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Committed to Consumer Protection

Amidst a serious push by Republicans in Congress to restructure—or even dismantle the CFPB, Pennsylvania recently joins other states that have taken steps to double down on consumer finance laws to protect citizens from financial scams.

Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced recently that he plans to create a Consumer Financial Protection Unit to offer Pennsylvania consumers better financial protection. Shapiro appointed experienced consumer protection attorney Nicholas Smyth to lead the unit.

According to the Office of Attorney General Josh Shapiro, the efforts will focus on lenders that prey on seniors, families with students, and military service members, including for-profit colleges and mortgage and student loan servicers.

“Protecting the public from financial scams is a key priority of mine, and Nick Smyth will help us expand our capacity to bring complex cases against financial companies that try to rip off Pennsylvanians,” Shapiro said. “Our Consumer Protection team is here to fight on behalf of Pennsylvanians and make sure they get what they paid for and get their money back if they don’t.”

Smyth brings major expertise to the Pennsylvania-based Consumer Financial Protection Unit as one of the attorneys that helped found the agency. While at the CFPB, Smyth led investigations of the subprime auto lender Drivetime, resulting in an $8 million settlement in 2014.

More of Smyth’s previous work includes working on CFPB v. ITT Educational Services, Inc., the CFPB’s first enforcement action against a for-profit college. As well as working on an investigation of U.S. Bank’s MILES Program, a subprime auto finance program for military service members, which led to $6.5 million in consent orders.

“I am honored to join the Attorney General’s terrific consumer protection team,” Smyth said. “The Consumer Protection Bureau saves Pennsylvania families millions of dollars each year, and I am excited to contribute to this great work.”

About Author: Nicole Casperson

Nicole Casperson is the Associate Editor of DS News and MReport. She graduated from Texas Tech University where she received her M.A. in Mass Communications and her B.A. in Journalism. Casperson previously worked as a graduate teaching instructor at Texas Tech's College of Media and Communications. Her thesis will be published by the International Communication Association this fall. To contact Casperson, e-mail: nicole.casperson@thefivestar.com.
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