March 18, 2014

CFPB, DoJ eye GE for consumer finance violations

March 19, 2014 – General Electric Co.'s consumer finance unit is reportedly facing probes from CFPB and the Justice Department over possible violations of consumer financial laws in connection with its marketing of certain products and potential lending discrimination practices.

The Wall Street Journalreported Monday that GE's consumer finance unit, Synchrony Financial, is in discussions with CFPB about "debt cancellation products" and the marketing of those services. WSJ also reported that GE is in talks with the Justice Department to resolve an investigation by CFPB involving a potential lending discrimination violation for excluding Spanish-speaking customers from settlement offers.

CFPB announced in December a settlement with GE Capital over its medical credit card division for not fully explaining the loan terms for different medical and dental procedures. A CFPB press statement noted that GE refunded up to $34.1 million to consumers "who were victims of deceptive credit card enrollment tactics."

Under the Dodd-Frank Act, CFPB has authority to take action against institutions engaging in unfair, deceptive or abusive practices. Credit unions remain subject to CFPB examination and enforcement if they have more than $10 billion in assets. All insured credit unions are subject to CFPB's consumer financial protection rules.