On May 18, 2016, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) issued a report on auto title loans. Auto title loans are small-dollar, high interest, loans that are generally used by borrowers to cover emergency expenses between paychecks. To obtain these loans, borrowers use their vehicles as collateral and the lender holds the vehicle title until the loan is repaid. The auto title loans covered by the CFPB report required borrowers to repay the loan in full in one lump sum payment. Twenty states permit single payment auto title loans and another five states permit auto title loans that are repayable in installments.

Among other things, the CFPB report found that:

  • One-in-five borrowers are unable to repay their loan and, therefore, have their vehicles seized by their lender;
  • Four-in-five auto title loans are not repaid in a single payment; rather, only about 12% of borrowers are able to pay their loans in full in one payment;
  • Over half of all auto title loans become “long-term” debt for borrowers; and
  • Borrowers who renew their auto title loans, and thus, carry them for more than seven months, account for two-thirds of the total auto title industry business.

In connection with the release of its report, the CFPB announced that it is considering new rules to address issues facing consumers in the small dollar marketplace, such as auto title loans, payday loans, and deposit advance products.

To view the CFPB’s report, click here.