UTAH (ABC4) — In honor of National Love Your Pet Day on Feb. 20, a nationwide campaign has launched calling for an end to predatory puppy loans that are presented by a Utah-based bank.
Stop the Debt Coalition is joining forces with animal welfare advocates to launch a campaign to stop Utah-based Transportation Alliance Bank (TAB) from making predatory puppy loans, many of which are used to buying puppies from puppy mills, according to a press release. .
According to the National Consumer Law Center, TAB helps predatory lender EasyPay Finance evade state interest rate laws and provide pet loans at 130% to 189% APR (annual percentage rate) .
These rates are illegal in most states for EasyPay Finance and other non-bank lenders.
Since most states do not allow these rates, EasyPay launders its loans through TAB for customers who live in states with APR caps.
There are 32 states where these rates are illegal, EasyPay will launder its loans through Utah-headquartered TAB to disguise the loans as bank loans exempt from state rate caps. This is how they are able to charge loans from 130% to 189% APR.
Consumer complaints to the Better Business Bureau, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and Ripoff Reports say:
- Most of their payments go to interest since interest rates range from 130% to 189%
- There are deceptive interest-free promotions, with consumers often unaware of the high interest rates on loans.
- Harassment of the debt collector
- Refusal to cancel loans for sick and deceased puppies
- Credit report issues
According to the Humane Society of the United States, the majority of puppies sold in pet stores – where EasyPay Finance and TAB Bank operate – come from puppy mills, high-volume inhumane dog-breeding facilities that produce puppies at for profit, ignoring the needs of the puppies and their mothers.
“TAB Bank’s partnership with EasyPay Finance encourages exploitative financing of puppies from inhumane, high-volume dog-breeding operations that ignore the needs of puppies, including proper veterinary care and early socialization” , said Rachel Heatley, director of advocacy for the Utah Humane Society.
On February 15, a rally will be held at the Salt Lake City State House from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. to “highlight TAB’s role in funding predatory puppy loans.”
Last week, more than a dozen advocacy organizations called on new Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) leadership to stop four Utah-based banks from laundering predatory loans to vulnerable people.