October 11, 2016

ALA Members and Friends:

I thought we had a great Committee Day Meeting last week. It’s always good to get together to discuss the status of the industry. I appreciate our new Secretary Shane Turner’s quick turn-around on the minutes and will be happy to share a copy with any member who may have missed. (Susan Rochester did the same thing for many years!)

We had a serious discussion about our finances and it was very enlightening. I am convinced that we need to expand our membership if we want to be in the position of continuing to provide good and timely information to our Association’s members. To this end, I want to repeat Mike Whitaker’s invitation to let the Membership Committee know of any prospects for both regular Members and Associate Members. We also discussed changing our name to the “Alabama Installment Lenders Association.” Several of us are working on that now to make it happen.

Please note that our next Association meeting will be our Meeting and Legislative Reception in Montgomery on February 21st, 2017.

I also want to report that Kevin Gardner, Mike Whitaker and I went to Montgomery for the inaugural Governor’s Task Force on Consumer Credit, immediately following the Committee Day Meeting. The Task Force Meeting held in the Old Capitol Building was a good beginning. Rep. David Faulkner is the Chair and he is relying heavily on Banking Department Supervisor Scott Corscadden and Associate Counsel Anne Gunter. The Task Force is composed of legislators, regulators, consumer advocates, industry representatives and academics. It is the first time in my career that I’ve sat in a room with all of the “stakeholders” represented. It really was a good start. Chairman Faulkner wants to focus first on Title Pledge. I think that he reasons that we may be able to secure general agreement on the need to break-out title pledge from the Alabama Pawn Shop Act, and lower its rate. We’ll see.

Then, he intends to move on to Payday. The traditional installment lenders on the Panel were very clear in differentiating installment lending from title pledge and payday. While some of the more strident consumer advocates don’t want to see a difference (and the payday industry wants to “blend-in”), I think that the majority of the Task Force noted and understands the distinction. This bodes well if the Task Force is going to succeed in modifying the Deferred Presentment Services Act.

I will keep you advised of our progress. Meanwhile, please let me know if you have any questions. Thanks for your support of the Association.


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