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As FDIC Tries To Weaken CRA Fair Finance Watch on Republic Bank and Axos Bank Demands Extension

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon
BBC - Guardian UK - Honduras - CJR - PFT

UN GATE / SDNY COURT, March 22 – Amid the Coronavirus crisis, with the FDIC and OCC yet to confirm they will postpone any closing of the comment period on their joint attempt to weaken the Community Reinvestment Act, both try to rubber stamp mergers even while public hearings would be prohibited.

Fair Finance Watch, and Inner City Press with FOIA requests, have filed a timely comment with the FDIC against a proposal by predatory lenders Republic Bank and Trust and Axos Bank: "Dear Chairman McWilliams, Regional Director Conneely, Deputy Regional Director Sabanty:    On behalf of Fair Finance Watch and Inner City Press and in my personal capacity, this is a timely comment opposing and demanding an extension of the comment period on the application by high-cost lender Republic Bank & Trust to merge with Axox Bank, including based on the Coronavirus crisis.  

Already, the IRS had extended the filing deadline for 2019 taxes to July 15, 2020 (as should this application).

These are high cost lenders, already underregulated and under commented on. To try to rubber stamp this transaction while the effected public is under shelter in place orders would be unconscionable.

   For the record, for now: "Non-bank payday lenders try to get in on the action by putting a bank’s name on the loan, allowing them the pre-emption protection. One company engaged in this is Elevate Financial. Its line-of-credit product, Elastic, uses Republic Bank, which is chartered in Kentucky, to make the loans. Elevate supplies the underwriting software and therefore controls who gets a loan. Republic Bank holds onto the loans, but then sells a 90 percent “participation interest” to an affiliate of Elevate. Functionally speaking, Elevate issues and effectively owns the loans, but it has a legal fig leaf that enables it to point to Republic Bank as the actual lender. This enables Elevate to sell Elastic, which its financial disclosures say carries an annual percentage rate of 109 percent, in states like Minnesota, Montana, and Oregon, which cap interest rates at 36 percent. It also allows Elevate to sell what is effectively a payday lending/installment loan product called Rise in states where payday lending has been banned, like Arizona."  

This is the application: 20200218 REPUBLIC BANK & TRUST COMPANY 601 WEST MARKET STREET, LOUISVILLE, KY    Merger (Regular)    02/18/2020    03/21/2020    Chicago 

 Additionally, this application is subjec to requests for public hearings, but public hearings right now are prohibited. It is clear you must extend the comment period - please confirm immediately, and how this applies to other pending application and those on which you have closed or purported to close the public comment period this month. Matthew R. Lee, Esq., Fair Finance Watch Watch this site.


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