Maryland regulators settle with Bank of Missouri, debt collectors and restrict access to state

20 May 2024- The Maryland Department of Labor’s Office of Financial Regulation today announced a settlement agreement and final order with The Bank of Missouri, Atlanticus Services Corporation, and Fortiva Financial, LLC to settle allegations that they violated Maryland’s lending law.

The company, regulators say, will pay $275,000 to resolve litigation involving unlicensed banking services.

An enforcement action brought forth by the Office of Financial Regulation alleged that the three companies were not properly licensed by the State to provide retail credit services to consumers. OFR, along with the State Collection Agency Licensing Board, also cited that the companies were engaged in unlicensed and unregulated collection activities.

“By upholding Maryland’s consumer protection laws, we ensure that Marylanders can conduct their financial transactions through secure, stable, and well-managed institutions,” said Maryland Department of Labor Secretary Portia Wu. “Our department will continue to uphold the necessary standards to maintain proper business processes for financial institutions in Maryland.”

As part of this settlement, Atlanticus and Fortiva will not conduct debt collection activities in their name. They have also agreed not to offer or sell certain credit services in Maryland, including but not limited to any credit repair services, debt-negotiation services, or non-mortgage loan modification services.

“Interstate consumer lending has increasingly involved a complicated web of financial institutions that state financial regulators need to untangle,” said Commissioner of Financial Regulation Antonio P. ‘Tony’ Salazar. “As we do so, the Office of Financial Regulation will ensure that the lenders and their partners adhere to all applicable state laws and, when appropriate, such as in this case, hold businesses like Atlanticus and Fortiva responsible for providing financial services to Marylanders without the required licenses.”

Maryland consumers can submit complaints about financial services companies to the Office of Financial Regulation, verify that a company is licensed to do business in Maryland and view past enforcement actions by visiting labor.maryland.gov/finance.

The Bank of Missouri, Atlanticus Services Corporation, and Fortiva Financial, LLC Settlement Agreement is available at labor.maryland.gov/finance/consumers/frfy2024-fortiva-cfr.pdf.