GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTING OFFICE INVESTIGATION
On September 30, 2015 the Government Accounting Office (GAO) issued a report following a 15 month investigation regarding advances to pensioners, secured by monies that the pensioner would receive in their pension. The same day the Senate Committee on Aging held hearings on this exact issue to determine if indeed this practice is predatory as well as how the federal government will respond. The GAO conducted an undercover operation and received substantive offers from six different pension advance companies. The GAO report also indicated that there was a lack of disclosure on some fees, interest rates and various options, in addition to undisclosed affliations between 21 of the 38 companies that were investigated. The majority of the offers had interest rates of a stiffling 27 to 46 percent. While there is no set federal definition for usury, New York law defines usury as any loan which requires a payment of 25 percent or more; more about this below. Not surpringly the some of the companies focused their efforts on financially vulnerable pensioners with poor or bad cre dit. One of the recommendations from the GAO report was that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) educate consumers about these practices.
WHY THE GAO INVESTIGATED