Our team just got back from the 2016 CFSA conference in Nassau, Bahamas (I know, really rough location this year), and we came away with some great advice and news about our industry. I saw three main takeaways as we left the conference that we wanted to share with you:

1. The goal of the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB) is to protect consumers.  The question really is “are consumers really being harmed?” Some independent studies that have been done outside of the CFPB research have proven that the sample customer group evaluated was skewed and there has been some independent research that proves the CFPB didn’t have all of the facts needed for this research.  One study which was conducted at Kennesaw State University by Jennifer Lewis Priestley, titled Payday Loan Rollovers and Consumer Welfare (You can view the study here). It’s interesting how a different perspective can cast an entirely different light on consumer lenders.

2. Without any ruling yet on short-term loans from the CFPB, there was a review of the type of loan structures that could be considered to remain nimble as a company:

  • Flex Loan/Installment Lending
  • Employer Model
  • Bank Model
  • Retail Installment Sales
  • Rent to Own
  • Credit Union
  • B2B Merchant Cash
  • Pawn-service oriented
  • Tax Refund Credit
  • Endorsement Company Model

3. Allan Jones (Jones Management) was the keynote speaker for the conference. He founded Check into Cash because he has employees that were asking for advances on their paychecks because the timing for their employment checks and their bills were not working out well for them. So Allan Jones started giving loans to his family and friends and then it grew into a business.  He was serving a need that was real in the market!  The timing of Allan’s keynote speech was spot on.  He told of the many challenges he had in starting and growing his businesses.  His message was inspiring to those that worry that the end is near for this industry.  With CFSA guidance and support, the current challenges will be met and overcome.

We met some great people and saw some old friends. Although there are obstacles to overcome, the consumer finance industry is a thriving community, and we are already looking forward to CFSA 2017!