As the President of the Southwest Public Policy Institute (SPPI), I was honored to have been invited as a speaker and panelist at the American Financial Services Association‘s (AFSA) 2023 Independents Conference & Expo. Along with Brett Kokinadis, the Chairman of the SPPI Board of Directors, I attended the conference at the Aria Resort & Casino in Las Vegas.
I presented the findings of our report, “No Loan For You!“, which documents the negative impact of the war on specialized emergency lending in the American Southwest, particularly on the unbanked and underbanked in New Mexico. During the keynote session, fellow panelists Laurence Wilse-Samson from Oxford Economics and Dr. Thomas W. Miller from Mississippi State University joined me in a discussion moderated by AFSA economist Tim Gill. Titled “Unicorn Hunters: Exposing the Myth of Rate Caps,” we discussed the flaws and fallacies of policies that aim to restrict interest rates on short-term loans.
I emphasized how using annual percentage rates (APRs) to scrutinize loans that last, on average, 4-6 months is dishonest and restricts the options for middle- and low-income households. I offered a unique perspective on how policymakers can promote greater competition in financial services to provide more options to those who need them the most.
Aside from the breakout session, we had the opportunity to attend informative keynote sessions, participate in thought-provoking committee meetings, and engage in networking opportunities with other professionals in the industry. The conference was a great opportunity to explore business strategies and insights from industry leaders and colleagues.
Brett and I are extremely proud to have represented SPPI at the AFSA conference and shared our findings with attendees interested in the future of emergency lending in the American Southwest. We are grateful for the opportunity to contribute to the conversation and provide valuable insights into the negative impact of the war on specialized emergency lending in our communities.