U.S. Equity Advantage, Inc. and Robert M. Steenbergh
On November 20, 2020, the Bureau issued a consent order against U.S. Equity Advantage, Inc. (USEA) and its owner, Robert M. Steenbergh. Robert M. Steenbergh is the founder, sole-owner, and chief executive officer of USEA, a nonbank located in Orlando, Florida. USEA and Steenbergh operate an auto loan payment program called AutoPayPlus that charges fees to deduct payments from consumers’ bank accounts every two weeks and then forwards these payments every month to the consumers’ lenders. The Bureau found that the company’s disclosures and advertisements of its loan payment program contained misleading statements in violation of the Consumer Financial Protection Act of 2010’s prohibition against deceptive acts or practices. The consent order imposes a judgment against them requiring payment of $9,300,000, which amount is suspended based on USEA’s demonstrated inability to pay upon their payment of $900,000 and a $1 civil money penalty to the Bureau. The consent order also contains requirements to prevent future violations.