Auto lender that specializes in loans to US troops is in trouble again
A finance company that engaged in illegal debt collection tactics will be fined an additional $1.25 million for failing to repay servicemembers, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau announced Wednesday.
The bureau had already ordered the Ohio-based Security National Automotive Acceptance Co., an auto lender specializing in loans to servicemembers, to repay customers $2.28 million in 2015 for engaging in illegal debt-collection practices. They has also assessed a $1 million civil penalty.
The additional $1.25 million fine was imposed this week after the lender failed to provide more than $1 million in refunds and credits, affecting more than 1,000 consumers, the bureau said in a statement.
SNAAC disagreed with the bureau’s findings but consented to the order, company spokeswoman Elizabeth Heaton told Stars and Stripes in an email.
“SNAAC agreed to this settlement to close this matter and move forward in serving customers in the respectful, honorable manner that has been the company’s tradition,” she said.
Illegal tactics employed by the company included exaggerating potential disciplinary action that servicemembers could face for not paying on time, contacting servicemembers’ commanders, threatening to garnish wages and misleading servicemembers about the legal consequences of not paying, the statement said.
SNAAC also tried to offer account credits instead of repaying customers, even if those customers no longer had accounts.
"This company violated a Bureau order when it failed to get money back to servicemembers it had hounded with illegal debt collection tactics,” bureau director Richard Cordray said in the statement. "We are making sure this company finally rights its wrongs."