Consumer Finance Companies Activate Customer Assistance Initiatives

Member companies of the American Financial Services Association (AFSA), whether in auto finance or traditional installment lending, are reaching out to customers who are adversely affected by the federal government shutdown, the longest shutdown in U.S. history.

Based on a poll AFSA conducted this week with members, consumer finance companies have activated emergency response initiatives including loan extensions, deferrals and fee-free account actions to help their customers during circumstances beyond their control.

In addition to federal employees across the country, lenders say that non-governmental employee contractors and local business owners are also impacted by the shutdown.

Some companies are treating this situation in the same manner as they would treat customers affected by natural disasters like hurricanes or wild fires. They are offering deferrals, no late fees and special reporting codes to credit bureaus so that the affected customers credit report does not show a customer as delinquent.

Bottom line, every customer has a unique financial situation, therefore, we are good at working with customers to create a plan outside of their normal payment schedule, if needed, said a spokesperson for an auto lender. We have a lot of experience in dealing with these types of events, and we have learned you just have to talk to the customers and discuss options that fit their needs

Another lender with a segment of its customer base serving in the military said it would restructure loans by offering a modification of terms, extensions or refinancing depending on individual situations.

Based in Washington, D.C., the American Financial Services Association (AFSA), now in its 103rd year, is the national trade association for consumer credit, committed to protecting access to credit and consumer choice. Its 450 members include traditional installment lenders, vehicle finance/leasing companies, consumer and commercial finance companies, mortgage lenders and servicers, payment card issuers, industrial banks and industry suppliers. For more information, visit

Dan Bucherer
Manager, Communications

Jack Ferry
Vice President, Communications