Around March 1st a huge blow was dealt to the “Payday Loan Ordinance” in Texas.  The news came out that an Austin court had ruled in favor of Credit Access Businesses in (2) lawsuits related to the ordinance where the City of Austin was sued.  In those cases, the court ruled that the ordinances were “preempted” by State law in several ways. Preemption is something that we as a group have been after for a very long time and we are pleased to see that our industry got its day in court.  The consumer advocate groups who have been pushing the ordinance on cities should be on notice that the truth is starting to get out.  All that has happen is for the cities to enforce the ordinance.

Many of you may not know the truth, which is that the cities have not been enforcing their ordinances.  This is a deliberate tactic to avoid being sued by Credit Access Businesses. It is also likely that they have no staff or budget to allocate to the endeavor which is worth mentioning as well.  Each city is given a payday loan city ordinance “playbook” that gives them the tactics and methods for enacting the ordinance along with how not to get sued.  If they do not enforce then the payday companies have no legal grounds to sue on because they have not actually been “harmed.”

Well, the City of Austin went beyond its rights and decided to go in and examine and cite two Credit Access Businesses – Advance America and Speedy Cash.  This was the first instance that I know of where a city has enforced and cited a company for not abiding to the ordinance.  So, the first time a city goes in and enforces an ordinance what happens?  They get sued and lose!  This simple scenario is one that should resonate with all cities who have passed an ordinance and with those who are looking at it.  Austin happens to have its act together and enjoys a pretty decent legal budget – if they can lose then anyone can lose.

Cities should know that there is now a very real legal risk for them – their city councils will be embroiled in lawsuits and will have to consider retaining outside legal counsel to defend themselves.  Council members who know that they have been charged with real responsibilities such as protecting water, investing in infrastructure, maintaining police strength, and providing general safety for their citizens know that they are way outside the lines when telling someone how much money they can borrow and how long they can have to pay it back.  It seems incredibly absurd to me.  For many of you it would be like having the city tell you that you can only have a car that costs $10,000 or less and you must pay it off in (6) payments. Also, you can only have one car!  It is literally the same thing.  What if you have the cash to simply pay $40,000 for a car?  What if you have a spouse that you want to buy a car for?  That example plus a hundred more can be made – and what it does is blow a gaping hole in the practicality of the “Payday Loan City Ordinance.”  That is where the whole thing should have stopped years ago.

But now the cold hard truth has landed on the desks of anyone involved in this matter – the court has ruled in favor of Credit Access Businesses.  Cities now need to decide what they are going to do.  They need to be asked publicly, “Are you going to enforce this ordinance?”  If they say “No,” then won’t that mean they are effectively rolling back the ordinance?  If so, Credit Access Businesses will be able to go back to offering the kinds of credit that consumers in the ordinance cities need and want.  Won’t this be an improvement over being told they must drive 15 minutes down the road or get on their smartphone to request a loan from an unlicensed unregulated offshore lender in the Bahamas?

What if they say “yes, we are going to enforce the ordinance?”  Then Credit Access Businesses will be given the chance to defend themselves like Speedy Cash and Advance America did. What they will simply do is execute a transaction that violates the ordinance, then take that one transaction down to the City and “self-report” the violation.  At that point the city must act and if they do cite the Credit Access Business then they will turn around and sue the City.  What lies ahead will be a court decision that will resemble that of the court orders in Austin.

CABs are already sufficiently regulated by the Office of Consumer Credit Commissioner.  We have 20-30 page contracts for a $300 loan!  We adhere to a long list of federal and state rules and regulations (all in our contract package) and our complaint percentages on the state and federal levels are fractional on a complaint to loan basis.  I believe in Texas the complaint percentage is .000153% (yes that is three zeroes!).  Our CABs abide by a 90-point CAB Examination checklist that we obtained from the OCCC.  TOFSC members tune in to a weekly conference call every Wednesday where we talk about CFPB and OCCC compliance, share ideas, and try to safeguard our businesses.  We are small business owners banded together to try and survive the ordinances.  In the last (4) years CABs have shrunk from over 3,500 in Texas to about 2,200 that is a 37% decrease in CABs.  That is thousands of jobs lost, thousands of leases broken, a significant loss in tax dollars for cities, and a loss of livelihood for many.  All of that and the demand has not decreased (check OCCC data and consumer reports for online inquires in ordinance cities the data is there if you want to do some homework) although there has been a 37% decrease in stores.

TOFSC Members are tuned in to this issue and we are ready to fight to save our businesses and to bring the access to credit back to consumers in ordinances cities that is desired.  Cities should prefer that legal, licensed, and regulated businesses serve their citizen’s needs.   C’mon cities – let’s bring it back to the CABs and let the cities focus on their big priorities!

