Lending Policy

ThinkWallet is not a lender, does not make credit decisions, does not take loan applications, or originate, service, underwrite, fund, or collect payments for loans. A network of approved lenders and other financial service providers work with ThinkWallet to find potential customers for their loan products and other financial products and services. ThinkWallet is paid a marketing fee for helping them find new and returning customers. Lenders and other financial services providers are required to follow applicable federal and state laws, some of which are touched on here (although this is not intended to be an exhaustive list). The information provided here is not financial or legal advice, but is general information. Always check with your financial or legal advisor for specific advice for your particular situation.

Lender Licensing

Some lenders and “fintech” providers are in a “bank partnership” relationship, which allows them to focus on a better experience for their customers (speed, convenience, accessibility, etc.), while not having to worry about certain state laws. Other lenders may be state-licensed, which requires them to comply with federal and state statutes and regulations. Still others (predominantly in the high-cost short-term lending space) may be affiliated with federally recognized Tribes. Your lender’s structure dictates, in part, the rules they must comply with in providing you a loan, but the following rules apply to most, if not all, consumer loans regardless of your lender’s setup.

Truth in Lending Act (TILA)

The Truth in Lending Act (TILA), and its implementing regulation known as Reg Z, requires lenders to present certain information to borrowers to help them compare offers from various lenders and other financial service providers. The required disclosures even have to be presented in a certain format, so you can compare “apples to apples” for various offers. Required disclosures include, among other things, the annual percentage rate (APR), the finance charge (i.e., how much the credit will cost you), the amount financed, and the total payments you will be required to make. 

The disclosures are supposed to be provided to you before you sign your loan documents, but they may be included within your loan document. Take time to read the disclosures to understand the cost of credit you’re about to take out before you sign your loan documents. If you have more than one loan offer, compare terms to see what might be best for you. If you have questions, ask your lender.

Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act

On July 21, 2010, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 (Dodd-Frank Act) was signed into law. The Act is very complex and lengthy and covers much more than personal loans. Title X of the Dodd-Frank Act (Title X), the Consumer Financial Protection Act of 2010, created the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and established its rulemaking, supervisory, and enforcement powers.

Under the Dodd-Frank Act, it is unlawful for lenders and other financial service providers to use any unfair, deceptive, or abusive acts or practices in dealing with consumers. The Act gave the CFPB rulemaking and enforcement authority over certain lenders to prevent unfair, deceptive, or abusive acts or practices related to most consumer financial products or services.

Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA)

ECOA is a federal civil rights law designed to protect consumers against discrimination based on certain categories, including race, color, religion, national origin, sex, marital status, age, receipt of public assistance income, and exercising rights under the Consumer Credit Protection Act. Lenders should not discriminate against you based on any of these categories. The CFPB has expanded its authority over discriminatory conduct to include financial service providers as well. If you believe you have been the victim of discrimination, talk to your legal advisor, consider complaining to the lender or financial service provider, check with your state Attorney General’s office to see if they have been in trouble before, and report the alleged violation to the Federal Trade Commission or the CFPB (both websites have easy to use complaint portals).

Know Your Customer Requirements

Your lender is likely required to comply with Know Your Customer (or “KYC”) requirements. In simple terms, this means a lender must know who they are dealing with before they agree to lend money. This is one reason you may be required to provide sensitive personal information (like your SSN). Lenders will use that information to help verify your identity. Your lender may require you to provide additional documents (like photo ID and proof of residence) before approving your loan.