by Fran Bishop, NPA Government Relations Liaison, NPA Past President
MOST OF US HAVE SEEN THE CARTOON DRAWING of one or two individuals pulling a wagon that has a crowd of people riding in it. You can probably apply that visual message to a variety of circumstances, whether it’s in the workplace, school, clubs, associations, etc.
I did an internet search for what’s behind the meaning of that drawing and found lots of results. The most common one is… ”If you pull your weight, you work as hard as everyone else who is involved in the same task or activity.” We cannot afford to carry members who are not pulling their weight.
So, if you’re still reading this, your thoughts are probably, here she goes again! And you would be correct. The statistic that only around 10% of the pawn stores in the U. S. are members of the National Pawnbrokers Association is not just incomprehensible, but shameful, maddening, unacceptable, and a bunch more blankety-blank descriptive words.
Hold that thought as I switch gears a bit. As I write this, there have been two bills filed in the Senate that would mandate a cap of 36% APR on most all consumer lending. In addition, by the time you read this, there will be similar, or identical versions, of these bills filed in the House of Representatives, as well.
No, this is not the first time federal rate cap bills have been filed, and over the years, some of them were even less than a 36% APR. Thus far, only one, the Talent Amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act, passed and went into effect October 1, 2007. This 36% Military Annual Percentage Rate (MAPR) applied to payday loans, motor vehicle title and refund anticipation lending to activeduty members of the military, their spouses and dependents (covered borrowers). On October 3, 2016, it was expanded to cover most all types of lending to covered borrowers, including pawn transactions.
This nine-year span of time, from 2007 to 2016, when pawn was not included, didn’t happen by accident. Just like the other rate cap bills that have been proposed during at least the last 15 years, the NPA was there w orking 24/7/365 to explain how your non-recourse pawn transactions did not trap consumers in a cycle of debt and are the safety-net choice that our customers turn to for short term cash needs.
Back to my initial thought, there couldn’t be a more important time for all pawnbrokers to stop riding, and start pulling, that wagon by joining the NPA. If you want to continue operating your pawn store in the ‘business as usual’ manner to which you are accustomed, then do the right thing – become a member of the National Pawnbrokers Association and help pull our wagon.