Lending Group Campaign Helps Members Advocate for Industry
The American Financial Services Association has created a digital campaign to help members and their customers advocate in the face of new proposed legislation.
In response to a proposed rule by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the American Financial Services Association launched a campaign to promote the importance of traditional installment lending.
The #OurLoansWork campaign is an extension of a pre-existing AFSA website that has been reworked to not only provide education resources on traditional installment loans but also allow member companies to advocate on behalf of the industry—namely against the CFPB proposal that would impose stricter, “mortgage-like application processes” on small money lenders to combat predatory lenders.
“We don’t really want to have a lot of federal overreach into our business that’s meant for the payday and title-loan industries,” VP of Communications Jack Ferry said. “So we’re trying to create a website that’s transparent, creates awareness, and has education components on it for our members and their customers, and for anyone else looking at the site, so they get a better idea of what traditional installment lending is all about.”
Originally dedicated to education, the site explains what traditional installment loans are: “a fixed-rate, fully-amortizing small-dollar loan repaid in equal monthly payments.” AFSA members include the businesses that manage this type of small loan, which average $1500 with $120 monthly payments over 15 months.
“We want to protect our members’ businesses and their operations, so that they’re not driven out of business by overregulation and worried if they’re doing something that’s wrong,” Ferry said.
The site also helps people directly contact and petition their congressional representatives and invites members and customers to share their positive stories and testimonials of taking out small loans, which they can either do through the website or by using the hashtag on social media.
“Because these people, the customers and the branches, are built in the community, we also want to reinforce that by promoting this whole digital community with the hashtag, sharing your stories, sharing your experiences,” said James Hong, website and social media manager. “Just reinforcing the fact that these loans do work, and they are efficient, and they are very beneficial to millions of Americans across the country.”
Many branches that work in traditional installment loans only have a few employees working in a store front or shopping center, Ferry said, which means they don’t have the bandwidth to do their own communications or advocacy work. This campaign offers AFSA the chance to provide members with an avenue to make their voices heard in addition to the organization’s advocating on Capitol Hill.
“The #OurLoansWork campaign is AFSA’s latest effort to ensure that federal regulators, Congress, and consumers are fully aware of the important value that traditional installment loans provide to the American consumer and the U.S. economy,” Executive Vice President Bill Himpler said in a statement. “We encourage everyone to visit the website, explore the resources, and learn about traditional installment lending.”