Lender Mariner Finance accused of predatory practices by five states, D.C.

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A loan company controlled by one of the nation’s largest private-equity firms is engaged in a nationwide scheme that takes advantage of low- and moderate-income consumers, according to a lawsuit filed by five states.

Mariner Finance adds costly insurance policies and other products to loans without the knowledge of borrowers and deceptively induces them to refinance their debts to generate fees for the company, according to the lawsuit filed Tuesday by attorneys general in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Utah, Washington, Oregon and the District of Columbia.

‘A way of monetizing poor people’

The lender is owned by an investment fund managed by Warburg Pincus, a Wall Street private-equity firm. The president of Warburg Pincus is Timothy F. Geithner, who, as treasury secretary in the Obama administration, condemned predatory lenders.

“Mariner’s unlawful behavior is motivated by the high-growth demands of its owner,” the lawsuit said.

The company “padded its bottom line by deceiving hard working [people],” Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro said in a statement. “Products consumers never asked for and often didn’t realize they’d been signed up for were tacked on to a kind of loan that we already know people struggle to pay back. These tactics are predatory.”

Executives at Warburg Pincus and the lender denied any wrongdoing.

“Mariner Finance delivers a valuable service to hundreds of thousands of Americans who have…

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