March 30, 2020 | Press Releases
As businesses across the country temporarily close stores, reduce employee hours or implement other responsive measures to the growing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the Community Financial Services Association of America (CFSA) is encouraging its members to provide greater flexibility to customers who may be unable to repay their small-dollar loans in a timely manner. This includes greater leniency in collecting past due accounts, restructuring or suspending loan payments and for certain loans offering the Extended Payment Plan (EPP), a provision of CFSA’s Best Practices. CFSA members are continuing to serve customers across the United States during these challenging times, having been deemed essential businesses due to the important role they play in providing access to credit.
“We recognize that some small-dollar loan customers may undergo financial hardships during this pandemic, and therefore, we are encouraging our members to go above and beyond our association’s Best Practices and give customers experiencing hardships more time to repay their loans during this period of uncertainty,” said CFSA Chairman D. Lynn DeVault. “The health and safety of our member companies’ customers, employees, and their families is our highest priority during these unprecedented times, and CFSA will continue to serve as a resource for its members as they work to serve their customers and communities across the nation.”
The EPP offers customers the option of repaying loans over a longer period of time if they are unable to do so under the original contract terms, unless otherwise not allowed by state law. In response to the pandemic, CFSA is also encouraging its members to consider further leniency in collecting past due accounts and make available active toll-free consumer hotlines and electronic platforms so that consumers can easily communicate their questions, concerns and complaints.
CFSA members are also taking necessary precautions to ensure the health and safety of their customers, employees and communities. This has included implementing enhanced cleaning measures at storefront locations, restricting employee travel, encouraging good hygiene, as well as practicing social distancing at our stores and headquarters. Many member companies also offer loans and credit products online and are reminding customers of those additional options in the states where online lending is permitted.