Today's Headlines

    NACCA/AFSA State Government Affairs & Legal Issues Forum

    The 19th NACCA/AFSA State Government Affairs and Legal Issues Forum is taking place this week in Seattle, Wash. An overview will appear in next week's edition of Newsbriefs.

    AFSA Leadership Development Program Registration Deadline Approaching

    The 2017 AFSA Leadership Development Program will be held July 15-22 at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The deadline for registration for this key professional development opportunity is June 12.

    The annual AFSA/UNC leadership is a six-day intensive program providing 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. 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 and experience change simulation. There is also an outdoor team building exercise.

    The program is taught by professors from UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School.

    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.

    Be sure to review the AFSA/UNC Leadership Development Program Brochure and visit the AFSAEF website to register

    FTC Conference Focuses on Identity Theft Issues

    AFSA Staff

    Yesterday, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) held an all-day conference focused solely on identity theft, the evolution of the crime, and the growing impact it is having on Americans and the economy.

    From the FTC’s description of the event:

    “The unauthorized disclosure of personal information can result in identity theft and other frauds. Data breaches, lost equipment, and insiders have made sensitive consumer information available for identity thieves to use in a variety of ways. Because consumers often reuse their usernames and passwords, identity thieves with access to this information may have access to additional consumer accounts. Identity thieves are using the information they obtain to perpetrate fraud against consumers, businesses and the government; obtain employment and medical care; and hide from law enforcement.”

    The conference began with opening remarks from John Krebs, Division of Privacy and Identity Protection from the FTC and Acting FTC Chair Maureen K. Ohlhausen. Both set the stage for the day and provided a look at “where we stand” in identifying, combatting, and recovering from identity theft.

    Keith Anderson with the Bureau of Economics at the FTC took a broad view at what the statistics tell us about identity theft. He noted that we often think of ID theft as purely financial in nature but this is incorrect. Nearly 35 percent of ID theft cases had no financial cost at all. Those that do have a financial cost, however, average about $300 and are heavily skewed because of the small fraction of cases, which have losses upwards of $2,000.

    Sean McCleskey, the Director of Organizational Education and Measurement with the Center for Identity at The University of Texas at Austin went over the various kinds of ID theft and how identity theft funds criminal enterprises like extortion, narcotics trafficking and smuggling. He also discussed common ways ID thieves steal information, including something as simple as stealing an outgoing letter out of a mailbox. He also gave an outline of what law enforcement and regular citizens can look for to spot ID thieves.

    Alana Benson, an Identity and Document Fraud Consultant, gave attendees a deeper dive of how IDs are stolen and the process that thieves go through to obtain new, fraudulent information.

    A panel, consisting of Danny Rogers, CEO, Terbium Labs; and Robert Hoback, Assistant to the Special Agent in Charge, Criminal Investigative Division, United States Secret Service; and moderated by Krebs, spoke in depth about the complex and ever-changing marketplace for fraudulent IDs. This included an overview of the “dark web,” a look at what thieves are doing with that data, and attempts by thieves to move to “cybercrime-as-a-service.” They also noted that medical records and educational services are increasingly the targets of attacks.

    Representatives from both the private sector and regulators contributed to a discussion of “The Impact of Identity Theft: The Big Picture.” Kenn Kern, Chief of Staff to the Investigative Division and Special Assistant for International Relations with the New York County District Attorney’s Office outlined what his office is doing to combat ID theft and how regulators and law enforcement professionals are working with private industry to cut down on fraud.

    The sessions after lunch focused on the aftermath of identity theft, including a moving presentation by Amy Wang, a victim. Nat Wood, Associate Director of the Division of Consumer and Business Education at the FTC then went over the various resources that the commission and other federal, state and local agencies have available for victims. He also outlined how consumers can detect and report ID theft.

    Thomas B. Pahl, Acting Director of the Bureau of Consumer Protection at the FTC delivered closing remarks, recapping the day and stressing the importance of stamping out identity theft for American’s peace of mind and the economy.

    More information about the conference, including presentation slides, are available at the FTC website.

    House Republicans to drop debit rule repeal

    Politico, Rachel Bade (May 24, 2017)

    After confirming on Wednesday that it threatened the overall passage of the Financial CHOICE Act, House Republican leaders have removed language that would eliminate a cap on debit card swipe fees, known as the Durbin Amendment. House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) plans to remove the provision via a manager’s amendment. He authored the bill, as well as its predecessor on which the current legislation is based.

