The 2013 Fisher Program was held on April 5, 2013 at the Spring Meeting of the ABA Business Law Section in Washington, DC.
The topic was: “The Consumer Finance Market as a Reflection of Growing Income Disparity in America: The Social Benefits and Costs.”
The program explored the perceived or actual economic inequalities in the consumer finance industry. In other words, are those with less asked to pay more? If the economic realities support such a disparity, how do we proceed? In a society growing ever more polarized over economic matters, have we reached a point where consumer finance can be discussed in terms of a social benefit, similar to health care or social security? This includes addressing the role of government in the credit industry. Is there a government subsidiary at the front end to ensure greater access to credit and one at the back end that may require forgiveness of debt? Integral to any discussion on social benefits is the mechanism for funding those benefits, along with the tough choices that have to be made around who qualifies and to what extent.
- Are there perceived or actual economic inequalities in the consumer finance industry?
- Are those inequities reflected in the consumer finance industry?
- Are those with less expected to pay more?
- What is the role of government?
- Should there be a government subsidy at the front end to insure access to credit and one at the back end that may require forgiveness of debt?
- What is the role of credit scoring and risk-based financing?
- How do we consider potential credit discrimination?
- How do we integrate the illusive concept of “fairness” in this analysis?
The moderator was Lawrence A. Young, Partner, Hughes Watters & Askanase LLP, Houston, TX.
The panelists were:
- J. Howard Beales III, Professor of Strategic Management and Public Policy, George Washington University School of Business, Washington, DC
- Richard P. Eckman, Partner, Pepper Hamilton LLP, Wilmington, DE
- Frank M. Salinger, Salinger Law Firm, Washington, DC
- Joel C. Winston, Partner, Hudson Cook LLP, Washington, DC
- Laura Udis, Senior Financial Services Advisor, Consumer Federation of America, Washington, DC
2013 Fisher Memorial Program – The Consumer Finance Market as a Reflection of Growing Income Disparity in America: The Social Benefits and Costs