Oportun Extends Credits and Refunds to Over 3,600 Illinois Borrowers, Woodstock Institute Challenges Other Lenders to Take Similar Action
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 18, 2021
PRESS CONTACT: Jane Doyle, email@example.com, 708-527-7568
Beginning October 29 of this year, Oportun, one of the nation’s leading installment lenders, began voluntarily giving refunds and credits to Illinois consumers who received loans from Oportun before Illinois’s 36% rate cap became law. The rate cap, implemented by the Predatory Loan Prevention Act (PLPA), took effect on March 23, 2021, but it applies only to loans made on or after that date.
Oportun’s credits benefit borrowers in two ways: (1) borrowers who received loans before March 23, 2021, and still have an outstanding balance receive automatic credits applied to their outstanding balance to bring their interest rate down to 36% APR, and (2) they save money on the interest that would have accrued on that credited amount. As for refunds, borrowers received a refund check if they had an outstanding loan as of March 23, 2021, that was paid off by October 29, 2021. The refunded amounts were equal to the amount of interest paid by the borrower that exceeded 36% APR. Oportun made the move to demonstrate its support of the PLPA and to raise the bar for lenders in Illinois in the hope that others will follow.
Oportun came under fire in 2020 for its aggressive debt collection lawsuits filed during the pandemic, and advocates pointed to the company’s record when the company applied for a bank charter late that year. Woodstock Institute opposed Oportun’s application for a bank charter by submitting a comment letter to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. In March of this year, Oportun disclosed a Civil Investigative Demand from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau examining the company’s debt collection practices. Since then, Oportun voluntarily withdrew its application for a bank charter, and, according to Oportun, dismissed all pending debt collection lawsuits.
The timing of Oportun’s move to provide credits and refunds on pre-PLPA loans is significant as the holidays approach and COVID-relief measures wind down. Not including the amount of future interest that would have accrued on the credited amounts, Oportun’s commitment is valued at over $125,000.
“Woodstock strongly believes in calling attention to both good and bad actions by financial service providers. We applaud Oportun’s move, which puts more money in the pockets of Illinois consumers at a critical time” said Horacio Mendez, President & CEO of Woodstock Institute. “Combined with their recent decision to dismiss all pending debt collection lawsuits, we are hopeful that this represents a new day for Oportun and their clients.”
Oportun has 11 loan stores in Illinois and over 41,000 active Illinois customers. Nationally, they have over 770,000 customers. Half of Oportun’s loan applicants have no credit history.
Woodstock Institute is a leading policy and research nonprofit that advocates for consumer financial protection and community economic development. Our work seeks to combat structural inequities and to improve the quality of life in lower-income neighborhoods and communities of color. Among our areas of focus are predatory lending, access to banking, debt collection, and municipal fines and fees.