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Council For Fair Lending

Announcing:  Council for Fair Lending & Borrow Smart Alabama!


 "For Lenders You Can Trust Look For The Borrow Smart Seal."

The new Council For Fair Lending (CFL) is now organized and open for business.  We proudly announce our new campaign -- Borrow Smart Alabama.

CFL was formed by concerned members of both the Title Pawn Council of Alabama (TPCA) and Modern Financial ServicesThese two associations represent title and payday lenders in Alabama respectively.  CFL strongly supports both associations and exist to serve as a "communication entity" for the short term cash loan industry.  TPCA and Modern Financial members are eligible to join this new association.

The goal of CFL is to establish and promote a code of ethics and standards for short term cash lenders (title and payday loans).  The Borrow Smart campaign is designed to protect borrowers by establishing a code of lending ethics that all CFL members agree to abide by.  A major focus of the program is to help borrowers, who want the benefits offered by the Borrow Smart lending standards, find and do business with those lenders who are "Borrow Smart" lenders.  Many organizations have standards, but they are generally not well communicated to the public.  We believe standards without the communications component are like no standards at all as far as the public is concerned.  The communications piece of the CFL effort is key to this plan.

We strongly believe that the lack of truthful and factual communications about our industry is a critical problem.  Our industry is under constant attack from those who have their own self-serving agendas.  The attackers never recognize the benefits and services we provide to our customers nor do they offer any real alternatives.  Their only agenda is to condemn what we do and work diligently to see that our industry just "goes away."  These attacks go virtually unchallenged.  Left unchallenged the attacks, we believe, will ultimately lead to the demise of our industry.  Certainly, this has been the case with our neighbors in places like Georgia, Florida and North Carolina where you can no longer obtain a title and/or a payday loan.  We hope to solve this communication problem with a positive campaign of truth and proactive media response.

Although we began planning for CFL well before the launch of the highly successful CFSA campaign, we believe our campaign is in some respects similar.  The primary difference is that Borrow Smart is a local, grass roots effort and is available to those who may not be members of CFSA.  The CFSA campaign has been phenomenally successful in any way you wish to measure it.  If you have followed the press attacks over any length of time, you will have observed a very noticeable change in the tenor of the current press articles.  Most important, you will have observed that the industry has overcome significant legislative challenges in the last few months in the form of legislation that would virtually destroy the industry  -- namely in Virginia and Arkansas.  And Georgia came very close to overturning the ban on payday lending which was passed two years ago.  We believe the CFSA campaign played a very important role in these victories.

The CFSA campaign was brilliant, well timed and right on the mark.  Although, we do not have the resources of a CFSA we do hope we can achieve similar results on a smaller, local scale. All of us owe a big thanks to CFSA for what they have done for the industry.  We believe our effort will be much more successful because of what they have accomplished.

Borrow Smart Alabama will be promoted through an aggressive advertising and public relations program throughout Alabama.  We have retained Big Communications one of the most prestigious communication firms in the state to do this.  The campaign will include radio advertising, outdoor advertising and a coordinated public relations program targeted to newspapers, radio and television.  This effort is designed to communicate the truth about our industry directly to the public.

Here are a few key elements of the Borrow Smart plan:

  • Communicate the Borrow Smart concept to customers, regulators, legislators and the general public through an aggressive advertising and public relations program.

  • Help customers locate Borrow Smart lenders through advertising, an 800 number and a consumer friendly web site.

  • Communicate to the press the true facts about our industry, our Borrow Smart code of ethics, who Borrow Smart lenders are and, more importantly, where you can find them.

  • Provide member stores with a professionally prepared  Borrow Smart display kit that includes door decals, inside posters and hand-outs boldly identifying them as a Borrow Smart lender.

  • Produce a set of video testimonials from real customers who have had positive experiences with Borrow Smart members to be distributed to the press, regulators, legislators and made available for everyone who visits our web site.

Our Status As Of -- May 7, 2007

We are, at the moment, wrapping up our planning effort.  To date we have well over 200 stores who have signed up to be Borrow Smart affiliate stores.  Virtually all of the Borrow Smart stores provide payday and title loans and are members of TPCA or Modern Financial or both.  In order to become a Borrow Smart member a lender pays a small setup fee and then $68 a month per store (a charter member rate) billed each quarter.  And, more important, they agree to comply with the Borrow Smart code of ethics.

We have closed our membership drive for the present.  If you wish to be added to the list for the next membership drive, please send us an email with your company name and telephone number.  Your name will be added to the list and you will be contacted when membership is again open.  Those of you who have already communicated with us about membership will be contacted soon.  We have reserved your membership.


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