Today's Headlines

    Taking Action - AFSA's 101st Annual Meeting

    AFSA Staff

    For the past 100 years, the American Financial Services Association (AFSA) has worked in Washington, DC and in state capitals around the nation to advocate for legislation and regulations protecting access to safe, responsible consumer credit. Last year, we celebrated our centennial and as an industry, reaffirmed our commitment to ensuring that the American consumer always has quality credit options in their financial toolbox.

    Now, as we mark our 101st year, we are not only ensuring the protection of consumer credit, but working to actively expand access to credit options like traditional installment loans, vehicle finance mortgages and credit cards that are the lifeblood of the American economy. That is what our 101st Annual Meeting is all about.

    AFSA’s 101st Annual Meeting, this year in Washington, D.C. October 23-25, encourages our attendees to “Join the Action.” Our mission remains the same, but the political landscape has completely changed. For the first time in many years, both Congress and the Administration understand and see the important role that AFSA member companies play in communities across America. AFSA is working to harness that understanding and use it to help expand access to safe, affordable credit.

    The Annual Meeting’s sessions, working groups and committee meetings are all are focused on taking action on this expansion. AFSA’s Law Committee will meet to discuss key issues that members face, including the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s arbitration rule and regulations of small dollar loans. AFSA’s Executive Committee, as well as the various boards, will meet to blaze a path forward in AFSA’s 101st year.

    AFSA staff presentations will provide attendees with an idea of what the playing field looks like in the coming year. AFSA EVP Bill Himpler will provide a thorough overview of what AFSA is doing on member’s behalf in Washington. Danielle Fagre Arlowe, SVP, and her panel will take a look at the thorny issues presented by the disparate issues at the state level across the country and do a deep dive on the association’s strategy.

    Presentations from two different members of Congress will give attendees solid insight into the political climate in Washington and a candid assessment of what can be achieved legislatively. We’ll also hear from a variety of subject matter experts, including Thomas Goldstein of SCOTUSblog on the Supreme Court, and Steve Moore of the Heritage Foundation on the economy.

    Attendees will put all that knowledge to work on Wednesday afternoon when AFSA members bring their message and stories straight to their representatives on Capitol Hill. In recent visits to the Hill, AFSA members have shared heartstring-tugging stories about the great power that consumer credit products have to help people make their lives better. Attendees will again bring those stories to the halls of Congress, to advocate for their customers and members of their communities.

    The AFSA Annual Meeting provides a timely opportunity to review the previous year and plan ahead for the next. As we celebrate our 101st year of taking action, we hope you can join us to pave the path forward and to continue the important work of protecting – and more importantly, expanding – access to credit.


    For more information, an updated schedule of events and speakers, and to register for the 101st AFSA Annual Meeting, visit annual.afsaonline.org

    Wal-Mart Nears Pilot Deal to Offer Customers Installment Loans

    Wall Street Journal, Anna Maria Andriotis (August 22, 2017)

    According to sources close to the negotiations, Wal-Mart and upstart financing firm Affirm Inc. are close to a deal that would see Affirm offer bring installment loans in the Arkansas-based retailer’s stores as soon as this fall. Operating as a pilot program to start, the financing would be geared to higher priced Wal-Mart items over $200, such as tires.

    The installment loans are designed to compete with the retailer’s credit card offering from Synchrony Financial. Affirm would not issue cards, but instead would offer closed-end credit products with defined pay off dates. Rates typically run between 10 & 30 percent and average loan sizes are $750.

    Americans are taking on more debt following the 2009 financial crisis. Brick and mortar stores are feeling the pinch from online retailers and are seeking to expand their customers’ access to financing as a way to bring them into store. Wal-Mart, however, has so far bucked this trend, seeing a 12-quarter rise in sales.

    Stores rely on card issuers to approve customers and bring them into the location. Synchrony and other card issuers are using new, innovative technology to parse data, adjust underwriting algorithms to model consumer behavior, and approve borrowers that are more qualified.

    Other companies have also turned to Affirm for installment-style financing, including home-goods retailer Wayfair, Expedia and Motorola Mobility.

