Back from OLA Spring Summit

Here are our major takeaways from last week’s OLA conference in Washington, D.C.

We're back from Capitol Hill with news to share. At OLA Spring Summit last week, over 100 leaders from the financial industry met with legislators and discussed the CFPB's upcoming short-term loan regulations. We learned a lot, and we also feel like our voice was heard.

Major Themes at OLA Spring Summit

Our VP of Client Relations, Sherri Burnett, explained why it was important for us to go to OLA Spring Summit. She said, “It is always a must to keep up on the most up-to-date news of what is happening in our industry.”

Here are some of the themes from the conference:

  • Now’s the time to come together as an industry. It’s no secret that the financial industry is under a lot of scrutiny right now. And it’s not just the CFPB that has us under a microscope. The FTC, major news networks, and even the general public seem to look at us unfavorably. It’s never been so important for us to work together and adapt.
  • We provide an important product. As the CFPB works toward dismantling our business model, we need to be vigilant in showing the government and the public why short-term loans are an important resource for American families.
  • Change is coming and we need to be ready for it. We hope our collective efforts at OLA Spring Summit will help rewrite short-term loan legislation. But it would be naive to think that any of us will be unscathed by the CFPB’s upcoming rules. To stay relevant, all financial companies will need to have a plan in place.

Why We Matter

Our job at OLA Spring Summit was to meet with legislators and try to convince them that short-term loans are necessary. To assist us in these efforts, OLA provided a helpful info sheet with some startling information.

Here are two examples: In a 2014 survey conducted by the Federal Reserve, it was found that in the event of an emergency, 47-percent of American families would not have access to $400. It was also shown that 68 million Americans are either unbanked or underbanked. These two statistics show there’s a clear need out there for short-term loans.

Our VP of Legal Affairs & Compliance, Cindy-Jo Cometa, explained how information like this can help reshape the discussion about our industry. She said, “[The data] stuck with me because statistics, when accurately represented, can be a very powerful tool in helping to shed light on the existence of a problem, the need for a solution, the necessity of an industry, etc.”

One more example: While Native American tribes receive federal assistance, they don't get nearly enough to fully care for their people. Tribal lenders help fill in the gap. Our Marketing Manager, Shelby Simmons, heard at OLA Spring Summit that "the tribal lenders rely on the revenue they bring in from lending to pay for scholarships and assistance for their people.”

Our Path Ahead

At OLA Spring Summit, we worked hard to convince legislators of the negative effects the CFPB regulations will have on our important industry.

“One goal was to make the senators more aware of the trickle-down effect of this law and how many people it truly affects,” said Simmons.

Since we are headquartered in Glendale, CA, it was no small trip to travel to and from Washington, D.C. All in all, we flew nearly 5,000 miles in the span of two days, and then we were back in the office, unrested but eager to push on for short-term loans.

As Cometa said, “Exhaustion, fatigue, sleepiness – all of that can be pushed aside to fight the good fight for our industry.”

We provide an essential product. There's a very real threat against it.

“It’s really important to advocate for our industry and to try to help lawmakers in Congress understand what we do and help them see the need for our industry. What other alternative is there for the unbanked?” said Cometa.