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Tim Stanley Receives Outstanding Independent Award
Timothy Stanley, president & CEO, Heights Finance Corporation, received AFSA’s Outstanding Independent Award on April 9 during AFSA’s 31st Annual Independents Conference & Exposition in Palm Springs, Calif.
MoneySKILL Reaches Half Million Mark
Since its launch ten years ago, the AFSA Education Foundation’s personal finance course MoneySKILL® has steadily increased its reach among high school, college and middle school students. Enrollments recently surpassed the 500,000 mark.
Yellen Says Job Weakness Forestalls Raising RatesThe New York Times (04/16/14) Schwartz, Nelson D.
The economy continues to improve and point to stronger times ahead and yet Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen noted during remarks on April 16 that she expects interest rates to remain relatively low for the foreseeable future in order to ensure that the American economy is on firm footing. She noted during the remarks that a robust and healthy job market seemed to be “more than two years away” and thus the “economic conditions for some time, warrant keeping short-term interest rates below levels likely to prove normal in the longer run.” Yellen made the remarks to the Economic Club of New York.
She highlighted several economic indicators that continue to point to a weaker economy despite the fact that the headline unemployment rate continues to fall. It currently stands at 6.7 percent. She emphasized the need for the Fed to remain vigilant and nimble as the nation continues its recovery. She admitted also, that the recovery has been frustratingly slow. “So we have, indeed, had a disappointingly slow recovery, and our consistent expectations for a pickup in growth have been dashed over a number of years,” she said. “And the labor market is behaving in some perplexing ways and showing patterns that are novel,” Yellen said.
As spring warms temperatures, analysts expect spending and economic activity to increase. Yellen also addressed this subject in relation to the Fed’s survey of its regional banks and noted that she believes warmer temperatures and more pleasant weather will contribute to more favorable economic climates. She also noted that she hopes that the economy will be able to match Fed projections for unemployment to fall to 5.2 to 5.6 percent by the end of 2016.
Economy Thawing Out, but Pockets of Weakness RemainThe Wall Street Journal (04/16/14) Morath, Eric and Portlock, Sarah
According to the Federal Reserve’s regional economic survey known as the beige book, which was released on April 16, the economy continues to strengthen across the nation and across a number of industries. Warming temperatures around much of the country pushed many consumers into stores, which also increased demand for business loans. Some sectors continue to grow more slowly than analysts would like, but the report points to a broad spring break out.
The Federal Reserve banks in eight of the 12 districts reported positive economic activity. Chicago and New York reported that spending and investment had made important rebounding efforts after a longer and colder winter than typical of both regions. Washington, D.C. reported stronger than normal spring tourist traffic, and ski resorts in the United States reported positive economic conditions due to the extended snow season.
The Fed noted in the report that it continues to monitor the “scattered” reports of price increases in food and other key indicators of inflation. The overall labor market condition remains “generally positive.”. Housing, however, has yet to break out from the grips of winter, as Chicago-area realtors report that real estate home sales declined due to the frigid temperatures and Atlanta brokers noted that higher prices and limited selection led to negative activity.
U.S. Auto Sales Rebounded to Lively Pace in MarchThe Wall Street Journal (04/01/14) Rogers, Christina and Kell, John
After two months of less than stellar reports, auto sales ticked upwards in March to one of the highest levels in the last several years. Light-vehicle sales rose 5.7 percent to 1.54 million, elevating the annualized rate to 16.4 million. The sales brought some relief to the auto industry, which has experienced sales below expectations for the first few months of the year due to colder weather. Dealers and financers alike are optimistic about the spring and summer months. Analysts forecast that new-vehicle sales could reach more than 16 million this year.
Nebraska Senator Introduces 2 Bills to Reform CFPBSubPrime Auto Finance News (04/16/14)
Sen. Deb Fischer (R-NE) has introduced two bills that would fundamentally change how the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is structured and how it operates. The Consumer Financial Protection Act of 2014 (S. 2213) would replace the CFPB’s single director, currently held by Richard Cordray, with a bipartisan, five-member commission appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate. Commissioners would serve staggered five-year terms and no three commissioners could be from the same political party. The legislation would not take effect until after Director Cordray’s current term has ended on July 16, 2018.
The second bill, entitled the CFPB Improvement Act of 2014 (S. 2212) would change the requirement for the Financial Stability Oversight Council’s (FSOC) voting members to overturn CFPB regulations from two-thirds to a simple majority. The bill also would exclude the CFPB director from the vote.
The same reforms were recently passed in the House by Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI), a member of the House Financial Services Committee. The action by Sen. Fischer is the first legislative attempt in the Senate to restructure the bureau.
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April 17, 2014
AFSA Newsbriefs is a weekly executive summary of AFSA initiatives and consumer credit articles. AFSA Newsbriefs is free for members. Send an email to [email protected] to subscribe.
The American Financial Services Association, or AFSA, is the national trade association for the consumer credit industry, protecting access to credit and consumer choice. The association encourages and maintains ethical business practices and supports financial education for consumers of all ages.