    The Financial CHOICE Act would roll back and replace some portions of the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act.

    Chairman Hensarling acknowledged that the provision was controversial. “I’ve said before that repeal of the Durbin Amendment was the most contentious part of the bill among Republicans," Hensarling said in a statement Wednesday.

    "I believe it belongs in the Financial CHOICE Act, but I recognize and respect that many members of Congress feel differently. We won’t let this one provision hinder passage of an important priority bill that will end bank bailouts and help renew healthy economic growth for all Americans.”

    Senate Republican leaders have shown no interest in taking up the swipe fees, likely spelling the end of the fight over the issue. The House Financial Services Committee approved the CHOICE Act on May 4, and the bill is expected to move to the House floor in the next month.

    AFSAEF Collaborates with Several Federal Agencies

    AFSA Staff

    AFSA Education Foundation (AFSAEF) staff members recently began a series of outreach activities, including several to federal agencies in the Washington, DC area.  Executive Director, Rhonda Ashburn, attended the 2017 FDIC Economic Inclusion Summit in April.  The Summit, which included opening remarks from FDIC Chairman Martin J. Gruenberg, focused on strategies to bring consumers—of all income levels and ethnic groups—into the financial mainstream.  Topics included: Safe Banking Products, Economic Inclusion Partnerships, and Growing Customer Relationships, among others.

    Ashburn and David Casserly, Director MoneySKILL®, also met with staff from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Consumer & Business Education Division.  FTC staff included Colleen Tressler, Program Manager, and Jennifer M. Leach, Assistant Director, and other staff from the Financial Practices section of the agency.

    AFSAEF staff discussed MoneySKILL, AFSA Education Foundation’s online financial education curriculum and how adaptable it is for adult consumers, which has become more of a focus for both organizations; FTC staff reported on its recently released site. They also noted that the site contains a significant number of educational videos, brochures, and other tools that would be most helpful to MoneySKILL users.

    Finally, Ashburn met with Louisa Quittman, Director, Financial Security, US Department of the Treasury to gain additional information about and other possible ideas to address what is working and what is needed in financial education.  Ashburn also attended the Financial Literacy and Education Commission (FLEC) meeting at the Treasury Department.  Focus for that meeting was on the financial literacy results from the 2015 Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). 

    CFPB Has Its Day In Court (May 25, 2017)

    On May 24, the full 11-member panel of the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia heard oral arguments in PHH v. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). The panel – which consists of six judges appointed during Democratic administrations and five appointed during Republican – though admittedly divided, seemed to give the edge to the bureau.

    The case centers on the constitutionality of the bureau’s single director, currently Richard Cordray. The court’s ruling could have wide-ranging effects on Congress’ ability to hem in the bureau’s actions. The White House and Congress have both voiced their eagerness to rein in what they perceive as a government agency that wields too much power.

    Theodore Olson, counsel for PHH, made several arguments against the bureau’s structure, including the lack of other agencies with single director structures. Judge Brett Kavanaugh, who was appointed by President George W. Bush, authored a 2016 opinion that found the bureau unconstitutional and noted in Wednesday’s oral arguments that the current administration is bound by the “dead hand of the past president” when it comes to dealing with the CFPB.

    The judges, however, according to several sources, seemed inclined to lean toward the constitutionality of the bureau. Judge Patricia Millett, who was appointed by President Barack Obama, noted that the current structure actually makes the bureau more accountable to congress and the President.

    A decision in the case is not expected for several weeks.

    Battleground state voters favor CFPB commission, poll finds

    American Banker, Ian McKendry (May 22, 2017)

    A new poll conducted by three industry groups have shown that voters in the battleground states of Indiana, Maine, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, Ohio and West Virginia support the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), but would like to see changes to its structure.

    The poll, conducted from May 3 to May 16, found that 58 percent supported moving the bureau to a bipartisan commission. Only 11 percent said that the bureau should be eliminated. According to the poll, three in five voters think a commission would make the bureau fairer, more accountable, representative of consumer concerns, and transparent.

    To date, Democrats have been fiercely opposed to a commission structure for the bureau. Republican lawmakers have become more emboldened following November’s election. The House is expected to vote in the coming weeks on the Financial CHOICE Act, a bill drafted by House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX). The bill would roll back and alter various provisions of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act and, as currently drafted, remove many of the powers the bureau currently has.

    While the road ahead for the CHOICE Act is a difficult one, many believe that legislation shifting the CFPB to a commission structure could garner bipartisan support.