Today's Headlines

    AFSA Members Share Their Stories on Capitol Hill

    AFSA Staff

    Executives of AFSA member companies in the traditional installment space wrapped up the 2017 Installment Lenders’ Summit today with renewed optimism for the future of their companies, employees and customers.

    With a Republican majority in Congress combined with a business-savvy Republican administration, AFSA members now see light at the end of the tunnel in rolling back onerous federal regulations that have resulted in not being able to serve segments of their customer base, having to hire compliance staffs and steep declines in revenue and profits.

    The summit concluded with a meeting at the Old Executive Office Building, adjacent to the White House, with key members of the Domestic Policy Council.

    Executives from member companies shared with the Council stories of trying to navigate federally-mandated bulletins, rule-making and other orders regarding compliance.

    “We share your skepticism of Dodd-Frank and of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau,” said a high-ranking member of the council.

    The summit kicked off with a keynote address from Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO), a member of the House Financial Services Committee. The Congressman touched on the important role access to affordable consumer credit plays in the lives of ordinary Americans.

    Wednesday featured a packed schedule, including a variety of panels and sessions. The morning opened with remarks from Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC), who serves on the Senate Banking and Armed Services Committees.

    Dan Smith, Shiri Wolf, and Kristen Phinnessee from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) briefed AFSA members on a number of general topics. AFSA Compliance Administrator Aaron Tompkins led a timely discussion on the upcoming Office of the Comptroller of the Currency’s fintech charter with Lisa McGreevy of the Online Lenders Alliance and Brian Knight of the Mercatus Center. Closing the presentations for the day, David Casserly gave the attendees an update on the AFSA Education Foundations development of a strategic plan. He noted that 786,000 students have completed Money$kill, the Foundation’s financial literacy course.

    AFSA members then headed to Capitol Hill for meetings with their congressional representatives. The meetings focused on bringing the positive message of traditional installment lending to Capitol Hill and ensuring that there is a strong line of distinction between AFSA member financial products and other, less reputable ones.

    AFSA will continue to work closely with policymakers and members of Congress to ensure that issues critical to consumer credit companies are well represented in the nation’s capital. 

    New Member Welcome

    AFSA is pleased to welcome new Business Partner member Stoneleigh Recovery Associates, LLC.  Based in Illinois, the company provides nationwide debt collection services. www.stoneleighrecoveryassociates.com

    CFPB Releases Monthly Snapshot for February

    AFSA Staff

    The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has released its monthly snapshot for the month of February, highlighting credit-reporting complaints on credit reporting. The snapshot also takes a close look at the state of Louisiana.

    The press release on the snapshot notes that the bureau took in approximately 185,700 complaints on credit reporting as of Feb. 1, 2017. Consumers reported problems disputing items or inaccurate items on their reports. Additionally, they reported a general confusion about credit scores and the factors that go in to determining a credit score.

    As of Feb. 1, the CFPB handled just over 1.1 million complaints on all of the topics on which it collects information. Debt collection “continues to be” the most referenced financial product or service that appears in the complaint database from month to month. The bureau saw an uptick in complaints on student loans following its recent enforcement action against Navient.

    The bureau’s snapshot also took a close look at the State of Louisiana, where it notes that its complaints on debt collection are higher than the national average.

    AFSA Comments on Proposed Amendments to Massachusetts Rules of Civil Procedure Regarding Credit Card Debts

    AFSA Staff

     

    On February 28, AFSA submitted a comment letter to Massachusetts regarding proposed amendments to the Rules of Civil Procedure regarding credit card debts. The proposed amendments outline additional affidavits that must be filed to verify credit card debts in collections proceedings. 

     

    AFSA's letter requested specific changes to the affidavit used to identify a specific consumer's account, as the rules as written could create some confusion among consumers and difficulty for a company trying to collect. Additionally, AFSA requested address verification requirements be brought in line with existing standards to simplify the process for verifying a consumer's current address.

     

    AFSA will continue to monitor the rulemaking process and keep members apprised of any future changes to the requirements.

    AFSA Brings on Carmichael as VP Congressional Affairs

    The American Financial Services Association (AFSA) is pleased to announce the hiring of Ann Carmichael as its new Vice President of Congressional Affairs. In this newly-created position, Carmichael will develop and deliver to lawmakers and policymakers AFSA’s message of protecting access to safe, responsible consumer credit.

    “We are excited to have someone with Ann’s credentials and experience join the AFSA team,” said Bill Himpler, Executive Vice President at AFSA. “Her advocacy skills and network will help AFSA protect – and more importantly – expand access to credit for all Americans. I look forward to teaming up with her to advocate for AFSA members.”

    Carmichael primarily will be responsible for leading AFSA advocacy on Capitol Hill. Himpler will continue to head up the Federal Government Affairs department with a renewed emphasis on compliance and regulatory affairs.

    Carmichael most recently served as the Associate Director of Advocacy and Counsel at the Credit Union National Association (CUNA), where she advocated priority issues before members of Congress and their staffs. These included many of the same issues for which she will advocate at AFSA, including reforms to the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act and regulatory relief for financial institutions.

    Carmichael began her career as an intern with the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs, assisting on matters between President George W. Bush and state governors. Following her first position, she moved to Washington, D.C. to work directly for President Bush as a Presidential Writer in the White House Office of Presidential Correspondence. She was then promoted to Director of Legislative Correspondence for the White House Office of Legislative Affairs. She worked to outline and advise the President and his staff on the concerns and viewpoints of members of Congress, Cabinet Departments, and other federal agencies.

    Carmichael subsequently took a position in President Bush’s Department of Labor as a Legislative Officer in the Office of Congressional and Intergovernmental Affairs. In this role, she promoted the Administration’s labor policies and positions on Capitol Hill, advocating before members of Congress and their staffs on labor legislation and issues, including employment and job training matters, appropriations, and disabilities issues.

    Following the Bush administration, she moved to the American Bar Association (ABA) and served as Legislative Counsel in the Governmental Affairs Office. There, she advocated for ABA issues on the Hill, including regulation of the legal profession, banking and financial issues, and appropriations. She also directed the advocacy of the state bar association organizations on funding for legal aid at the ABA’s annual fly-in.

    Carmichael presided over a number of successful advocacy campaigns, including legislation that created parity for credit unions with respect to interest on lawyers’ trust accounts and amending the Dodd-Frank Act to provide full Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation protection to that same interest.

    She holds a B.S. in political science from Vanderbilt University and a J.D. from the Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law.