ALTERNATIVE FINANCIAL SERVICE PROVIDERS ASSOCIATION
October 20, 2020
The Gateway For Payroll Data
Survey: Most Americans Support Payday Lenders, Higher Fees Than Congress Demands
Millions of people are still out of work during the coronavirus pandemic and nearly 900,000 American workers applied for unemployment benefits for the first time this week.

As Americans struggle to pay their bills and cover unexpected expenses, now more than ever, they need access to cash. 

New public opinion polling indicates that a significant majority of Americans broadly support non-bank lending sources for those who don’t have access to traditional banking or good credit. Furthermore, they think lenders should be able to charge more interest than some congressional lawmakers want to allow.

According to a survey conducted by Morning Consult on behalf of the Online Lenders Alliance, an association of online lenders and tech companies, about seven out of ten (69 percent) adults say it’s important that the more than 90 million Americans who are either unbanked or credit-challenged have access to loan products such as payday loans, personal loans, and lines of credit. 
Paving the Payments Future
U.S. and State Factsheets on Consumers During COVID
OLA curated several state factsheets (AZ, CA, HI, IA, IL, NE, NM, NV, TX, WI) that provide data around consumers and financial services during COVID-19.

From the data, it is clear that a vast majority of consumers in each state believe that nonprime consumers should have access to credit, and consumers have rarely submitted complaints about personal loans during the pandemic. Most of the data is state-specific and is sourced from the CFPB, Center for the New Middle Class, Morning Consult, and OLA.
Lending as a Service
The average FICO credit score hit new record highs during the pandemic—here’s why
The average FICO credit score hit another record high of 711 in the U.S. in July — several months into the global coronavirus pandemic, according to the latest research from the popular scoring company. 

It may sound crazy that FICO scores actually went up at a time when tens of millions of Americans were unemployed and struggling to pay bills and loans. But when looked at in aggregate, FICO scores don’t shift rapidly, says Ethan Dornhelm, who leads the research and analytic development of FICO scores globally. 

“The FICO score shouldn’t be thought of as a leading indicator or as a predictor of where the economy is headed,” Dornhelm tells CNBC Make It. In fact, there’s typically a “bit of a lag” between when a major macroeconomic event occurs, such as a recession, and when the average FICO score is going to reflect that, he says.
UPDATE! Inform your customers!

IRS extends Economic Impact Payment deadline to November 21 to help non-filers

WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service announced today that the deadline to register for an Economic Impact Payment (EIP) is now November 21, 2020. This new date will provide an additional five weeks beyond the original deadline.

CFPB Enforcement Actions Rise to Highest Level in 5 Years
Regulatory enforcement actions made by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) have risen to their highest level in five years, to levels not seen since the Bureau was under the control of Director Richard Cordray during the Barack Obama Administration. This is according to an analysis of the CFPB Online Enforcement Database at Law360.

While Democratic lawmakers have expressed concern about the direction of the Bureau under the Donald J. Trump Administration – in some instances feeling that the Bureau has avoided using its enforcement authority to the detriment of American consumers – the watchdog brought 19 different enforcement actions during its last fiscal quarter spanning from July through the end of September, “a pace nearly four times what it was the previous quarter and more than double what it was the same quarter last year,” Law360 notes.
Government is partnering with big banks, fintech to speed payments to Americans
The increased collaboration could lead to a more seamless distribution of government benefits, greater access to lending programs, and even digitized currency.

As Los Angeles sought to disburse relief funds to its poorest residents at the height of the pandemic, it found itself in uncharted territory.

Unlike state and federal entities that process unemployment claims and tax refunds, cities typically lack the infrastructure to make payments to individuals. So Los Angeles turned to the private sector for assistance, working with Mastercard Inc. MA, -0.55% and economic-development nonprofit Accelerator for America on a program that collected private donations, partly via text message, and distributed funds to qualified residents on prepaid “Angeleno” debit cards. 
Auto debt complaints are soaring during pandemic
Complaints about lenders piling up at CFPB as auto debt crisis looms

Consumers struggling to keep up with their auto debts filed a record number of complaints with a key federal consumer watchdog agency in the first five months of the pandemic, according to a new analysis of government data released Wednesday.

The report found that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau received 2,844 complaints by borrowers, or pleas for help, on auto-related disputes from March to July, the highest of any five-month period since the CFPB started collecting consumer complaints in 2012.

The complaints showed borrowers have been hard-hit by COVID-19 after a booming decade for auto financing, but also pointed to a potentially bigger crisis brewing in the months since auto debt relief was left out of the $2 trillion Cares Act passed by Congress in March.
BBB offers online safety tips for National Cyber Security Awareness Month
The Internet has become a significant part of our everyday lives, allowing us to work, socialize and shop online. Unfortunately, cybercriminals also benefit from that same convenience and accessibility. That’s why the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) team up each October for National Cyber Security Awareness Month. This year’s theme is “Do Your Part. #BeCyberSmart,” which emphasizes the importance of individuals taking steps to protect themselves online.

Through its online reporting tool, the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) connects the public with the FBI. According to IC3’s 2019 annual report, almost 500,000 complaints and $3.5 billion in losses were reported last year, with adults over 60 being the demographic most impacted by internet crime. Texas ranks third in the United States for number of victims and fourth for total dollar losses.
Going Postal? Proposals for Post‐​Office Banking in 2020
In my last post, I discussed the experience of "postal savings" in America—its origins and how its flawed legislative design caused harm during the Great Depression. I showed that some features of the postal savings system adopted for political expediency, such as its fixed interest rates and the requirement to re-deposit the bulk of funds with local banks (but not savings and loan institutions), may have encouraged Depression-era bank runs and delayed the housing market's recovery.

Today I'll discuss the end of the old postal savings system half a century ago, and the idea's surprising recent rehabilitation, this time as an ostensible solution to America's unusually high rate of "unbanked" households. 
The middle class has it best, worst in these US states: Report
Utah and Idaho are the two best states for the middle class, for the second year in a row

It turns out, some states are more suitable for people in the middle class than others, according to a new report.

On Tuesday, SmartAsset published a study that ranked all 50 U.S. states and Washington D.C. to find which states are the best for the middle class this year.

According to the report, the middle class is defined as “households that earn approximately two-thirds to two times the median national income.”

In 2018, that income level made up about 52% of the U.S. adult population, according to the Pew Research Center using the most recent data available
Targeting the wrong loans
Recently, Nebraska politicians and activists have been attacking payday lending, and an initiative has been put on the ballot (Nebraska Initiative 428) to cap loan interest rates at 36%.

The motivation is to prevent consumers from taking on insurmountable debt. Though well-intentioned, policies to cap interest rates would make payday lenders unprofitable and thereby eliminate what is often the only source of available credit for many Americans.

The Journal Star has endorsed a yes vote on Initiative 428, but the issue deserves a more thoughtful discussion than three sentences at the end of another endorsement column ("Gambling, payday loan initiatives should pass," Sept. 17), and the whole issue of payday loans needs to be put into perspective.
ALTERNATIVE FINANCIAL SERVICE PROVIDERS ASSOCIATION
Alternative Financial Service Providers Association
757.737.4088
315 Tuscarora St., Lewiston, NY 14092