Today's Headlines

    Registration Open for AFSAEF Leadership Program

    Registration is now open for the American Financial Services Association Education Foundation Leadership Development Program held at the University of North Carolina from July 15-22, 2017.

    The AFSA/UNC leadership 6-day intensive program provides an opportunity to invest in the development of your organization's future leaders. With challenging case studies and lively discussions, role-playing, and team building exercises, your employees will hone their leadership, strategic thinking and performance skills and "think outside the box." This fast-paced program allows participants to immerse themselves in innovative principles of management and leadership through class discussions, case analyses, ethics, professional presentations, negotiations, experience change simulation, and the outdoor team building exercise. Always a highlight of this program is the power of networking with new acquaintances - the future leaders of our industry.

    Program highlights include:

    • Learning the responsibilities of leadership, articulating and communicating your company's vision passion and urgency;
    • Creating a plan for strategic change and receiving immediate feedback on employee buy-in in the context of a challenging computer simulation;
    • Developing an ethical "rule of thumb" for making business decisions quickly and effectively;
    • Mastering critical negotiation skills including principled, interest based and win-win negotiation;
    • Building confidence in the ability to make dynamic and persuasive presentations;
    • Analyzing strategic decision-making in the context of two cases in the financial service industry;
    • Experiencing first-hand the dynamics of building trust, collaborating and creating an effective team.

    The 2017 brochure contains a wealth of information about the program. Registration is available on the AFSAEF website.

    Registration for the 34th Independents Conference and Expo is now open

    The conference will take place April 18-21 at the Encore at the Wynn in Las Vegas.

    Developed by the AFSA Section on Independent Operations, this is the main event for independent consumer and sales finance companies, including traditional installment lenders providing personal loans and subprime auto finance companies that purchase contracts from independent and franchise auto dealers. These companies range from single office consumer finance companies to mid-size and large regional national companies.

    You can get more information about the conference and register directly via AFSA's redesigned Independents Conference & Expo website.

    Pence adviser: Some parts of Dodd-Frank may survive scrutiny

    PoliticoPRO, Victoria Guida (March 7, 2017)

    Vice President Mike Pence’s chief economist Mark Calabria noted in remarks on Tuesday that the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act will likely see some of its regulations removed, but could see some of them strengthened as well.

    “We may well walk away and say there are provisions that make a lot of sense,” he said. “We may walk away and say there are provisions that need to be strengthened, but I think we’re most likely to say this [part] needs to go away.”

    He noted that any official discussion of the report would have to wait until June when their work is due to President Trump.

    Calabria admitted that financial regulatory reform was behind other items on the agenda, but he also cited the goal of empowering Americans to make their own, informed financial choices. “Too often, bureaucrats have tried to limit consumer choice,” he said.

    Justice might challenge CFPB's constitutionality

    PoliticoPRO, Lorraine Woellert (March 7, 2017)

    The Justice Department might weigh in on a legal case that could determine the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s constitutionality.

    The U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington gave the Justice Department permission to file a brief in the case, PHH v. CFPB, noting that the president’s thinking on the legal issues might differ from that of the consumer bureau, which is run by an independent director, Richard Cordray.

    Justice requested permission to file a brief by March 17, a week after friend-of-the-court briefs supporting PHH are due, but well ahead of a deadline to file arguments defending the CFPB.

     “The views of the United States on matters involving the President’s removal power are not always entirely congruent with the views of independent agencies,” the court wrote.

    The appeals court last month granted the bureau’s request to rehear the case, in which a three-judge panel of the same court earlier granted the White House authority to remove the CFPB’s independent director, Richard Cordray, for any reason. That ruling, in October, exposed the bureau to a hostile, Republican-led Congress and a Trump White House looking to dismantle the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act that created the bureau.

    AFSA Takes Vehicle Finance Message to the Motor City

    AFSA Staff

    Yesterday, the American Financial Service Association (AFSA) traveled to Detroit, Mich. to discuss the important role vehicle financing continues to play in the American economy.

    AFSA President & CEO Chris Stinebert spoke with a variety of media outlets about a number of topics, ranging from a renewed focus on balancing regulation with credit access to the importance of keeping a close eye on loan term length.

    Stinebert met with journalists from Automotive News, Bloomberg, and Ward’s Dealer Business.  

    DEREGULATION
    A recurring question asked by journalists centered on the new Congress and Administration: Given the new political landscape, what did AFSA expect?

    Stinebert assured them that the industry is and will continue to work with both houses of Congress and the new Administration, and expects to see a renewed emphasis on regulatory balance. While regulations that protect consumers are important, the election showed that consumers want a balance struck between appropriate protections and access to credit products and services.  The Trump administration has emphasized the important role that credit will play in expanding the economy.

    AUTO LENDING BUBBLE
    Stinebert categorically refuted the existence of a bubble forming around subprime auto lending akin to the mortgage financial crisis that nearly collapsed the economy in 2008. He cited the cyclical nature of auto financing which has experienced many ups and downs since GMAC was formed in 1919.  More importantly, he noted recent independent research conducted by the three main credit bureaus, which was presented at AFSA’s Vehicle Finance Conference in January.

    “While it’s true the delinquencies are increasing, so too is the total volume of loans,” Stinebert noted. “It is not appropriate to simply look at one statistic or number as opposed to the entire picture.”

    LENGTH OF TERM
    Journalists also expressed some concern about loan terms extending to 72 and even 84 months. Stinebert noted that finance sources and dealers agree – the industry would prefer shorter terms but that customers and their strong focus on the monthly payment are driving the extended terms.  Lenders closely monitor their portfolios for the potential correlation between term and performance.   

    “However, consumers need cars & trucks,” Stinebert explained. “Dealers and finance sources are going to do everything they can to make that monthly payment affordable to the consumer. Often, the last method of doing that (after discounting the vehicle as much as possible) is to extend the term.” 

    AFSA’s visit closed with Stinebert’s appearance on Autoline This Week, a PBS show, which airs in 20 markets. Host John McElroy and guests Joe White (Reuters) and Steve Finlay (Ward’s) discussed the above topics in-depth.

    The show will air on April 6 in participating markets and will also appear on the Autoline website.

    AFSA Joins Sister Trades in Two Support Letters

    AFSA Staff

    On March 8, AFSA joined its sister trades in submitting two comment letters supporting H.R. 985, the Fairness in Class Action Litigation Act of 2017 (FICALA). Both letters mention the potential impact FICALA would have on the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA).

    The first letter was submitted to Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR), chair of the House Energy and Commerce, Committee and Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ), the ranking member of the committee. The second was submitted to the entire House of Representatives.

    Both letters note that FICALA would help address problematic TCPA litigation in several ways. H.R. 985 would ensure class members can be identified and plaintiffs’ lawyers would have to demonstrate payment was actually delivered to a substantial majority of the class. Additionally, FICALA would help courts and eliminate the problems with overbroad classes that include persons who sustained injuries different from the representative plaintiff by establishing a consistent “type and scope of injury” rule for class membership.

    Both letters closed by asking for all concerned to support H.R. 985, which would help restore the necessary balance to the judicial system in general and TCPA litigation specifically.