AEA » Topics » Our Payday Cash Advance Services

This excerpt taken from the AEA 10-K filed Mar 31, 2005.

Our Payday Cash Advance Services

        We provide directly, or we process, market and service for the lending banks for which we act as agent, small-denomination, short-term unsecured consumer credit because we believe that many consumers have limited access to alternative sources of liquidity. We advertise our payday advance services primarily through television, direct mail, the yellow pages, and local store marketing activities. To obtain a payday cash advance from a lending bank or us, a new customer first completes an application that includes personal information such as his or her name, address, phone number, employment information or source of income, and references. This information is entered into our information system. The new customer then presents the required documentation, usually proof of identification, a pay stub or other evidence of income, and a bank statement, to our payday cash advance center employee. In order for a new customer to be approved for a payday cash advance by us or by a lending bank, he or she is required to have a bank account and a regular source of income, such as a job. Under the standard business model, we determine whether to approve a payday cash advance to our customers. Using this model, we do not undertake any evaluation of the creditworthiness of our customers in determining whether to approve customers for payday cash advances, other than requiring proof of identification, bank account and income source, as described above. However we consider the customer's income in determining the amount of the payday cash advance. Under the agency business model, the lending banks determine whether to approve a payday cash advance to their customers utilizing third-party credit scores to evaluate and approve each customer's application. After we have reviewed the documents presented by the customer for completeness and accuracy, made copies for record keeping purposes and the lending bank or we, as applicable, have approved the payday cash advance, the customer enters into an agreement governing the terms of the payday cash advance. The customer then writes a personal check to cover the amount of the payday cash advance plus charges for applicable fees and/or interest, and makes an appointment to return on a specified due date, typically his or her next payday, to repay the advance plus the applicable charges. At the specified due date, the customer is required to pay off the payday cash advance in full, which is usually accomplished by the customer returning to the payday cash advance center with cash. Upon a repayment in full, we are obligated to return the customer's personal check to the customer. If the customer does not repay the outstanding payday cash advance in full on or before the due date, the payday cash advance center will seek to collect from the customer and may deposit the customer's personal check. Collection procedures include (1) contacting the customer by telephone or in person to obtain a payment or a promise to pay or (2) negotiating the customer's personal check at the customer's bank by depositing it or obtaining a cashier's check. For details on our collection procedures, see "—Collection Procedures."

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        We have agreed to abide by the CFSA's Best Practices for the payday cash advance services industry, set forth below.


CFSA's Best Practices for the Payday Advance Industry

1.    Full disclosure.     A member will comply with the disclosure requirements of the State in which the payday advance office is located and with Federal disclosure requirements including the Federal Truth in Lending Act. A contract between a member and the customer must fully outline the terms of the payday advance transaction. Members agree to disclose the cost of the service fee both as a dollar amount and as an annual percentage rate ("APR").

2.    Compliance.    A member will comply with all applicable laws. A member will not charge a fee or rate for a payday advance that is not authorized by State or Federal law.

3.    Truthful advertising.    A member will not advertise the payday advance service in any false, misleading, or deceptive manner.

4.    Encourage consumer responsibility.    A member will implement procedures to inform consumers of the intended use of the payday advance service. These procedures will include notifying consumers that a payday advance is a short-term cash flow tool not designed as a solution for longer term financial problems and informing customers of the availability of credit counseling services.

5.    Rollovers.    A member will comply with State laws on rollovers (the extension of an outstanding advance by payment of only a fee). In States where rollovers are not specifically allowed a member will not under any circumstances allow a customer to do a rollover. In the few States where rollovers are permitted, a member will limit rollovers to four (4) or the State limit, whichever is less.

6.    Right to rescind.    A member will give its customers the right to rescind, at no cost, a payday advance transaction on or before the close of the following business day.

7.    Appropriate collection practices.    A member must collect past due accounts in a professional, fair and lawful manner. A member will not use unlawful threats, intimidation, or harassment to collect accounts. CFSA believes that the collection limitations contained in the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) should guide a member's practice in this area.

 

8.    No criminal action.    A member will not threaten or pursue criminal action against a customer as a result of the customer's check being returned unpaid or the customer's account not being paid.

9.    Enforcement.    A member will participate in self-policing of the industry. A member will be expected to report violations of these Best Practices to CFSA, which will investigate the matter and take appropriate action. Each member company agrees to maintain and post its own toll-free consumer hotline number in each of its outlets.

10.    Support balanced legislation.    A member will work with State legislators and regulators to support responsible legislation of the payday advance industry that incorporates these Best Practices.

11.    Relationships with financial institutions.    A member may market and service payday advances made by a federally insured financial institution, provided the financial institution does the following: (1) sets its own credit criteria; (2) approves and funds each advance; (3) complies with applicable State disclosure requirements, where not inconsistent with Federal law; (4) complies with applicable State law as to the number of rollovers; (5) permits the member to purchase no more than a de minimis amount of the advances, or any such other amount which may be consistent with safety and soundness determinations by Federal or State banking regulators; (6) complies with the guidelines and regulations on payday lending issued by the financial institution's Federal or State regulator; and (7) complies with these Best Practices unless the Best Practices conflict with this Paragraph, in which case the terms of this Paragraph shall apply.

12.    Military.    A member will comply with a separate code of Military Best Practices that addresses the unique circumstances of active duty military customers. These special consumer protections include, among others: a prohibition on the garnishment of military wages or salaries and on contacting the military chain of command to collect payment; and the establishment of financial literacy initiatives that will benefit service men and women.

Source: Community Financial Services Association of America, as of March 2005.

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