    OCC seeks dismissal of New York fintech charter challenge

    Wall Street Journal, Lalita Clozel (August 23, 2017)

    The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) has filed a motion to dismiss a challenge to its fintech charter brought by the New York Department of Financial Services (NYDFS). In the brief submitted on Friday, the agency argued that NYDFS does not have standing to oppose the charter in court.

    “DFS lacks standing because OCC’s [fintech charter initiative] has resulted in no-injury-in-fact,” the document said. "OCC has not reached a final decision on whether it will offer the specific type of national bank charter that is being challenged. OCC’s authoritative interpretation of the ambiguous statutory term ‘the business of banking’ is therefore entitled to deference under the Chevron framework,” the agency said.

    Keith Noreika, Comptroller of the OCC, said the agency is “developing its litigation response and plans to defend this authority vigorously.”

    The OCC also was sued in April by the Conference of State Banking Supervisors over claims that it does not have the authority to issue the charter. The agency has moved to dismiss the suit.

    Looking at Lending Landing Pages at Next Week’s Webinar

    AFSA Staff

    You’re running out of time to register for the“Five can't fail landing page strategies for lenders” webinar! Presented by SourceLink, the presentation will be held on Wednesday, August 30 at 2 p.m. Eastern.

    This webinar will explore the role website landing pages have in the current lending landscape, and how simple online applications can be greatly enhanced by using testing strategies with landing pages. The presentation will look closely at how lenders who are using landing pages are seeing increased revenues, and explores the following topics:

    • Responsive Design for Mobile Success
    • Social Proof (testimonials, reviews, etc.)
    • Channel specific pages (keeping Landing Page message consistent with the ad message)
    • Less is More (cognitive overload)
    • Testing, Testing, Testing...

    This presentation is part of AFSA's Business Partner Webinar series, which allows industry experts to share timely, educational topics directly with AFSA members. The webinars are designed to provide information that will allow AFSA members to more effectively design, develop and implement strategies for their company's success. Past recordings and a list of other upcoming webinars can be found in the AFSA Webinar Resource Center. For more information, contact Dan Bucherer, Communications Manager, at dbucherer@afsamail.org.

    FTC Military Lending Workshop Video Now Available

    AFSA Staff

    On July 19, AFSA EVP Bill Himpler spoke at the 2017 Military Consumer Financial Workshop: Protecting Those Who Protect Our Nation, hosted by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on July 19 in San Antonio, Texas. The workshop was a discussion of financial issues and scams that can affect military consumers, including active duty servicemembers in all branches and all veterans.

    Himpler participated in two panels. The first, Military Consumers’ Experience in Other Lending, focused on servicemember’s knowledge and encounters with a number of different loan products.  The second panel was Legal Rights and Remedies for Military Consumers. 

    Video of the two panels, as well as the other sessions held at the workshop, are now available on the FTC’s website.

    AFSAEF’s Casserly Retires

    AFSA Staff

    David Casserly, the AFSA Education Foundation [AFSAEF] Director of MoneySKILL®, after more than 20 years in the financial literacy arena, has decided to retire. Overall, his career has been varied but focused in large part on communications. He always excelled as a writer-editor, and it is there that he found the greatest satisfaction.

    Casserly worked in a variety of positions with a number of companies in a career marked by commitment to financial literacy and education. Along the way, he worked in corporate communications for the National Association of Securities Dealers, now known as FINRA, and as speechwriter for Chairman of the Board Frank Zarb.

    He spent time with a number of not-for-profit organizations, including the United Way. In 2002, he started with the Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy, where he worked in every aspect of the organization, from writing to organizing events.

    In 2007, Casserly began making MoneySKILL presentations to teacher groups for AFSAEF. When he retired from Jump$tart, was asked to join AFSAEF to help market the financial literacy program. In his time with AFSA, he began a newsletter for teachers and AFSA members, opened new social media outlets for MoneySKILL and assisted in the development of a new website for the foundation and the creation of a new strategic plan.