Today's Headlines

    AFSA Comments on the Bureau’s Adopted Regulations

    On June 19, AFSA submitted a comment letter to the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection in response to a request for information (RFI) regarding the Bureau’s adopted regulations and new rulemaking authorities. This is the eighth letter AFSA has submitted in a series of 12 RFIs asking for comments on enforcement, supervision, rulemaking, market monitoring, and education activities.

    In this RFI, the Bureau was looking for feedback on the rules it has issued since its creation. AFSA recommended that the Bureau: review and reconsider all its previous larger participant rules, revise the mortgage ability to repay rule and its qualified mortgage standards, simplify and modify the TILA-RESPA integrated disclosure rule, revise the mortgage servicing rules, and encourage the Department of Defense to revise it regulations implementing the Military Lending Act.

    AFSA wrote, “Revising these five regulations will improve the credit market for both consumers and financial institutions.”

    Nationwide radio campaign supports launch of MoneySKILL en Español

    The American Financial Services Education Foundation (AFSAEF) announced last week that its free online personal finance course, MoneySKILL®, is now available in Spanish, and concurrently launched a radio awareness campaign on Hispanic and English stations across the United States that reached a listenership of more than 2.5 million listeners.

    Tim Stanley, Board Chair of AFSAEF, was the spokesperson for English radio interviews while Jay Nazario, a consultant to the AFSAEF, was the spokesperson for the Hispanic interviews.

    Nazario appeared nationally on Spanish Broadcast Systems, Univision, Hispanic News and Radio Cadena Manatial Network. Stanley appeared on stations in New Jersey, North Carolina, Arizona and Florida.

    "The Hispanic population in the United States continues to grow and it’s important that we reach them with helpful financial literacy tools like MoneySKILL en Español," said Rhonda Ashburn, Executive Director of the AFSAEF.

    For many years, MoneySKILL has educated users on the basic understanding of money management fundamentals. In fact, over 850,000 users have benefitted from this comprehensive yet customizable program. The mobile friendly course includes the content areas of income, expenses, saving and investing, credit, and insurance. And, just recently, MoneySKILL added new content, in the area of vehicle financing, as well as recreated the data charts within the program.

    Educators interested in using MoneySKILL can register to access the curriculum at www.moneyskill.org or www.moneyskill.org/espanol. Parents, non-profit organizations and employers, as well as AFSA members are also encouraged to check out MoneySKILL in both Spanish and English.

    Annual conference addresses issues In the retail automotive channel

    Approximately 60 executives representing the leadership of the American Financial Services Association’s (AFSA) Vehicle Finance Division and the National Automobile Dealer Association’s (NADA) dealers and staff met this week in Washington, DC, to discuss ideas, issues and concerns for the U.S. automotive retail channel.

    Also joining the discussion were representatives of the National Association of Minority Dealers (NAMAD); the American International Automobile Association (AIADA) and the Arizona Automobile Association.

    On a survey of concerns among AFSA’s auto finance lenders, some of the biggest issues today are cybersecurity; fraud; handling of voluntary protection products; hiring, training and retaining employees; and strength of dealer relationships/dealer satisfaction.

    Larry Hund, AFSA Vehicle Finance Division Chair and President of Harley-Davidson Financial Services, Inc., noted that lenders are working hard to build reputations with their dealer customers.

    “We need to use Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning as ways for lenders to drive more efficiency into their operations by helping employees reach better decisions on underwriting, loss mitigation and collections,” Hund said.

    Other issues echoed by AFSA members for their particular companies ranged from the opportunity presented by block chain and AI, to state regulators and attorney generals filling the void created by a change in leadership at the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection, to rising interest rates.

    “Lenders and dealers are feeling the impact of rising rates on floor plan financing,” said Dale Jones, Executive Vice President Americas & Global Operations, Ford Credit. “But consumers need affordable financing.”

    Ross Williams, President & CEO of Hyundai Capital America, said there is opportunity for companies to align technology in the value chain of manufacturing, dealers and lenders to enable efficiencies that will help better serve customers.

    “Great employees in the future will be those who are knowledgeable and helpful to others to enable the use of technology across the entire enterprise,” he said.

    NADA presented a recent study it commissioned with Luntz Global which shows that consumers’ demand for owning vehicles remains strong across all demographics.

    The study responded to recent reports saying that the emergence of ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft, combined with the prospect of electric and autonomous vehicles will dramatically reduce the number of personally owned vehicles in the future.

    One of the key findings from the study shows that 89% of the respondents said they would rather continue owning a car versus 11% who said they would prefer using ride-hailing services as their primary source of personal transportation.

    Chris Stinebert, President & CEO of AFSA, noted that the first annual AFSA/NADA Executive Forum meeting was held in 2009 as the industry was gripped in a credit crunch and a global recession. The result led to the bankruptcies of General Motors and Chrysler and a shake-up of the auto finance industry.

    “Today we have a set of different issues to discuss, so it is important to keep this important dialogue going and to continue this important partnership,” he said.

    Kathleen Kraninger selected to be next BCFP Director

    President Donald Trump this week nominated Kathleen “Kathy” Kraninger as the new Director of the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection (BCFP).

    Once confirmed by the Senate, Kraninger will replace the Bureau’s Acting Director Mick Mulvaney, who also serves as the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Trump named Mulvaney as Acting Director of the Bureau last November when former Director Richard Cordray stepped down to run for Governor of Ohio.

    “We think Ms. Kraninger is an excellent choice to lead the Bureau and to continue Mr. Mulvaney’s pragmatic approach to ensuring consumers benefit from safe, affordable products provided by the consumer credit industry,” said Chris Stinebert, President and CEO of the American Financial Services Association.

    Kraninger currently serves as the OMB’s Associate Director for General Government, where she oversees the budget development and execution for a number of executive branch agencies, including the Departments of Commerce, Treasury, and Housing and Urban Development, among others.

     Kraninger’s background includes the executive branch posts of Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy at the Department of Homeland Security and Advisor to the Secretary for Policy and Assistant Director of Legislative Affairs at the Department of Transportation.

    Kraninger has also held professional staff positions on Capitol Hill with both the Senate and House Appropriations Subcommittees on Homeland Security as well as the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.

    To ensure a smooth transition process, Mulvaney will continue in the role of Acting Director until Kraninger is confirmed.