Today's Headlines

    Acting Comptroller of the Currency Backs Innovation (Again)

    The OCC’s Acting Comptroller of the Currency, Keith Noreika, addressed innovation and the OCC Fintech Charter at Georgetown University's Fintech Week last week.

    Noreika has been addressing innovation frequently in a series of public remarks over the past few months. In his remarks, Noreika spoke of his excitement and support of the evolution of the banking industry and its push towards technology. He believes that it is a natural step, and it reflects the revolutionary changes of the banking system in the U.S. such as the introduction of a national currency.

    Noreika also mentioned the OCC’s Office of Innovation, and its work communicating and creating a path of open dialogue with fintech companies and community banks. Noreika also stated that the office is developing a framework for OCC participation in bank-run pilots. The pilots will allow banks to create fintech products that they will be able to test in a controlled environment. The pilot program resembles a “sandbox,” a common term used in the fintech space when a government provides an area for companies to test new fintech products.

    Towards the end of his remarks, Noreika offered an update on whether the OCC plans to extend national bank charters to fintech companies. Noreika said: “If, and it is still an if, a fintech company has ambitions to engage in business on a national scale and meets the criteria for doing so, it should be free to seek a national bank charter. That includes pursuing a charter under the agency’s authority to charter special purpose national banks or the agency’s long-existing authority to charter full-service national banks and federal saving associations, as well as other long-established limited-purpose banks, such as trust banks, bankers’ banks, and other so-called CEBA credit card banks.” This statement continues Noreika’s narrative from previous remarks, where he has continually defended innovation in the financial services sphere.

    A New AFSA Conference You Won't Want to Miss

    With an already impressive lineup, AFSA's first Law & Compliance Symposium speaker list continues to grow! The Symposium will take place January 29-31,2018 in San Diego and will give AFSA members an opportunity to attend in-person committee meetings and panels that will focus more specifically on compliance-related issues than previous AFSA meetings.

    Through speakers and committee meetings, the Symposium will help members meet compliance challenges head on by providing insights and guidance on critical federal and state compliance issues for the financial services industry. The symposium is geared toward companies of all sizes, from large, publicly traded companies, to small, privately owned businesses. The meeting will focus on compliance for: direct and indirect auto finance, traditional installment loans, payment cards, and mortgage loans.

    The conference will also include compliance speedsmarts, where industry experts will holding open discussion at roundtables, as well as panels on debt collection, credit reporting, and litigation considerations. AFSA University Users should also be on the lookout for a new and exciting announcement at the conference.

    Visit the Symposium website and register today!

    How to Win in 2018: New Loan Servicing Strategies

    Each year, you must up your game. Customers are raising their expectations for how they want to do business with you. Lenders have big plans to respond. 94% are rolling out new loan servicing experiences. Loan servicing executives will drive change by: 

    1. Decreasing risk with collateral protection 

    2. Raising collector payments by 50% 

    3. Closing gap with customer demands 

    Bruce Newmark, COO of United Auto Credit, in collaboration with Shaw Systems and ACI Worldwide will discuss the new imperatives for loan servicing on November 2 in the upcoming webinar, How to Win in 2018: New Loan Servicing Strategies. Read more here

    This webinar is part of the AFSA Business Partner Webinar series. The webinars are designed to provide information that will allow AFSA members to more effectively design, develop and implement strategies for their companies 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

    Ellison, Smith, Stuart Honored with 2017 AFSA Distinguished Service Award

    In a conference that featured expertise and insight from Washington’s political experts, The American Financial Services Association (AFSA) recognized the leadership and contributions to the association of three executives of member companies.

    Rex Ellison, Scarlett Smith, and Andrew Stuart were honored with the 2017 AFSA Distinguished Service Award (DSA) during AFSA’s 101st Annual Meeting this week in Washington, D.C. The association’s highest honor, the DSA is given to individuals who have contributed significantly to the industry and the association’s growth on a national level, advanced its mission and objectives, and elevated its image.

    Rex Ellison

    Rex Ellison, President & CEO of Republic Finance, has been an active member of AFSA for many years. A strong supporter of the AFSAPAC, Ellison started an Employee AFSAPAC program at Republic Finance. In 2008, he served as the AFSAPAC Chair during the 25th Anniversary Independents Conference in Arizona. Two years later, Ellison served as the 2010 Independent’s Section Chair. Ellison also serves on the AFSA Education Foundation Board, The EDGE Advisory Board, Operations Committee, State Government Affairs Committee and the State Traditional Installment Lending Subcommittee. Ellison is also is the current President of the Mississippi Consumer Finance Association and President Elect of the Louisiana Finance Association.

