2015 Legislative Conference: The Road to Solutions

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The cover of the Winter 2015 issue of National Pawnbroker magazine depicts the crossroads of Pawn and Washington, DC. This very intersection is where over 50 pawnbrokers from around the country met for NPA’s Annual Legislative Conference on April 29, 2015. This group of independent pawnbrokers seized the opportunity to make their voices heard to the Members of the 114th Congress.

Attendees at this year’s conference included:

Dave Adelman Jay Dunbar Jeff Knight Kevin Prochaska
Robert Anderson Cathy Gish Ben Levinson Kerry Rainey
Kathleen Barbee Rick Gish Christopher McCarthy Chase Rainey
Amy Barber Seth Gold Eric Modell Sam Shocket
Dale Barber Michael Goldstein Brian Moulton Jordan Tabach-Bank
Edward Bean Jon Green Bob Moulton Mary Tansky
Fran Bishop Marc Gundersheim Boyd Naylor Lou Tansky
Douglas Braswell John Higney Larry Nuckols Raphael Tincher
Michael Cohen Brent Kalafat Josh Oller Scott Watson
Tim Collier Karen Kalafat Rita Paulsen Jason Weinger
David Crume Lauren Kaminsky Scott Paulsen Heidi Werner
Bill Dawson David Kaminsky Troy Paulsen Chuck Williams

 

A welcome reception was hosted on the eve of the Conference by long-time NPA Industry Partner, Pease & Curren. Pawnbroker attendees renewed old friendships, became acquainted with first-time attendees, and talked over the mission at hand.

The Wednesday morning breakfast speaker was Representative Mick Mulvaney of South Carolina. Rep. Mulvaney was well versed on the subject of pawnbrokers having their banking services and relationships discontinued and related the story of a pawnbroker in his district experiencing what is commonly known as “Operation Choke Point”. This is a perfect example of grassroots politics and the importance of educating your elected officials about pawn industry policy issues.

Leg-Conf-101An extensive briefing of attendees by NPA Government Relations Chair, Tim Collier, and NPA Lobbyist, Cliff Andrews covered a variety of subjects and included a mock Hill meeting. Everyone enjoyed seeing ‘Pawnbroker Cliff’ under the scrutiny of ‘Congressman Collier’. No doubt remained that Cliff is a Lobbyist and not a pawnbroker.

Earlier that morning, NPA Government Relations Liaison, Fran Bishop; Regulatory Counsel, Professor Sarah Jane Hughes; and NPA Treasurer, Rob Anderson had attended a meeting at the FDIC. They provided a chronology of developments to FDIC officials pertaining to “Operation Choke Point” and the loss of banking relationships by pawnbrokers dating back over two years. The NPA was complimented on the proactive steps and educational measures taken on behalf of the pawn industry, the same compliment received during a prior meeting with the FDIC in September 2014.

Our appreciation was extended to the FDIC for their industry communications encouraging insured depository institutions to serve their communities by taking a risk-based approach in assessing individual customer relationships rather than denying banking services. Educating regulatory agencies is as important as making sure your elected officials understand the pawn industry. The NPA must continue to hear from you about any instances of account discontinuance and loss of banking services.

Armed with NPA information materials, Hill guides, and maps, Legislative Conference attendees were divided into state and regional groups and set off to attend over 70 meetings in the House of Representatives and the Senate. The NPA folders left behind at each meeting contained Pawn Industry FAQs; Fact Check: Pawnbrokers are NOT High-Risk Businesses; Pawn transactions should remain exempt from the Department of Defense proposed changes to the Military Lending Act as it applies to “consumer credit” talking points; discussion pieces about bank discontinuance, and many more topics. During the course of the day, many pawnbrokers attended NPA-hosted fundraisers for prominent Members of the House and Senate.

The long and successful day was capped off with a debriefing dinner that was sponsored and hosted by NTR Metals, another long-time NPA Industry Partner.

We extend many thanks to all who took time from their busy schedules to travel to Washington and participate in the 2015 NPA Legislative Conference. Preparations are already in motion for next year’s conference on April 27, 2016. Watch for more information to come. We hope you plan to join us.

Fran Bishop, NPA Government Relations Liaison
NPA Past President