Happy 100th Anniversary, AFSA!

The internet. Grocery bags. Electric guitars. Adhesive bandages. Federal income tax. Cheeseburgers.

Can you guess what these all have in common?

I’ll give you a moment to think about it.

All right, time’s up! The answer: None of the above existed a century ago. You may be surprised to learn about one thing that was around back then, however: The American Financial Services Association.

Yes, AFSA predates cheeseburgers. Founding fathers and bald eagles aside, you can’t get much more American than that.

This year, the trade association celebrates its 100th anniversary. Founded in 1916 as the American Association of Small Loan Brokers, AFSA is an anchor of the consumer credit industry and a leading voice in shaping legislation that impacts the industry. The group’s mission, in their own words, is “to promote safe, ethical lending to responsible, informed borrowers and to improve and protect consumers’ access to credit.”

In recognizing the organization’s legacy—and in the spirit of Thanksgiving—here are a few things that make us grateful for AFSA:

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Yes, AFSA predates cheeseburgers. Founding fathers and bald eagles aside, you can’t get much more American than that.

AFSA Strives to Ensure Credit Remains Available and Affordable

AFSA believes in the power of credit to improve the lives of consumers. To that end, the association works out of its headquarters in Washington, DC to influence policy and spread information related to lending on the state and national levels. AFSA members include banks, consumer and commercial finance companies, vehicle financiers, mortgage lenders, credit card companies, and myriad organizations that provide services to the industry.

AFSA Emphasizes Collaboration

One of AFSA’s guiding principles states that “regulation should be a collaborative process between regulators and the parties directly impacted by the proposed regulations.” In contrast to how many consumers imagine trade associations, AFSA listens to the concerns of its members, consumers and policymakers alike, endeavoring to work toward mutually beneficial solutions that take all parties into account.

AFSA Takes Education Seriously

AFSA provides numerous educational resources to advance public understanding of the consumer credit industry. From compliance training modules to webinars, the association helps its members stay up to date with constantly evolving industry regulations. At the same time, AFSA runs several consumer-facing education initiatives, such as AWARE (Americans Well-informed on Automobile Retailing Economics), which guides consumers through auto financing; and the AFSA Education Foundation, which helps consumers to make smarter and more responsible borrowing decisions.

You can find more information about AFSA, its members and programs at afsaonline.org.

Happy 100th, AFSA!

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