Fiat Chrysler lender investigated over subprime loans, minority rate discrimination

Aug 11, 2015

Jeep dealership in Maryland
Credit CZ marlin / wikimedia commons

Another auto lender is getting attention from federal regulators for its car loan practices.

Spanish bank Santander's U.S. division underwrites car loans at Fiat Chrysler dealerships. 

As many as 60% of its U.S. car loans are sub-prime.  Those are higher-risk loans made to people with low to very low credit scores. 

The Department of Justice is investigating if Santander is properly verifying income that customers use to secure loans, as well as whether dealers are charging higher interest rates to minority customers. 

Honda Financial recently agreed to pay $24 million to minority customers who'd been charged higher interest rates. 

Ally Financial in 2013 paid an $18 million civil fine, along with $80 million in consumer restitution to settle claims that dealers had charged higher interest rates to minority customers.