Stop doing business in Pa., regulators tell pension-advance company

Alleged victims, including at least one in the midstate, paid tens of thousands of dollars in interest, banking department says

A pension-advance company that allegedly charged customers exorbitantly high interest rates is no longer welcome to do business in Pennsylvania, according to a recent court filing.

The Pennsylvania Department of Banking and Securities filed a cease-and-desist order May 19 against Future Income Payments LLC, a California-based business that claims to offer an up-front sum in exchange for a portion of retirees’ future pension checks.

The Department of Banking contends that this structure actually amounts to a scheme charging victims interest rates far exceeding Pennsylvania’s 6 percent limit.

The department’s order lists examples of several Pennsylvanians who found themselves buried in debt after working with Future Income Payments, including a Lancaster County resident who had to pay back more than $116,000 on what the banking department contends was effectively a $12,000 loan in 2014.

The order also contends that the company lacked the proper state licenses to make loans in Pennsylvania.

Consumer advocates across the U.S. have tried to crack down on these kinds of “pension-advance” companies over the past several years. These businesses, they say, prey on cash-strapped retirees who might have trouble qualifying for traditional loans.

Although these companies often do not market their products as loans, the money they collect from consumers ultimately amounts to between 27 percent and 46 percent interest, according to a 2014 study by the U.S. Government Accountability Office.

Pennsylvania is not the only state where Future Income Payments has found itself the subject of regulatory scrutiny. It also drew a cease-and-desist order in its home state of California, among other states, and lost a bid in January to keep its name out of a pending Consumer Finance Protection Bureau investigation, according to news reports.

A representative from Future Income Payments could not be reached for comment.

Consumers who believe Future Income Payments changed them illegally high fees or interest can contact the Department of Banking’s Consumer Services Office at 1-800-PA-BANKS or file a complaint online

Cease and Desist by Jenni Wentz on Scribd

Jennifer Wentz
Jennifer Wentz covers Lancaster County, York County, financial services, taxation and legal services. Have a tip or question for her? Email her at jwentz@cpbj.com.

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