Today's Headlines

    U.S. Senate panel suspends rules, backs Price, Mnuchin for Cabinet

    Reuters, Susan Cornwell (February 1, 2017)

    Republicans on the Senate Finance Committee suspended the rules and confirmed both Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) and banker Steve Mnuchin to head the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Treasury, respectively.

    Democrats boycotted the committee’s meetings in an effort to stop action on the nominees. Republicans suspended the rule requiring at least one Democrat to be present for business to move forward. "We took some unprecedented action today due to some unprecedented obstruction on the part of our colleagues," said the panel's chair, Republican Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah, who was furious over the Democrats' no-show. He said he had obtained approval from the Senate parliamentarian for the move suspending the rule.

    Democrats found the move to be disconcerting. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), the committee’s ranking member, noted that he was “deeply troubled” by Hatch’s move. The minority party had been boycotting the committee hearings until they received more information on Price’s stock trades and reports on Mnuchin’s dealings with “robo-signings” while he led OneWest Bank. 

    Volume slips 1.9% but SAAR remains strong at 17.57 million

    Automotive News, David Phillips (February 1, 2017)

    Heavy promotions and generous deals fueled a 1.9 percent dip in light-vehicle sales in January, as consumers and automakers take a breather after an active end of year sales season. Still, the seasonally adjusted annualized sales rate remained strong, only falling slightly to 17.57 million from 17.62 million in January of 2016.

    Automakers sold a record 17.54 million cars and light trucks in the U.S. in 2016 -- extending the industry’s annual gains to seven straight years. While the light-truck market is robust -- rising 7.4 percent in 2016 -- car demand remains weak, forcing some companies to fatten deals and idle plants that build sedans and coupes. In January, car deliveries slumped 13 percent while light-truck sales rose 5.8 percent.

    Registration Open for AFSAEF’s The EDGE program

    Registration has opened for the American Financial Services Association Education Foundation’s (AFSAEF) THE EDGE program. THE EDGE provides high quality training for branch managers and team leaders by providing layered modules of learning.

    Management I courses provide a sound basic knowledge for financial managers in time management, consumer lending, financial services law, communications, rates and profits, performance management and business ethics. Management II courses relate to financial statements, competitive environment, employment and financial services law, funding strategies, market strategies, the monetary system and being a great coach at work. The industry's top executives share their personal formulas to be successful in a fast-paced and ever-changing environment.

    The 2017 dates for The EDGE program are June 4-9, 2017 at the Stetson School of Business and Economics at Mercer University in Atlanta, Ga. The deadline to register for the program is April 28, 2017.

    More information, as well as a program brochure and registration information, is available at the AFSAEF website.

    AFSA Meets with DOD on MLA

    AFSA Staff

    On Feb. 1, AFSA staff, along with its sister trade associations, met with the Department of Defense (DOD) and other federal regulators regarding the Military Lending Act (MLA).

    The group tackled a number of issues surrounding the MLA, including: the vehicle finance exemption from the MLA, loans for personal property, refinancing, and implementation of MLA for credit cards.

    Also mentioned was the DOD’s plan to issue a request for information regarding direct connection to the DOD’s database for certain financial institutions. The connection would allow larger companies to determine covered borrower status directly from the DOD’s database.

    In addition, the DOD said that the MLA website will become searchable by Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITINS), hopefully by late summer.

    The DOD and its federal agency partners reiterated that they remain open to working with the trade associations.

    Dismantling Dodd-Frank is Top Priority for Trump, Congress

    AFSA Staff

    President Donald Trump told Congressional Republicans during their retreat in Philadelphia last week that they should make financial reform a priority to "help striving Americans get the credit they need to realize their dreams." Vice President Pence also said dismantling Dodd-Frank is a top legislative priority for the Trump Administration.

    "Fulfilling the Trump Administration's pledge to dismantle Dodd-Frank this year is essential to leveling the playing field, building a healthy economy and offering every American greater opportunities to achieve financial independence," said House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) in response. "Republicans on the Financial Services Committee are eager to work with the President and his administration to unclog the arteries of our financial system," he added.

    Congressional Democrats continue their efforts to defend the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). The Constitutional Accountability Center asked the U.S. Court of Appeals in DC for permission to intervene in PHH Corporation v. CFPB, the case determining the constitutionality of the CFPB, on behalf of Senate Banking Committee Ranking Member Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and House Financial Services Committee Ranking Member Maxine Waters (D-CA). "It has become increasingly clear that movants' interests may no longer be adequately represented by the new Administration," the center wrote in its filing. "Thus, movants seek to intervene to defend the constitutionality of the important law they helped enact."

    President Trump and Vice President Pence's remarks to Congressional Republicans solidify previous reports that financial reform and the Dodd-Frank Act is a priority of the Administration. While we will likely continue to see Democrat opposition to CFPB reform, the Republican-controlled Congress and the Administration appear united on this issue.