Off Topic-Reflections & Inspiration & a Los Angeles Gangster

payday loansWe all need a shot of inspiration now and then. Particularly in the consumer financial
services space. We take daily “beatings” from the media, regulators, consumers… So
listen-up and I promise this will shine a light on any challenges you face today!

The small dollar loan industry has been good to me! I’ve been vacationing in France
the past 5 weeks. Don’t misunderstand! I love this game. For me, the thrill of
playing in our industry beats everything!

Retirement = Rust

But thanks to the Internet, Skype, my network and friends, I was never on the side lines.

So, my first day back home in California today, I did what? I listened to an interview
of Ryan Blair. Ryan Blair is an ex-Los Angeles gang member who did almost $700M
dollars in sales last year!

Ryan is 36 years old. He wrote a book entitled, “Nothing to Lose, Everything to Gain:
How I Went from Gang Member to Multimillionaire Entrepreneur.”

Now  you don’t have to read the book. But do listen to the free audio interview by
Ken Rutkowsky (no slouch himself) on Business Rock Stars at:

You can email a quick thank you to me at:

If you don’t improve yourself, your business and the lives of those around you as a result
of investing 30 minutes of your time listening, I’ll give you your money back :o)

Jer – Trihouse
For the latest:


Annual Payday Loan Convention – Fisca

Let’s discuss the annual payday loan and check cashing convention at the Mandalay Hotel in Las Vegas, organized by FISCA, the Financial Service Centers of America. This was certainly one of the most positive, uplifting FISCA Conventions I’ve attended in many years! For the most part, the “doom and gloom” of past FISCA Conventions simply was not present; really, really nice!

annual payday loan FISCA Convention

annual payday loan FISCA Convention

The dominant tone throughout the Payday Loan Convention was one of optimism; that we will survive and prosper. Sure… our products and services must evolve, but regulators and others who think they know what’s best for our customers cannot regulate into oblivion consumer demand for our products! Our customers desire and NEED US!!

Attendance was good. There were many, many exhibitors. The workshops were improved and audience participation was much better than at previous conventions.

Regarding the workshops, we were pleasantly surprised that Internet topics were included. FISCA has come a LONG WAY since the early 2000’s when I was told by a FISCA Board member I was an “Internet bandit and could look forward to a prison sentence.” (Seriously folks! Even though we were using the “payday loan state licensing model” at the time!!)

Anyway…on to the Financial Service Centers of America Convention.

General Sessions:
Bob Wolfberg, President of PLS Financial Services, gave a really exceptional presentation; extremely upbeat and positive! He received a thundering round of applause and deservedly so. Inspirational!! The future is ours! Our Industry will not only survive but PROSPER MIGHTILY!! We’ll attempt to get a copy of his presentation for your review in the future!!

Our friend, Hillary Miller, also participated in the FISCA General Sessions! You may recall the wonderfully positive piece he wrote for the Financial Services Industry that appeared on our Payday Loan Industry Bog here: “Impact of Title X, the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection.”

Additionally, other speakers participating in the General Sessions, discussed industry lobbying efforts, compliance issues, our customer demographics, check discontinuance, marketing research, FinCEN, money transfer, risk management, Internet and mobile payments and much, much more! (We’ll get into details over the coming weeks.)

FISCA Workshops are typically moderated by people “with an axe to grind” because they generally have a product or service to sell. So, we were delighted to note that many moderators and presenters appeared to be present simply to provide their experiences, knowledge, and thoughts on our industry. Some really good questions and comments from the audience added to the presentations.

FISCA workshops covered the gamut from collections, marketing, Internet strategies, revenue builders, industry best practices, compliance, bank relationships, new products and services implementation, harnessing in-store and mobile marketing, employer-employee relationships, store operations and a lot more!