    Scarlett Smith

    Scarlett Smith, Vice President of Sales at FIS, for the past three years has served as Chair of the AFSA Business Partner Board and is a member of the AFSA Board of Directors. As the sponsor of the keynote speaker for the AFSA Vehicle Finance Conference, Smith also serves on the Vehicle Finance Conference Planning Committee. Smith is a founding member of the Women’s Leadership Council and serves on the Operations & Regulatory Compliance Committee and the Business Partner Resource Group. She was instrumental in the establishment of AFSA University that provides critical compliance training courses to member companies. The curriculum of 260 modules is powered by FIS.

    Andrew Stuart

    Andrew Stuart, President & CEO of TD Bank Group’s TD Auto Finance since 2014, joined AFSA in 2008 while he was with Volkswagen Group as Executive Vice President and CFO of VW Credit. It was during this time that Stuart became actively involved in AFSA and went on to serve as Vehicle Finance Division Chairman 2012-2014. He co-chaired AFSA’s annual summer conference with the leadership of the National Automobile Dealers Association, called the AFSA/NADA Forum. In 2014, he chaired a successful AFSA Vehicle Finance Division Conference in New Orleans. When the Consumer Financial Protection Agency (CFPB) issued a bulletin taking aim at fair lending practices, Stuart’s leadership and recommendation to the AFSA Board led to the commission of a comprehensive study of automotive lending practices conducted by Charles River Associations. He served as Chairman of AFSA 2014-2015 and continues to serve on AFSA’s Executive Committee, Board of Directors and Vehicle Finance Board.

    Herring named AFSA Chair of the Board

    Ginger Herring, President of 1st Franklin Financial Corp., was elected Chair of the American Financial Services Association (AFSA) at the association’s 101st Annual Meeting this week in Washington, D.C.

    During her one-year term, Herring will preside over the AFSA Board and Executive Committee meetings, serve as an ex-officio member of all AFSA committees, and represent AFSA at industry and association-sponsored conferences and meetings.

    She has served as President of 1st Franklin Financial Corporation since 2001. She is also the owner of The Learning Tree Academy, a pre-school and after school child care center.

    Herring has served on AFSA’s Independents Section Advisory Board since 2006, and is the current chair. She also serves on the board of the AFSA Education Foundation and Stephens County High School Work-Based Learning Committee, and as chair of the Northeast Georgia CASA.

    Additionally, she is a member of the Young Presidents Organization and serves the Disadvantaged Kids Network. Previously, she served on AFSA’s Professional Development Committee and NICCM Board of Governors.

    Ginger holds a Bachelor of Science from the University of Georgia and is an active member of First United Methodist church of Toccoa, Ga.

    Senate Vote on Arbitration Takes Place During AFSA Annual Meeting

    In the middle of the just-concluded AFSA 101st Annual Meeting in Washington DC, the Senate voted 51-50 against the CFPB’s anti-arbitration rule in a late night session Tuesday evening.

    Earlier on Tuesday, Richard Cordray, Director of the CFPB, addressed the AFSA conference as an after-lunch speaker. The following morning, Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, whose CHOICE Act seeks to rein in the unchecked power of the CFPB, was headline speaker at the conference breakfast.

    “We’re pleased to see the Senate has chosen to side with consumers instead of trial attorneys when it comes to arbitration,” said Chris Stinebert, President and CEO of the American Financial Services Association, which represents traditional installment lenders. “Class action lawsuits take years to be heard, clog the courts, and result in comparatively small payouts for consumers. By contrast, disputes settled by arbitration result in quick decisions and pay-outs for consumers that average higher than class action settlements.”

    Arbitration is already governed by the Federal Arbitration Act and has been approved by the Supreme Court which recognizes that is a fair and effective mode of settling dispute between borrowers and creditors.

    To bolster its case against this rule, AFSA and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce were part of a coalition of 18 trade associations that filed a suit in Federal District Court in Dallas last month seeking a judgment invalidating the CFPB’s anti-arbitration rule on constitutional and statutory grounds.

    Among other arguments in the lawsuit, the coalition argued that the CFPB rule would inflict significant harm on consumers and businesses by prohibiting speedy and efficient dispute resolution and eliminate vindicating claims they could not reasonably assert in court, including small and individualized claims, which are not addressed by class action claims. 

    AFSA has always maintained that the Bureau's rule does not meet the standard in the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, which says that any arbitration rule must be in the public interest and must be for the protection of consumers.

    The Bureau has not proven that this prohibition is in the public interest. In fact, quite the opposite is true. Numerous research studies show that pre-dispute arbitration is actually more beneficial to consumers than are class-action lawsuits. In fact, the CFPB’s own internal research of pre-dispute arbitration outcomes show that they serve as a positive form of remuneration, particularly when compared to class-action lawsuits.