NOW COME the parties in the above-captioned matter, the Division and the Company, and stipulate and agree as follows:
- The Company shall pay an administrative penalty to the Division in the amount of five hundred thousand dollars ($500,000.00). The penalty shall be due upon execution and shall be payable by check to the “Commonwealth of Massachusetts,” mailed to the Division of Banks, Attn: Consumer Finance Licensing Unit, 1000 Washington Street, 10th Floor, Boston, Massachusetts 02118.
- Freedom Financial shall immediately cease and desist from engaging in any business activity that requires licensing or registration from the Division, prior to obtaining the appropriate license or approval from the Division including, but not limited to, acting as a third party loan servicer in Massachusetts as such business is described in Massachusetts General Laws chapter 93, section 24A.
- Freedom Financial shall establish, implement and maintain adequate internal policies and procedures to ensure that the Company refrains from engaging in any business activity that requires licensing or registration from the Division, prior to obtaining the appropriate license or approval from the Division.
- It is understood that Freedom Financial has submitted an application to obtain the third party loan servicer registration from the Division. The Division shall have all of the discretion set forth within Massachusetts General Laws chapter 93, sections 24 to 28 and the Division's regulation 209 CMR 18.00 et seq., in determining whether to issue the relevant registration to Freedom Financial, provided, however, that any such application shall not be denied solely as a result of any of the issues resolved by this Consent Order or because the Company entered into the Consent Order or agreed to the issuance of this Consent Order.
- It is understood that, if registered, Freedom Financial shall comply with the requirements set forth in applicable state and federal laws, rules, regulations, and published regulatory bulletins governing the conduct of those engaged directly or indirectly in the business of a third party loan servicer in Massachusetts including but not limited to: Massachusetts General Laws General Laws chapter 93, sections 24 to 28 and the Division's regulation 209 CMR 18.00 et seq., and establish, implement, and maintain policies and procedures to ensure compliance.
- By its execution of this Consent Order, Freedom Financial hereby certifies that all of the loans serviced by Freedom Financial were originated by a lender that is state-chartered and supervised and regulated by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. Accordingly, Freedom Financial represents that the loans are exempt from the Massachusetts Criminal Usury Law, including its notification requirements. See Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 271, § 49(e).
- Nothing in this Consent Order shall be construed as permitting Freedom Financial to violate any law, rule, regulation, or regulatory bulletin to which the Company is subject.
- Failure to comply with the terms of this Consent Order shall constitute grounds for formal regulatory action pursuant to applicable provisions of the General Laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
- This Consent Order shall become effective immediately upon the date of its issuance.
- The provisions of this Consent Order shall be binding upon Freedom Financial and its respective subsidiaries, officers and directors, successors and assigns, and those persons in active participation with them, directly or indirectly, acting individually or through any corporate or other entity.
- In consideration of this Consent Order, the Division agrees not to pursue any other remedial measures, sanctions or penalties relative to this matter unless the Division is made aware of material information that is not addressed in this Consent Order, or if Freedom Financial fails to comply with the terms of this Consent Order.
- The provisions of this Consent Order shall not limit, estop, or otherwise prevent any other state agency or department, from taking any other action under separate authority affecting the Company or any of its officers and directors, or their successors or assigns.
- The provisions of this Consent Order shall remain effective and enforceable except to the extent that, and until such time as the Commissioner or a court of competent jurisdiction modifies, terminates, suspends, or sets aside any provision of this Consent Order.
- In accordance with the terms of the Consent Agreement entered into by Freedom Financial and the Commissioner, Freedom Financial has waived all rights of appeal that it may have relative to this Consent Order or any of its provisions.
- This Consent Order and the Consent Agreement are the complete documents representing the resolution of this matter. There are no other agreements between the Division and Freedom Financial.
By order and direction of the Commissioner of Banks
Dated at Boston, Massachusetts, this 19th day of November, 2018.
By: Terence A. McGinnis, Commissioner of Banks
THIS CONSENT ORDER HAS BEEN SUPERSEDED AND REPLACED BY CONSENT ORDER DATED 8/5/19, DOCKET #2019-0003