Again, we’ll discuss the specifics of several of the Workshops in future Newsletters. (NOTE: new strategies, tactics and services introduced at the FISCA Convention are already included in our latest version of our Payday Loan Startup & Training Manual and in our “Payday Loan Internet Report“)

Exhibit Hall:
Of course, there was the “usual cast of characters”… software providers, lead generators, insurance, bill pay, stored value, prepaid and debit card providers, employee verification, check cashing solutions, store layout, signage, safes, etc. You don’t want to overlook these companies simply because they’ve been around a while. They are constantly tweaking and improving their products and services. And… you can learn from them! Talk… ask… discuss… comment… learn… you may very well prosper as a result.

Interestingly, not only are there NEW payday loan, car title loan and check cashing software provider offerings BUT the existing software providers have improved their offerings. This is a big deal! These huge investments of time and money in, not only improving existing products and services for our industry, but the addition of new players is a major bet on our future by some very sophisticated investors and entrepreneurs! This bodes well for the future of ALL of us!

Finally, we can’t fail to mention a few new, or vastly improved, products and services for the financial services industry having exhibit booths in the FISCA Exhibit Hall. Scrap gold buying and car title loan services are just two of many we’ll discuss in future Newsletters to enable you to not only survive but profit substantially in micro-lending.

So, for specifics… look for our future Newsletters in the form of emails or check our Blog regularly at to gain access to new and exciting products, services, tactics and strategies for serving your customers and profiting in payday loans, car title loans, check cashing and scrap gold buying.


Payday Loan Convention – FISCA 2010

Just a quick note. If you can’t make it to this year’s annual Payday Loan Convention in Las Vegas, we’ll be there for you!

FISCA (Financial Service Centers of America), has their 2010 Annual Convention scheduled at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas Oct 1 – 4, 2010.

We’ve been attending these payday loan and check cashing conventions since 1997. This year should be interesting in light of the new laws, proposed laws, evolving products, the current economy and more.

As usual, we’ll be networking, attending workshops and meeting many of our clients.

DON’T WORRY! If you’re not able to attend, we’ll cover it for you!

Simply look for our next several free Newsletters in your inbox over the next few weeks. We’ll help you remain up to date with the latest news and developments in our Industry.

And of course, we’ll be updating our training materials again as a result. (Our very popular Payday Loan Training Manual is currently Version 17.1.)



Payday Loans and the Hypocrisy of Their Competitors

Texas Credit Union League Headline:

“Texas Regulator Bid To Cap Payday Loan Fees Comes At Bad Time.”

I attended my first national payday loan convention in 1997. As long as I can remember, the payday loan product has been attacked by banks and credit unions. After all, they want our customers! In the past they’ve simply failed to figure out how to properly serve our customer with the right products and still make money.

In Texas, as in many locales, credit unions are aggressively developing products to compete with payday loans; the majority of which are offered under the CSO Model ( Credit Services Organization ). In a nutshell, under the CSO Model, a payday loan company simply fills out a one page form required to register as a CSO along with a bond and they’re in business. (There are a few other details…like forming two entities “at an arms-length-relationship” to (1)act as a “CSO and (2) a “Lender.”)

Anyway… a few Texas Credit Unions have launched a new payday loan product just as the Texas State Credit Union Department has proposed new limits on fees for payday loans.The Texas State Credit Union proposal would limit fees at $20 for unsecured loans less than $1000 for a maximum of 6 months. Additionally the new credit union proposal would limit CU’s to a maximum of 20% of their portfolio.

Now, you readers in Texas don’t need to freak-out! This proposal only relates to Texas credit Unions, not the CSO Model. It’s still an interesting read if I do say so myself!

So… I was incredulous when I read this statement by Jeff Huffman, chief lobbyist for the Texas CU League, “We think that credit unions’ boards and management are really in the best position to determine the fees based on their individual situations.” He continued by saying, “Market conditions vary across the state. We don’t think the regulator should get involved [in setting the fees].”

