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Oportun Financial says unit under probe by U.S. consumer watchdog

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March 4 (Reuters) - A unit of Oportun Financial Corp was under investigation by the U.S. consumer watchdog regarding its legal collection practices from 2019 until 2021, the financial services firm said in a regulatory filing late Thursday.

Oportun Inc, which received an investigation demand from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) on March 3, said legal collection practices and hardship treatments offered by the company during the COVID-19 pandemic are now under the scanner. (https://bit.ly/3uYl79u)

The parent company said its practices were in full compliance with the CFPB guidance.

The CFPB did not immediately respond to Reuters request for a comment outside working hours.

According to the lending platform's website, any customer affected by the COVID-19 pandemic would be offered a host of services, including reduced payments and deferrals. Any skipped payments would not be reported as late, if arrangements are made in advance.

The consumer watchdog has ramped up its oversight under the new administration. David Uejio, the acting director of CFPB, said in January the watchdog would focus on "overseeing the companies responsible for COVID relief". (https://bit.ly/3sRfrfL)

PayPal Holdings Inc's app Venmo was also under investigation by the bureau regarding alleged unauthorized fund transfers and collections processes, the payments processor disclosed last month.

(Reporting by Niket Nishant in Bengaluru, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)