American Financial Services Association - Four Things to Know About COVID-19 & the Consumer Credit Industry
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Four Things to Know About COVID-19 & the Consumer Credit Industry

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The news cycle continues to turn and with it comes more information about the coronavirus. Consumer finance companies, like ordinary Americans, are drinking from the firehose, trying to sift through what they need to know now to continue serving customers and helping employees. We’ve tried to distill the information flow down to the top four things you need to know.

Seeking SBA Clarity

The Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) has helped countless businesses nationwide stay open and pay their employees. While the language is the CARES Act setting up the PPP is clear – any legitimate business with 500 or fewer employees is eligible – the SBA’s rules have been less clear and unfortunately do not explicitly permit many traditional installment lenders to take advantage of the program. The SBA should conform its rules to the language in the statute. Also, it’s been reported that the money for the program has been depleted. Congress should reauthorize funds as soon as possible so that more business can help their employees.

State Laws Vary

The United States is made up of 50 distinct states and the District of Columbia, all with distinct laws. This diversity is a strength and in times of crisis like this something of a detriment. The American Financial Services Association has been working tirelessly with states to ensure that access to credit is maintained. AFSA has compiled a number of tracking charts to help members navigate this uncertain environment. You can find them here.

Safety & Security

The federal government has classified AFSA members as essential. This is positive for consumers, who can access the credit they need via loans and access to vehicle financing. It does, however, create a challenging working environment for members, who must ensure the safety of their employees. AFSA members have and should take all reasonable precautions to do so, including remote work, social distancing requirements and flex schedules. AFSA webinars and podcasts, as well as the blog, continue to provide best practices for AFSA members.

Consumer Credit is Crucial

Nationwide and in Washington, the vast majority of regulators, policymakers and consumers recognize and understand the important role consumer credit plays during this crisis. AFSA has worked closely with members of the Administration and Congress to ensure credit continues to flow. State regulators have sought out AFSA and its members for information and assistance as they attempt to help their constituents. AFSA is the only trade association, to the best of our knowledge, to work directly with the state of New York, as officials there try to balance consumer protection with credit access.

The overwhelming majority of officials have thanked AFSA members for their work and assistance helping consumers and expressed their belief that the role of consumer credit in the lives of their citizens is critical.

Four Things to Know About COVID-19 & the Consumer Credit Industry
Apr 20, 2020

The news cycle continues to turn and with it comes more information about the coronavirus. Consumer finance companies, like ordinary Americans, are drinking from the firehose, trying to sift through what they need to know now to continue … Read the rest

AFSA White Paper Details COVID State Policy Responses
Apr 17, 2020

The American Financial Services Association State Government Affairs (SGA) team yesterday published a COVID-19 state policy update white paper, the first of two covering state responses to the coronavirus outbreak.

The white paper provides… Read the rest

Get the Download on PPP & Employee Considerations on the Extra Credit Podcast
Apr 17, 2020

The next two episodes of the AFSA Extra Credit Podcast are a bit different. We talk with attorneys from Troutman Sanders about the impact coronavirus is having on the consumer credit industry. Throughout the conversation, our guests highlight… Read the rest

Himpler: SBA Can Do Right by Businesses & Consumers
Apr 16, 2020

American Financial Services Association President and CEO Bill Himpler posted the following related to the current status of federal COVID-19 response lending policies.

Across the country, member companies of the American Financial … Read the rest

AFSA Submits Comments on Federal Reserve Funding Facilities
Apr 16, 2020

The American Financial Services Association has been in ongoing contact with officials at the White House, Federal Reserve, Treasury, the Small Business Administration, as well as Congress, regarding the various funding programs for … Read the rest

LISTEN | Paycheck Protection Program & Employee Considerations on the AFSA Extra Credit Podcast
Apr 13, 2020

The next two episodes of the AFSA Extra Credit Podcast are a bit different. We’ll be talking with attorneys from Troutman Sanders about the impact the coronavirus is having on the consumer credit industry. Throughout the conversation,… Read the rest

Bursting the “Bubble” Myth
Apr 10, 2020

In times of economic uncertainty it is not a surprise that any number of economic prognosticators are out there opining and crystal-ball gazing, whether those views are based on facts or not.

One example of this is the myth of a “bubble”… Read the rest

GM Financial Offers Resources to Help Consumers, Communities
Apr 09, 2020

GM Financial has launched a variety of asisstance options for its auto finance consumers. The company is waiving all late fees from March 1 through April 30 and is offering lease end assistance. Learn more at GM's coronavirus pageRead the rest

SheppardMullin Offers COVID-19 Insights for Consumer Finance Community
Apr 07, 2020

SheppardMullin has established a comprehensive collection of resources for the consumer finance industry and other interested parties. The page contains a multitude of documents, updates and guidance at the national, state and local … Read the rest

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