Utah Bank Called Out for Laundering Loans for Payday Predator

FinWise partnered with lender charging 149% interest

Andy Spears
2 min readFeb 9, 2022


Photo by Jason Dent on Unsplash

The District of Columbia yesterday announced a settlement with online lender Elevate that will refund millions of dollars to consumers. The agreement was reached as a result of Elevate violating interest rate caps in DC — the maximum rate for a loan there is 24%.

Loans at 99% to 251% Interest?!?. Rent-a-bank lender Elevate pays $4… | by Andy Spears | Feb, 2022 | Medium

In order to get around the rate cap, Elevate partnered with a Utah bank known as FinWise. Utah’s ABC4 has more:

Elevate Credit, Inc. (Elevate) was laundering loans with up 149% APR to D.C. consumers through Utah FinWise Bank to evade DC’s interest rate limits.

Elevate was charging 99% to 149% interest on installment loans in DC despite the District’s 24% interest rate cap.

Consumer advocates were quick to condemn FinWise for their complicity in the rent-a-bank scheme:

“Utah’s FinWise Bank was helping the predatory lender Elevate to make loans up to 149% APR that are illegal in DC, but the DC Attorney General showed that states can stop rent-a-bank schemes enabled by rogue Utah banks,” said Lauren Saunders, associate director at the National Consumer Law Center. “The FDIC now must stop FinWise Bank and three other Utah Banks — Capital Community Bank, First Electronic Bank, and TAB Bank — from fronting for predatory lenders across the country.”

Consumer Groups Call for FDIC Action on Predatory Lending | by Andy Spears | Feb, 2022 | Medium

In a letter to regulators, consumer groups including Consumer Federation of America and National Consumer Law Center called for further action to stop banks from enabling predatory lending:

“FDIC-supervised banks are helping predatory lenders make loans up to 225% APR that are illegal in almost every state. These rent-a-bank schemes often operate under the guise of innovative ‘fintech’ products, even as their high-cost, high-default business model inflicts harms similar to those inflicted by traditional payday lenders…. Rent-a-bank schemes have flourished at FDIC banks in the past few years, and it is time for that to come to an end.”



Andy Spears

Writer and policy advocate living in Nashville, TN —Public Policy Ph.D. — writes on education policy, consumer affairs, and more . . .