Tuesday, October 23, 2018
AutoLink

Rep. Charlie Crist urges federal consumer watchdog to investigate Marlin Financial

U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist is calling for the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to investigate Marlin Financial, saying he was "disturbed" by a recent Tampa Bay Timesí investigation into the online auto finance company.

In a letter Tuesday afternoon, Crist asked Mick Mulvaney to investigate Marlin, which has operated across Florida, for potential "unfair, deceptive and abusive practices" and other possible violations of federal law.

"Should any of the outrageous behaviors reported by the Tampa Bay Times violate federal consumer financial protection laws, I urge you to hold the company accountable and make its victims whole," he said.

An investigation by the Times found that Marlin customers felt forced into purchasing an optional product that can push the interest rate on the companyís loans far beyond state limits. In one case, a Temple Terrace customerís rate was three times the legal limit. Customers also complained of not being given a chance to get their belongings from their repossessed cars, which is a violation of state law. The Florida Attorney General is currently investigating Marlin.

Read the investigation: Customers say Marlin Financialís auto loans are deceptive. Now the state is investigating

Crist is the second public official to take an interest in Marlin as a result of the Timesí investigation. Mike Fasano, Pasco County tax collector, last week cautioned businesses about doing business or interacting with the lender.

"You, of course, can do business with whomever you may choose," he said. "However, once you read the attached article, you may want to think long and hard if this is a company you want to do become involved with."

By all appearances, Marlin is still operating in Florida. Its website is still active and allows visitors to submit information to apply for a loan. Business records filed with the state also show the lenderís status as "active." Its consumer finance company license with the Florida Office of Financial Regulation is also listed as currently active.

One of Marlinís sister companies is also still present in the state. Approved Money Inc. ó also called Approved Financial Inc. in business records ó and Marlin both operate under eTech360 (also called eTechnologies), a "specialty finance company" according to job postings on LiveCareer.com.

Approved operates in Florida and lists Jeremy Tolan as its president. Tolan is also president of Marlin, and Illinois business records show that his brother, Joshua Tolan, is president of eTechnologies. Approved is listed as an active corporation in Florida that came to the state in 2015. OFR does not currently show any lending licenses for it.

MORE: Get more business news here

Contact Malena Carollo at mcarollo@tampabay.com or (727) 892-2249. Follow @malenacarollo.

Comments
Federal consumer watchdog looking into auto lender Marlin Financial

Federal consumer watchdog looking into auto lender Marlin Financial

A federal agency is looking into online auto lender Marlin Financial. In a letter to Rep. Charlie Crist dated Tuesday, the head of the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection called the findings of a Tampa Bay Timesí investigation into the lender "tr...
Published: 10/18/18
Federal consumer watchdog looking into auto lender Marlin Financial

Federal consumer watchdog looking into auto lender Marlin Financial

A federal agency is looking into online auto lender Marlin Financial. In a letter to Rep. Charlie Crist dated Tuesday, the head of the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection called the findings of a Tampa Bay Timesí investigation into the lender "tr...
Published: 10/18/18
Report: Tampa drivers pay different insurance rates based on ZIP code

Report: Tampa drivers pay different insurance rates based on ZIP code

It can be tough to figure out why insurance companies charge some more than others for auto coverage. But a recent analysis by the Consumer Federation of America suggests that a driverís neighborhood could be a factor. The analysis, released Monday, ...
Published: 10/17/18
In Tampa Bay, larger cars hold their value the best

In Tampa Bay, larger cars hold their value the best

Looking to buy a new car that holds its value? In Tampa Bay, think big. According to an analysis by iSeeCars, the bay area vehicle with the lowest depreciation over five years is a Jeep Wrangler Unlimited. They average just 26 percent depreciation ov...
Published: 10/10/18
Updated: 10/11/18
Tesla report shows stronger safety record for vehicles on autopilot

Tesla report shows stronger safety record for vehicles on autopilot

Associated PressNEW YORK ó Tesla says it recorded one accident for every 3.34 million miles driven in the third quarter when the autopilot was engaged on its vehicles. That rises to 1.92 million when autopilot is not on. Itís the first quarterly auto...
Updated one month ago
General Motors and Honda team up on self-driving technology

General Motors and Honda team up on self-driving technology

By CATHY BUSSEWITZGeneral Motors and Honda are teaming up on self-driving vehicle technology as big automakers and tech giants race to develop the next generation of personal transportation. Japanís Honda Motor Co. will invest $2.75 billion in the au...
Updated one month ago
Under scrutiny, online auto lender Marlin Financial stops making new loans

Under scrutiny, online auto lender Marlin Financial stops making new loans

Marlin Financial has stopped taking new customers as state investigators scrutinize its business practices.The online auto lender at the center of a Florida Attorney General investigation has a note on its website that it is "no longer accepting new ...
Updated one month ago
Rep. Charlie Crist urges federal consumer watchdog to investigate Marlin Financial

Rep. Charlie Crist urges federal consumer watchdog to investigate Marlin Financial

U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist is calling for the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to investigate Marlin Financial, saying he was "disturbed" by a recent Tampa Bay Timesí investigation into the online auto finance company. In a letter Tuesday af...
Updated one month ago
My First Car: 1965 Chevrolet Chevelle Malibu Super Sport, Charlie Lowrey, 73, Ruskin

My First Car: 1965 Chevrolet Chevelle Malibu Super Sport, Charlie Lowrey, 73, Ruskin

í65 Chevrolet Chevelle Malibu Super SportI still have my first car. I ordered it new from the factory, took delivery, and it has never been out of my possession. It is a 1965 Chevrolet Chevelle Malibu Super Sport. It has a 327-cubic-inch V-8 motor wi...
Updated one month ago
Lower demand brings slight dip in gas prices across state, Tampa Bay

Lower demand brings slight dip in gas prices across state, Tampa Bay

Just in time for fall, pump prices are finally declining. Gas prices in Florida averaged $2.72 per gallon Monday, down from $2.74 per gallon a week ago, according to AAA, The Auto Club Group. Tampa Bay prices were even lower at $2.63 per gallon, down...
Updated one month ago