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Security Finance Group Slapped With Fine for Debt Collection Harassment

Posted by David Humphreys | Jul 09, 2018 | 6 Comments

Security Finance and its affiliates have a track record of trouble with the law. In one case handled by Humphreys Wallace Humphreys, we established Security Finance affiliates engaged in a loan flipping scheme, trapping customers in debt. In that case, Security Finance did not tell their customers, they intended to: (1) renew the customer's loans every 60 days; (2) interfere with the customer's contractual right to pay off the loan in monthly installments; (3) renew the loan in order to prevent payoff; (4) prevent the customer from ever paying off the loan; (5) prevent loan payoff by methodically increasing the loan balance; (6) force the customer to renew the delinquent loan once the customer falls behind.

We further established that Security Finance employees were instructed to “gang up on the customer” if the customer refused to renew the loan, and not to take “no” for an answer when “selling” a loan renewal.   Further, Security Finance monitored and enforced the loan renewal practices by (1) giving employees renewal quotas; (2) pressuring employees to renew loans; (3) threatening employees with termination for failure to renew loans; and, (4) training employees to sell renewals by using half-truths, concealment, and outright fraud, including misrepresenting the actual cost and supposed advantages of loan renewal while concealing the disadvantages. As a matter of policy, the company does not point out the whole truth or any of the disadvantages of renewing.

Now, in June 2018, a Consent Order was entered by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau against Security Group, Inc., Security Finance Corporation of Spartanburg, and Professional Financial Services Corp. Security Finance entities own and operate over 900 locations in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, New Mexico, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, and Wisconsin. They do business in those states using the names A&A Finance, Apex Finance, Bond Finance, Canyon Finance, Continental Credit, Continental Loans, Friendly Finance, Heritage Credit, Hometown Finance, Key Loan and Finance, Lake Park Finance, Longhorn Finance, Maverick Finance, Merit Finance, Money Tree Finance, Patriot Loan Company, Port City Finance, Security Finance, Sunbelt Credit, Time Finance, and Zia Finance.

Security Finance loan shops provide and collect on high-cost, short-term, secured and unsecured loans, including installment loans offered to consumers. Security Finance AGREED, i.e., consented, that it engaged in some truly despicable collection conduct such as:

  • Getting physical with customers, by pushing or blocking their movement;
  • Entering their place of work even knowing such visits were not allowed by the borrower's employer;
  • Repeated and harassing visits to consumers' homes and places of employment, as well as the homes of their neighbors;
  • Contacting and taking payments from consumers where others parties could see or overhear, such as on a doorstep within earshot of neighbors, on a speakerphone in public, in the middle of a grocery store, through drive-thru windows at fast food restaurants, in line at a big-box retailer, and in other public locations;
  • Repeated and continuous collection calls to borrowers place of work, despite knowing such calls were harassing not just to the borrower, but to the borrowers' co-workers and managers;
  • Handing “field cards” to third parties, including consumers' young children, neighbors, and others for delivery to consumers;
  • Threatening customers with jail;
  • Calling and continuing to call and harass credit references, supervisors, landlords, family members, and suspected family members (a) in a manner that disclosed or risked disclosing the existence of delinquent debt to third parties, or (b) when Respondents knew or should have known that the consumers or the third parties had previously requested that the calls cease;
  • And, many times continuing these wrongful collection actions knowing of the embarrassment, harassment, and harm at work they were causing.

Also, Security Finance and its related lenders failed to truthfully report to the credit reporting agencies payments made by consumers, accurate account balances, or consumer disputes of false reporting. Security Finance had no written policies in place to properly report accounts. Because of known company-wide problems throughout its 900 plus branches, Security Finance finally decided to stop reporting accounts entirely instead of making accurate updates to reflect the true credit history of its customers.

Why would Security Finance agree that it did all of these terrible things to its borrowers? Maybe because it got away with a light wrist-slap, agreed to “change its ways” and paid a fine to the Agency with NO REPAYMENT OR RESTITUTION TO THE VICTIMS OF ITS WRONGFUL COLLECTION AND CREDIT REPORTING PRACTICES. How did Security Finance get away with it? Maybe because the new CFPB agency head, Mick Mulvaney, lives in and was the former congressman representing the same South Carolina congressional district where Security Finance is headquartered? No harmed consumer has received anything yet. You have to take action on your own if you are a victim of these collection practices.

Contact us for a Free Case Review if you have been a victim of these practices.

About the Author

David Humphreys

David Humphreys has been practicing law since 1987. He was a member of the first class (1994) of the Gerry Spence Trial Lawyers College, Dubois, Wyoming. He was recognized in 2004 by the college, along with his partner, Luke Wallace, as the Warriors of the Year for the 18-state South Central regi...

Comments

Tori Dixon Reply

Posted Apr 30, 2020 at 21:18:51

A lady named crystal won’t stop harassing me with phone calls, I’m not late never been but once mabe if that… have started several times I don’t want to renew.. she just keeps calling my phone telling me what I need to do. Harasses my references it’s terrible.. she tells me what I need to do doesn’t say who they are as a company just leaves her name telling me I need to call her back and that’s all I have voicemail transcripts so I can just press play and read them, this lady also has disrespected me over the phone numerous of times…

David Humphreys Reply

Posted May 01, 2020 at 10:52:31

Very sorry to hear of your experiences. We have heard many similar complaints over the years. For some reason, small minded people are drawn to debt collection. These people seem to enjoy degrading their customers, maybe it is to gain control of experience feeling power over people who are struggling? It is hard to say.
in any event, we would be pleased to speak with you to see if there is anything we can do to help.
Please call me if you would like a free consultation at 918 850 0860. Thanks for posting on our site.

Tori Reply

Posted May 19, 2020 at 07:49:42

These people have no understanding they’re so rude. There is a major pandemic going on my boyfriend and I have a loan from them and A few months in my boyfriend loses his job due to carona virus and my hours get cut as well so we both got behind. I tried asking about a payment plan and was so rudely interrupted and told “no” that “we had an agreement when we signed up”. So I haven’t called or made a payment since and me and all of our family members that are referenced is just getting call after call every single day!

David Humphreys Reply

Posted May 19, 2020 at 07:58:48

This is an all too common story. Sorry for the terrible culture that causes their employees to treat people so terribly.
You are welcome to contact our office for a free consultation.
Best to you!

Don marso Reply

Posted May 28, 2020 at 20:13:13

Friends family and listed references getting phone calls from security finance Wisconsin rapids Wisconsin using a phone number when googled brings up security finance

David Humphreys Reply

Posted May 29, 2020 at 10:35:33

That is a truly shameful practice to try to force you to pay them money, whether you owe it or not.

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