See the links below for the court orders.  For media inquiries – feel free to call Michael Brown at 214-293-8676, or email me at Michael@CreditAccessBusiness.com.  Michael is the President of the Texas Organization of Financial Service Centers (“TOFSC”) which is a trade group comprised of small to mid-sized Credit Access Businesses in Texas.  As well, he is President of CAB Consulting, a consulting firm that offers startup, licensing, compliance, and operating guidance to payday businesses in Texas and other states.

https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B2eRFUSSFqhzaXJfa19FbmRuRmc

https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B2eRFUSSFqhzWjUwZkxRaWMwVjQ

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The devil is in the details

by The CAB Man Texas on February 27, 2017

Check your work!  Last week my team and I released a blog about Carlos Uresti, a San Antonio based Senator whose offices had been raided by the FBI.  We happened to know that a politician by the name of Uresti in the San Antonio area had also written a bill that would attempt to “cap” all finance charges on Credit Access Business payday, installment, and auto title loans to 25% of the amount borrowed.  Being that I am a rabid defender of our CAB clients, I sprang on the name “Uresti” immediately and assumed he was the same man who had written the bill – which was House Bill 1733.

We made two mistakes on the blog post.  First, State Rep. Tomas Uresti wrote House Bill (“HB”) 1733 and Carlos Uresti did not.  Second, we should have known that a Senator would not write a “House Bill” because they are not in the “House,” they are in the Senate!    This was one day that our team totally messed up on the details – the blame is on me.

These errors were sharply pointed out to me and we pulled down the post right away.  We have a lot of people reading our posts and people count on us to relay information.  It is important to make sure we get them right. This oversight is a fresh reminder that the good old fashioned saying “the devil is in the details” is alive and well.

This blog post was written by Michael Brown, President of CAB Consulting and the Texas Organization of Financial Service Centers.  He can be reached at 214-293-8676, or Michael@CreditAccessBusiness.com.

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You are not going to believe what CFPB spends its money on

February 14, 2017

I just about fell out of my Toyota Prius when I learned what the CFPB spends its money on.  Anyone who has been watching the CFPB has probably heard about how the expenses there are out of control, but this was a mind blower.  Come to find out, they have actually been getting looked at […]

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City Ordinance is shot down in Lubbock.

February 10, 2017

Some very positive news came out of Lubbock with the City Council voting down the “Payday Loan Ordinance” by a vote 5 to 2.  Credit Access Business owners all across Texas were impressed by Lubbock’s push back of the liberal backed City Ordinance.  Ordinances across Texas have shut down over 40% of Credit Access Businesses […]

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Another City Ordinance passes in Texas. (Canyon)

February 10, 2017

Canyon, Texas The City of Canyon, Texas has enacted a “Payday Loan” ordinance. Per News Channel 10 in Amarillo, the City Council of Canyon enacted the ordinance on Monday of this week. Canyon is located about 18 miles south of Amarillo and has a population of just over 13,000.  The City of Amarillo said many of their […]

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Use caution when accepting payoff payments on motor vehicle title loans

February 10, 2017

Review your company policy regarding acceptable methods of payment for motor vehicle title loans in Texas as a Credit Access Business. With tax season upon us, there will be an increase in the number of folks paying off loans, especially motor vehicle title loans as the income tax refunds start to pour in over the […]

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Texas Legislative Session as of this week: (7) bills related to Credit Access Businesses

February 10, 2017

HB 60, Introduced by Romero Jr: Requiring a Credit Access Business to verify the vehicle identification number used to obtain a motor vehicle. HB 197, Introduced by Bernal: Relating to the contracts and other documents issued by a Credit Access Business (requiring to have English & Spanish). Also, to read the contract in its entirety […]

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Credit Access Business rules for 2017 that you need to know!

January 13, 2017

New Technical Rules for 2017 you should be aware of.  Did you know there are new rules related to the application for new licenses, transferring a license, and criminal history of CAB owners?  Much of this was covered during CAB Consulting’s “CAB II” project that many clients and members took advantage of.  *The language for […]

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Legislative Session: (3) bills as of last week, this is the 4th

January 12, 2017

New bill: HB 877, from Chris Turner (Democrat out of Tarrant County, Represents Grand Prairie & portions of Arlington). Caption: Relating to prohibiting certain telemarketing calls by a credit access business. A credit access business or a representative of a credit access business may not make a telemarketing call, as defined by Section 304.002, Business & Commerce […]

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(3) bills already posted ahead of the 85th Texas Legislative Session

January 6, 2017

The 85th Texas Legislative Session starts on Tuesday, January 10, 2017.  At this point, (3) bills have been posted ahead of the session.  See below for information on the bills as well as a few comments. Ramon Romero (D): HB 60 Relating to requiring a credit access business to verify the vehicle identification number used to […]

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