaster’s general-election account already had given him the state-mandated maximum contribution of $3,500 for his primary race.” [Andy Shain, “SC lieutenant governor’s hearing on state ethics charges set for October,”The Herald, 07/22/15]
- In 2017, McMaster Paid A $5,100 Fine And Refunded $69,200 To Donors After The South Carolina Ethics Commission Determined That The Campaign Contributions Were Improper. “The former state attorney general was ordered to refund $69,200 to 51 donors who contributed too much money to his 2010 Republican primary race that he lost to Nikki Haley. He also paid a $5,100 fine under the order from the State Ethics Commission.” [Andy Shain, “McMaster raises more money than needed to pay back donors,” The Post And Courier, 01/28/17]
- The Improper Contributions Included Donations From Payday Lenders Cash America And Ace Cash Express. “According to the Ethics Commission’s charges, nearly half of the $149,500 raised by McMaster’s campaign after the 2010 primary came from donors who exceeded state contribution limits. The ethics complaint cites contributions from 51 donors, including payday lenders Cash America and Ace Cash Express; McCall Farms; and rail operator Norfolk Southern.” [Andy Shain, “SC lieutenant governor’s hearing on state ethics charges set for October,”The Herald, 07/22/15]
Dennis Bassford Is The CEO Of Moneytree, A Seattle-Based Payday Lender That Washington State Regulators Have Accused Of Evading Lending Rules—Even After Bassford Spent Money Fighting Payday Regulations In Olympia.
Dennis Bassford Is The CEO Of Moneytree, Inc., A Payday Lender.
Dennis Bassford Is The CEO Of Payday Lender Moneytree, Inc. “Mr. Bassford Co-Founded Moneytree, Inc. in 1983 and serves as its Chief Executive Officer and also served as its President until February 21, 2008.” [“Dennis Bassford,” Bloomberg, accessed 01/30/19]
- “Moneytree, Inc., doing business as Moneytree Financial Services, provides retail financial services. It offers check cashing, payday loans, installment loans, business loans, money orders, fax services, Western Union wire fund transfers, and bill pay and prepaid debit cards.” [“Company Overview of Moneytree, Inc.,” Bloomberg, accessed 01/30/19]
Dennis Bassford Is On The Board Of CFSA, The Payday Industry’s Trade Group.
Dennis Bassford Is On The Board Of Directors For The Community Financial Services Association Of America. [“Board of Directors,” Community Financial Services Association Of America, accessed 01/30/19]
- The Community Financial Services Association Of America Is “The Payday Lending Industry’s Trade Group.” “The payday lending industry’s trade group, the Community Financial Services Association of America, didn’t respond to requests for comment.” [Viktor Reklaitis, “One potential winner from the government shutdown — payday lenders,” MarketWatch, 01/11/19]
Washington State Found That Moneytree Was Trying To Evade Regulations Limiting How Many Loans Borrowers Could Take Out
Washington State Accused Moneytree Of “Skirting New Consumer Laws That Limit A Borrower To Eight Payday Loans In A 12-Month Period.” “State regulators have accused Moneytree Inc. of skirting new consumer laws that limit a borrower to eight payday loans in a 12-month period. The Department of Financial Institutions on Wednesday issued a temporary cease-and-desist order to the Renton-based payday lender. The Kitsap Sun reported that the state ordered Moneytree to stop allowing borrowers to use and then ‘rescind’ small loans and stick to an eight-loan limit. Rescinding the loans allows a borrower to have a clean slate.” [“Northwest Briefly: State accuses Moneytree of skirting new payday lending law,”HeraldNet, 04/24/10]
Dennis Bassford Spent A Lot Of Money Fighting Payday Regulations In Olympia—And His Company Employed Seven Lobbyists To Fight Regulations In Three Different States.
Dennis Bassford Spent “A Lot Of Money In Olympia” To Fight Payday Regulations And Moneytree “Employed Seven Lobbyists In Three States To Protect Its Payday Lending Practices.” “The Bassfords — Dennis, and his brother Dave and sister-in-law Sara — spend a lot of money in Olympia to make sure the Legislature doesn’t curb their ability to mainline from the limited assets of low income workers. Between 2005 and 2009, Moneytree employed seven lobbyists in three states to protect its payday lending practices. They gave over half a million dollars to both Republican and Democratic candidates.” [“Shaking the Moneytree: Greed seems prominent this election,” Economic Opportunity Institute, 10/13/10]
- Moneytree Backed State-Level Legislation That Would Allow Loans’ “Effective Annual Rate Above 200 Percent.” “State lawmakers are debating proposals backed by MoneyTree Inc., a Seattle-based payday lender, to authorize installment loans for as much as $2,000 at a 36 percent annual interest rate. The legislation also would permit origination fees and monthly maintenance fees that could push the effective annual rate above 200 percent, according to a calculation by the state Department of Financial Institutions.” [Carter Dougherty, “Payday Lenders Evading Rules Pivot to Installment Loans,” Bloomberg, 05/29/13]
Moneytree Was Ordered To Pay Over Half A Million Dollars For Baselessly Threatening Debtors With Vehicle Repossession And Misleading Customers About Check-Cashing Fees.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Ordered Moneytree To Pay Over Half A Million Dollars For Baselessly Threatening Debtors With Vehicle Repossession And Misleading Customers About Check-Cashing Fees.
In 2016, The CFPB Ordered Seattle-Based Moneytree To Pay More Than Half A Million Dollars For “Deceptive Advertising And Collection Practices.” “Federal regulators have ordered Seattle-based payday lender Moneytree to pay more than $500,000 in fines and refunds over allegations of deceptive advertising and collection practices. The penalties for acts the company characterized as inadvertent mistakes were imposed as part of a consent order announced late last week by the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).” [Jim Brunner, “Payday lender Moneytree hit with $500,000 in fines and refunds,” The Seattle Times, 12/21/16]
- The CFPB Found That Moneytree Baselessly Threatened To Repossess Debtors’ Vehicles. “Moneytree also was hit for sending debt-collection letters in 2014 and 2015 that threatened to repossess the cars and trucks of 490 customers who were delinquent on loans. Those were baseless warnings since the customers had not pledged their vehicle titles as collateral. Still, at least 151 people made payments after receiving the letters.”[Jim Brunner, “Payday lender Moneytree hit with $500,000 in fines and refunds,” The Seattle Times, 12/21/16]
- The CFPB Found That Moneytree Misled Customers About The Fees It Would Charge To Cash Tax Refund Checks. “The consumer-watchdog agency found Moneytree had violated federal law with misleading online ads about how much its branches would charge customers to cash income tax-refund checks. Between February and March of 2015, some of Moneytree’s ads said the company would cash those checks for a fee of ‘1.99’. Other ads correctly listed the fees as ‘1.99%’ of each tax refund.” [Jim Brunner, “Payday lender Moneytree hit with $500,000 in fines and refunds,” The Seattle Times, 12/21/16]
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