Lenders You Can Trust Look For The Borrow Smart Seal."
Council For Fair Lending (CFL)
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 Services.
These 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
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
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
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
Communicate the Borrow Smart concept to customers, regulators,
legislators and the general public through an aggressive
advertising and public relations program.
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.
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.
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.