AFSA Gets Into the Weeds on NDAA, Blunt Talk on FDCPA

The American Financial Services Association remained heavily engaged in key issues this week, submitting a comment letter on the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) and attending a House Financial Services Committee (HFSC) meeting on the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.

AFSA’s letter to the House and Senate Armed Services Committees asked the chairs and ranking members to consider two key sections of the proposed 2020 NDAA. The first is a section that passed in the House version of the bill that would limit servicemembers and their family’s ability to settle disputes via arbitration. As AFSA has argued recently, these unfair arbitration prohibitions harm consumers by funneling disputes into class action lawsuits that benefit trial lawyers while providing comparatively little to consumers.

The second section deals with the underwriting standards required of small dollar lenders. The standards are similar to those that appear in the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) proposed rule, which is currently being delayed by the bureau and stayed by a Texas court.

“[T]hese matters are best considered in the context and due course of the structure of bills and issues that are before the committees with overall jurisdiction of financial matters,” said AFSA President & CEO Bill Himpler in the letter. “Isolating and narrowing these matters to the NDAA could have unintended consequences that would reverberate with both members of the military and the financial services industry.”

AFSA also rolled out commentary for the House Financial Services Committee hearing, “Examining Legislation to Protect Consumers and Small Business Owners from Abusive Debt Collection Practices.” AFSA took the opportunity to continue to draw a bright line between creditors and third-party debt collectors as the difference relates to the upcoming debt collection rules from the CFPB. The association submitted its full commentary on the rule to the CFPB last week.

And, finally as the video indicates, AFSA was included in high company for its recent efforts on the Hill.