“They ought to get off the backs of credit unions,” he said. “It’s just a rule that’s unnecessary.”


Whoa! Credit unions and banks spend tons of cash lobbying against payday loan companies while extolling the virtues of protecting our customer from “a cycle of debt” and “poor disclosure.” They would like nothing better than to eliminate payday loan companies. They do their best to regulate us out of business by lobbying for legislation on both a state and federal level.

Those of us in the payday loan industry respond by simply pointing out that our product is in huge demand. Our customers continue to support us by choosing our payday loan products. They choose us because we fully disclose exactly what our product will cost them and when our product is appropriate. If you, the reader doubt this, go into a typical payday loan store and look! In spite of what the media reports, we do fully disclose EVERYTHING; unlike bank, credit union and credit card NSF fees, overdraft fees, late fees… Who can understand all their fees?

Sorry about the rant… I go crazy when our competitors attempt to portray us as loan sharks and themselves as protectors of the people! As they say, “Follow the money.”

So… “Texas Regulator Bid To Cap Payday Loan Fees Comes At Bad Time”? All I can say is, “Poor babies!”

Check back with for updates on this proposal. Page 14.


Payday Loans & Freedom of Choice

There are a lot of great posts regarding payday loans, Ohio, big brother issues and more over at .

Here’s an example and we recommend you head over there for more pros and cons on payday loans and big brother…

Casey had an interesting insight:
“Payday loans are faulty product deserving of some common sense regulation.” (1) PD loan are already regulated in Ohio. This new “law” limits PD lenders from operating and extending loans by SIGNIFICANTLY cutting their profits per loan. (more on that later)

“The free market works best when there is freedom and choice.” 2) ABSOLUTELY 100% agree with this statement! Financial Freedom of Choice is a BASIC FUNDAMENTAL RIGHT!

“The payday industry may shroud itself in the mantra of choice, but in reality the people trapped by payday loans have few choices. If they did, they’d probably looking for an alternative to a 391% interest loan. ” (3) Do you know why the typical PD customer makes the CHOICE to use our services? B/c we are cheaper than bouncing a check (released yesterday from– ” A bounced check costs an average of $28.95, up 2.5 percent from a year ago, according to the survey. (AP) WHAT?? How crazy is that??!)
Customers choose to borrow from a PD lender b/c we offer a better rate/fee. $15 per $100 borrowed. So if I have a $100 check that I know will bounce— do I decide to suck it up and pay my bank’s charge of $28.95 OR do I look at my options and decide to get a PD loan for almost exactly half my bounced check fee…. Hmmmm…. this is a tough one…. gee>>> I think I’ll GO WITH THE PD LOAN!!!!!

Banks are notorious for their EXPENSIVE hidden charges, late fees, bounced check fees, daily fees, minimum balance fees, etc. And the average profit margin for the top 10 banks in the US are 18.5% compared to the top 5 payday lending companies in the country who are at 6.6%!! (PDF- source) And oh IHOP is at 12.6%. They are sure making a killing off our eggs and pancakes!! So really now, who exactly is profiting more?

But why haven’t banks and credit unions stepped up to write a similiar PD loan product?? Let’s look at why….
Consider the difficulties payday lenders face to stay in business under a law that limits their interest rates to 1.08% for a two-week loan. That is, if you take the new 28% yearly interest rate and divide it by 26, you get 1.08%, which is what lenders will be allowed to charge per every $100 they loan. Under the old Ohio law, they could charge up to $15 per $100 borrowed, or 15%.
So….. in case you are missing the point….
28% on a SHORT TERM LOAN IS NOT PROFITABLE!!!! For any business!

And oh yeah it’s not 391%. PD loans are 2 week loans, not 52+ week loans. Equating them with an annual loan product is absurd. If you rent a car at Hertz for 3 days, you pay $29.99/day…. Yet NO ONE computes what that cost would be annually b/c it’s only intended to be for a SHORT TERM!!