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Q&A: CCIA Talks Pink-Slip Protection, Industry's Ominous Threat

May 2009, F&I and Showroom - Feature

by Gregory Arroyo - Also by this author

Established as the Consumer Credit Insurance Association in 1951 to preserve a creditor’s ability to offer debtors life, disability or property insurance, the Chicago-based Consumer Credit Industry Association (CCIA) has been busy of late. Aside from monitoring the impact of employment protection on F&I revenue streams, the association is taking on a new legislative threat to the auto industry. Executive Editor Gregory Arroyo sits down with William Burfeind, executive vice president of the association, to discuss the organization’s recent activities.

F&I: The association has obviously been around a long time. How has its role changed since its formation?

WB: The insurance provided by our members still provides the same financial security and peace of mind to debtors, as well as an additional income stream to creditors. When we first formed, our mission was to preserve a regulatory environment conducive to the business. And that mission essentially remains the same today.

Of course, the scope of the association has expanded commensurate with the scope of optional products over the years. And as this expansion began to include non-insurance products, the association began doing business as the Consumer Credit Industry Association, recognizing it was not just insurance products in which our members were engaged. Our membership now includes insurance companies and other financial service providers.

F&I: You mentioned preserving the business. My understanding is there is a major legislative threat against the industry right now.

WB: The composition of Congress suggests an inclination to enact consumer protections long favored by consumer advocates. In fact, in a speech to the Consumer Federation of American assembly, Senator Chris Dodd (D-Conn.), who chairs the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, said the current financial mess has presented a “window of opportunity” to achieve a number of objectives that have been “elusive” over the years.

Right now, the most ominous threat to our industry are several bills making their way through Congress that would establish a national usury rate of 15 percent in one instance, and 36 percent in others. One of those bills, S. 500, was introduced by Senator Dick Durbin (D-Ill.).

F&I: We wrote about this legislation last month. My understanding is these proposed caps would seriously impact F&I.

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