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Several consumer advocacy groups are opposing Oportun Financial’s application for a national bank charter, citing concerns about the company’s lending and debt-collection practices.

By Laura Alix American Banker, Dec. 30, 2020

Several consumer advocacy groups are opposing Oportun Financial’s application for a national bank charter, citing concerns about the company’s lending and debt-collection practices.

The nonprofit Woodstock Institute questioned whether the San Carlos, Calif., company deserves its federal designation as a community development financial institution. If the OCC approves Oportun’s charter application, at the very least it ought to demand the company beef up its community reinvestment plan, said Horacio Mendez, president and CEO of the Woodstock Institute.

– American Banker

Many of those issues came to light in a ProPublica investigation over the summer that focused on the high proportion of collection suits that the online lender had filed in recent years and its high proportion of repeat borrowers. Oportun charges high interest rates, rolls over too much debt and has been too quick to take borrowers to court when they fall behind on payments, the community groups wrote in comment letters to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.