Illegal Lending

Attorney General's Report

The Attorney General's Office is directly involved in stopping illegal lending. Click here to read the Attorney General’s Report (dated April 23, 2014).

Relevant Vermont Laws

  • Consumer Protection Act provision on “Unlicensed loan transactions” (including payment processors): 9 V.S.A. § 2481w
  • Licensing requirements: 8 V.S.A.§ 2201; 8 V.S.A. § 2233
  • All lending requirements: Title 8, Chapter 73
  • Interest rate limits: 9 V.S.A. § 41a
  • Settlements

    A-1 Premium Budget, Inc. aka “Cash in a Wink” (Delaware online lender)
    CashCure, LLC (Delaware online lender)
  • Refunds to consumers are being mailed around August 1, 2014. Cash Cure borrowers should look for an envelope from the Attorney General’s office.
  • CashCall, Inc. & Western Sky, et al. (California and So. Dakota online lender and servicer)
  • CashCall refunds are now available. Borrowers must fill out a claim form by Sept. 1, 2014. Click here for more information.
  • Government Employees Credit Center, Inc.(Delaware online lender)
  • Refunds to consumers are being mailed around August 1, 2014. GECC borrowers should look for an envelope from the Attorney General’s office.
  • Sure Advance, LLC (Delaware online lender)
  • Refunds to consumers are being mailed around August 1, 2014. Sure Advance borrowers should look for an envelope from the Attorney General’s office.
  • T Money, LLC (“T-money”; California payment processor)
  • As of July 2014, refunds to consumers are being processed, either via electronic debits or mailings with a refund check.
  • Intercept Corporation (North Dakota payment processor)

    Update: As of January 2015, the Attorney General's Office has obtained approximately $1,084,000 in refunds to 2,836 Vermont Consumers and $165,000 in payments to the State, as a result of the above Settlements.

    Lawsuits

    Cease and Desist Letters

    Letter to 81 known illegal lenders: demanding compliance with VT law
    List of all known illegal lenders and contact information
  • In cooperation with other states, Vermont has begun compiling a larger, ongoing list of all known lenders who have not complied with the law of at least one state. This list will be used for further regulatory and consumer protection efforts, including sending to Google and Microsoft, as described further below.
    Master List - Unlicensed Lenders January 2015
  • Advisory Letter and Requests for Assistance
    Letter to Vermont Association of Broadcasters

  • VAB has posted Vermont’s letter online for its members, and will keep members informed regarding the issues raised by the Attorney General’s Office.
  • Letter to Comcast Corporation

  • Comcast confirmed that it does not host ads for any of the unlicensed lenders identified in Vermont, and would continue to prevent advertising for future unlicensed lenders identified by the Vermont Attorney General’s Office.
  • Letter to DISH Network Corp

  • DISH confirmed that it does not currently host ads for any of the unlicensed lenders identified in Vermont.
  • Letter to DirecTV

  • DirecTV does not provide advertising for lenders identified by Vermont.
  • Letter to Google, Inc

  • Google agreed to disable advertising (Google’s “AdWords” program) for any unlicensed lender identified by Vermont, and has already disabled 66 lender URLs. Google agreed that it will continue to prohibit future unlicensed lenders from advertising using Google’s AdWords program, based on updates from the Vermont Attorney General’s Office. Google expressed its support:
  • “We’re appreciative that Attorney General Sorrell brought this issue to our attention so that we could take action regarding content that violates our policies.”
    Letter to Google Dec. 2, 2014
  • Letter to Yahoo! Inc

  • See Microsoft update below.
  • Letter to Microsoft Corporation

  • Yahoo and Microsoft advertising are linked under the Yahoo-Bing Network. Microsoft disabled advertising for 10 lenders identified by Vermont, and agreed to prohibit advertising for future unlicensed lenders, as identified and updated by the Vermont Attorney General’s Office. Microsoft also expressed its support:
  • “Microsoft is committed to helping ensure that advertisers on the Yahoo-Bing Network are compliant with our editorial policies and Vermont Law.”
  • Letter to Microsoft Dec. 2, 2014
  • Letter to NACHA – The Electronic Payments Association

  • On May 30, 2014, NACHA issued additional due diligence guidelines for payment processors and others who use the ACH network, regarding high-risk merchants such as online lenders. NACHA also agreed to compile a list of high-risk merchants and make that list available to state regulatory bodies. Read more about NACHA’s position in its press release.
  • Letter to Electronic Transactions Association

  • ETA distributed Vermont’s letter to its members during TRANSACT-14 – an annual industry conference held in April 2014.
  • Letter to Third-Party Payment Processors Association

  • TPPPA confirmed that it is dedicated to promoting responsible payment processing, including by developing a state-of-the-art compliance system for its members to follow best practices regarding due diligence and monitoring, to protect against consumer fraud.
  • Letter to Vermont Bankers Association, Inc. and Association of Vermont Credit Unions

  • Vermont’s letter was distributed to the banking and credit union members, and was posted on their respective websites.
  • Letter to Vermont Employers

  • Vermont employers Rhino Foods and Engelberth Construction proudly participate in the United Way’s Working Bridges loan advance program; Rhino Foods describes the positive results here. Learn more in this PBS news report.
  • Click here if you are a consumer and to read more about Personal Loan Issues.

    Published: Jan 13, 2015