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Hirsch: RVDA Moves Ahead on CFPB Reform

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July 18, 2014 by   Leave a Comment

 

Jeff Hirsch

Jeff Hirsch

Editor’s Note: The following column, authored by Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA) Chairman Jeff Hirsch and appearing in the July issue of RV Executive Today, relates the efforts by RVDA to reform the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) policies on dealer-assisted financing.

We’re over six months into the year now, and many of us are evaluating inventory levels. This is a critical time, since we have a limited selling season left to make the necessary adjustments. In the same vein, this is a good time to take stock of some vital association issues.

One of the main reasons we belong to RVDA is advocacy. Currently, the top issue facing the association is the guidance issued last year by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau regarding dealer-assisted financing. The guidance pressures finance companies to eliminate dealerships’ ability to discount the interest rates offered to customers who finance their purchase. RVDA believes this will increase vehicle financing costs for consumers and limit the credit options available for vehicle loans. The CFPB issued this policy without first studying how it would affect the auto finance market and credit-challenged consumers – and without prior notice or opportunities for the public to comment.

Rep. Marlin Stutzman (R-Ind.) recently introduced a bill called the Bureau Guidance Transparency Act (H.R. 4811) that would rescind the policy and require more transparency and safeguards in the bureau’s guidance- writing process. Specifically, the bill would require the bureau to provide a public comment period before issuing final guidance on regulations and to make public the studies, data, and analyses it used in preparing the guidance.

RVDA and its allies worked together to get the bill passed out of committee. Massachusetts was one of the strategic states that we targeted, seeking support from Democrats on this bipartisan issue. RV dealers were asked to call and write in for legislators’ support of the Stutzman bill.

On June 11, three of the Democrats that RVDA and its allies targeted joined with 32 Republicans to pass the bill out of the House Financial Services Committee. In a collaborative effort with RVIA, NADA, the American Financial Services Association (AFSA) and others, we were able to take a step closer in reforming the CFPB.

This victory is one example of the value of our association. Advocacy is like health insurance – until you actually need it, it’s hard to see why you should pay for it. I thank Brett Richardson, our director of regulatory and legal affairs, and Phil Ingrassia, who have championed this extremely important issue for all of us.

Another example of the value of RVDA membership: the annual RV Dealers International Convention/Expo, which takes place this year at a new time and locale. The dates are November 10-14, and we’re moving out of the Rio to Bally’s on the Las Vegas Strip. Register for the convention now and buy the plane tickets. With the industry on the upswing, we have some cash again, and now is the time to invest in our future. The convention is so big that it’s impossible for one person to cover it all effectively, so bring your people along. It’s time to invest in their future, too.

Here’s a sample of some of the workshops you’ll find this year:

Social Media/E-marketing – a new education track will include search engine optimization, reputation management, and more.

Recruiting and retaining employees – creative ideas for both. I’ll definitely have someone from our company in this seminar. This is a real problem for many of us – where do we find the next generation of technicians and other key personnel?

Compliance – This is one subject that keeps me up at night. We can never learn enough about what’s required of us in an increasingly regulated environment.

My hat is off to the convention committee and staff for putting together an outstanding program that covers all aspects of our businesses.

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