What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. Except if it’s a conference recap.
I’m back from the 2017 American Financial Services Association Independents Exposition, and feeling inspired by the insights delivered by the expo’s speakers, as well as by the people and organizations I met along the way. Thanks to those who worked on stage and behind the scenes to make this year’s conference an unforgettable one. And a shout-out to everyone who met with me to explore Compli’s automated approach to fair lending compliance.
Missed the AFSA Independents expo or need a refresh? Here are some of the highlights from last week:
On Lenders’ Radars: Trump, Trump, and More Trump
As we approach his 100th day in office, it’s no surprise that President Donald Trump dominated the conversation at the AFSA Independents expo. Multiple speakers, including CNN chief national correspondent John King and National Review columnist John Fund, examined the regulatory environment through the lens of Trump’s agenda, analyzing the patterns and political forces that help or hinder changes in policy.
In King’s keynote speech, he dubbed Trump the “Disruptive President” and told us to “stop being surprised” that Trump is “different. Very.” King commented on the President’s historically low approval ratings and difficulty fulfilling his campaign promises, but reminded us pay attention to the next 100 days because Trump “thrives as the underdog.” What’s currently standing in the President’s way? Blame GOP infighting, fervent Democratic opponents in Congress and the judiciary, and ongoing international controversies—such as Russia’s alleged “spy novel”-like meddling in the election.
The following day, Fund argued that the Trump administration’s “biggest failure” has been personnel. With only 17 people employed full-time in Trump’s cabinet, the “basic infrastructure of a working Government is not in place yet.” Investors and and business leaders believe the administration’s policies could improve the current economic “holding pattern,” but expect slow progress on tax, healthcare, and infrastructure reform.
Changes Ahead for the FTC and CFPB
The theme of the conference was “embrace change,” which AFSA demonstrated by showing us a video of EVP Bill Himpler’s House Financial Services Committee testimony on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s consumer complaint database. Congress is clearly listening to the financial services industry, and while the CFPB is not going away and “compliance must remain a focus”, lenders are hopeful for positive changes.
Once again, the conversation turned to the Trump administration and the current Republican majority in government. AFSA leadership told us that the CFPB is “not moving on some rules knowing that the Senate could block them,” but is “apparently moving forward with some enforcement actions,” perhaps “to force Trump’s hand.”
At the same time, the current political environment is bringing several laws, regulations, and agencies into question. Speakers noted that the Telephone Consumer Protection Act “has gone well beyond its original scope to cover any call from or to a cell phone without prior permission,” and that it “exposes financial companies to a lot of potential issues.” (TCPA reform is a priority for AFSA and, purportedly, for the Trump administration.) The Federal Trade Commission, meanwhile, has already started working toward presidential directives to curb “wasteful regulations”—for instance, by streamlining the the CFPB’s information gathering process to reduce costs for companies under investigation. For more details of the FTC’s change in direction, make sure to read this Auto Remarketing article.
Looking for a Change?
The more things change, the more they stay the same. AFSA Independent Section Chairman Billy Fuller told us that in lenders’ missions to protect and expand access to credit, “compliance remains critically important.” Workforce and technology needs, however, continue to evolve, and any compliance management system needs to account for these changes.
Compligo was designed to meet the needs of consumer finance companies in a dynamic regulatory environment. Learn more.