HARRISBURG, PA (STL.News) Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro today announced that the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General has stopped Northwest Bank from engaging in aggressive collection practices on car loans.

“Northwest Bank has a right to pursue legal action when borrowers don’t pay back their loans,” said Attorney General Shapiro.  “But when they threaten borrowers with legal action they never intend to pursue or purposefully file lawsuits in counties some distance away from the borrower, they are manipulating the system for their own benefit.  We will not let any business, big or small, exploit Pennsylvanians in pursuit of a rip-off pay day.”

The Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General entered into an Assurance of Voluntary Compliance with Northwest after the Office received information that the bank had filed multiple collection suits in a district justice court in Warren, Pennsylvania despite the fact that most of the defendants in those actions were consumers who purchased their vehicles in another part of the state and merely had their vehicle installment contract assigned to Northwest Bank.  The Assurance also identified Northwest’s practice of sending a post-judgment letter threatening further legal action, including a potential sheriff’s sale of real property, as violative of Pennsylvania law.

Under the terms of the Assurance, Northwest, while not admitting any violation, must fully comply with the aforementioned debt collection and consumer protection laws.  Further, any judgments obtained since January 1, 2013 as the result of these practices will be cancelled and any consumers who paid amounts toward the satisfaction of these judgments will receive restitution or a credit toward their balances.  Consumers qualifying for relief will receive notification from Northwest.

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