Our association was organized in June of 2000. We organized for one purpose -- to combat pending legislation that threatened to kill our business. This was after the Alabama Pawnbrokers Association promoted legislation that would devastate title pawn operators (they were supposed to represent us!). We were told by a member of the House of Representatives who is also on the House Banking Committee that if we wanted to be around this time next year we better organize and speak as one voice.
Over the last few years we have been successful in protecting and furthering the cause of our industry. We have accomplished this by developing an excellent relationship with State Banking and with key members of the Alabama legislature. In 2001 we were successful in negotiating with State Banking on new title pawn legislation (even to the point of drafting our own bill). In 2001 and 2002 we worked with a group of title loan operators in south Alabama to help diffuse a local community situation that would have had severe negative industry implications (as in legislation to eliminate our industry state-wide). As a result of our presence in Montgomery so far there has been no further negative legislation. We wish to keep it that way.
Although we are a voluntary organization, we do have substantial costs. We have hired a top-notch lobbyists and law firm to help in our efforts. We have also established an operating budget that allows us to meet our critical challenges and to protect the industry. None of this comes cheap.
We have come a long way since 2000, but we need the support of all title loan operators in the state, not just a few, to succeed. To date over 25 companies, representing close to 200 stores have joined our association. We are always fighting for survival in Montgomery. We hope you will join in our effort to protect the title pawn business in Alabama. The folks in Montgomery are keenly aware of what happened to the title pawn industry in Florida (it was killed dead). We sure donít want it to happen in Alabama!
Thank you for your interest.
Max Wood, Secretary-Treasurer
Click here to print an application to join
TPCA QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
Here are questions and comments we frequently hear regarding membership and our association. Click on the question for more information and hit the back button on your browser to return here.
Why should I join the association?
What do I get for my money?
What is the association's position on payday lending?
What is the association's position on conventional pawns?
I am a member of the Pawnbrokers Association, why join yours?
How much are dues?
Why are the dues so expensive?
Dues In Other States Are Not This Expensive
I can not afford to join.
Why join, I still benefit?
I don't like what you do.
Let me tell you what I think.
Q. Why should I join the association?
A. Our association is the only voice that speaks for the industry in Alabama. There are those who strongly oppose us and who have made attempts to eliminate our industry. Our industry will not succeed or exist unless we unite and speak up.
Whether we like it or not, the future of our business is determined by the political whims of those in Montgomery. That is just a fact. A basic truth of politics is power. Our strength as a group is directly related to the size of our organization. Every single member counts toward our power base as viewed by those in Montgomery.
It is quite simple. If those who oppose us are successful, our industry and your business will cease to exist!
Q. What do I get for my money?
A. First and foremost, you get a form of insurance by making your shared contribution to protect your business and the title pawn industry from those who wish to eliminate us. Second, you have access to shared knowledge through our members and our legal staff. There is no way you can buy this as an individual operator for the amount of dues you pay. That is all that you get.
Q. What is the association's position on payday lending?
A. We support payday lending and the association for payday lending (Modern Financial Group). We do not oppose payday lending and we discuss the status at most every meeting. Our consultants and lobbyists have extensive experience in this field and have been quite helpful in keeping us informed about payday lending issues. Likewise, we will keep our members informed of important payday lending issues since most of our members offer these types of loans.
Q. What is the association's position on conventional pawns?
A. We have no position other than to support the industry in general. Well over fifty percent of our members are conventional pawn operators who have title pawns as a part of their overall business.
Q. I am a member of the Pawnbrokers Association. Why do I need to join your association?
A. The Pawnbrokers Association represents conventional pawnshop operators. In the past they have taken the position that our industry is an adversary and they have adopted and promoted positions detrimental to the title pawn industry. They may represent the interests of the conventional pawn industry, but they clearly do not represent the interest of the title pawn industry. In a nutshell, they oppose us.
Q. Why are the dues so expensive?
A. Two reasons. First and foremost, we have hired the best representation we can find. This includes a premier group of governmental consultants who are among the best in the south and legal representation that is second to none in our industry. This is expensive. Second, our association is new and relatively small at the present. The cost of our first class representation is spread among a few. Certainly, as we grow we expect the cost per member to come down.
C. Dues In Other States Are Not This Expensive
A. We have taken the position to hire the best representatives we can find in Alabama to look after our interest -- not the cheapest. We believe it has worked well. In the over five years we have been in existence there has not been any negative legislation against our industry here. Our state has one of the best laws in the country for the industry. Look around at our neighboring states. Every single one has seen threats and attacks and most have seen regulatory changes to either eliminate the industry or implement changes which are very unfavorable to the industry. We have not had these changes. Our dues are designed to cover the costs of protecting us. It has worked. If you have better ideas, we are all ears! Come join us and work with us to make things better. Please don't sit on the sideline and let others do the work.
C. How much are dues?
A. Dues for a single store are $1,400 per year and $400 for each additional store for multiple store operators (capped at 10 stores). We will bill quarterly. For a single store operator this works out to less than $120 per month per store. This is probably less than basic business essentials such as the power bill, telephone bill, payroll and rent! And, it is just as important. Like these other essentials, if we fail as a group your business will go away!
Q. Why join, I still benefit?
A. Well, yes, that is partially correct. There are two issues to consider. First, if everyone takes that position it will not be true. Our industry is like the community in which you live (local, state and nation). There are some things the community can do as a group that you cannot do as an individual. You take from the community and you give to the community. If the community ceases to exist because of no support, you will be impacted. Our community is being seriously threatened. We are just a few. If you want to stand on the sideline while others carry on the fight alone it is a high-stakes gamble and it is certainly your decision to make. Just remember, if everyone makes the decision not to help, we will all go away. So, you see, you really will not benefit.
Secondly, there are many important operational issues that we communicate to our members that help them avoid trouble. We can not count the number of calls we receive from non-members who want advise in dealing with regulatory matters and legal matters - matters that affect their bottom line and the continuation of their business. We know of cases where these operators have lost their business because they were not aware of important and critical issues. It's a minefield out there. To go it alone is a very big gamble -- take it at the risk of your business!
C. I don't like what you do.
A. The association's officers and board have many years of experience in the industry in the state of Alabama. The Council has been successful by all measurements of success during our years of operation. We have worked with various government groups to represent title pawn interests. If you are not happy with what we have done, you owe it to yourself and to us to bring it to our attention. We may not agree with you and we may defend our position, but your voice is important. And, if you are interested in serving in a leadership position to express your views, we are even more interested in hearing from you. We need all of the help we can muster.
C. Let me tell you what I think.
Great! We want to hear from you. Just click here and send us an e-mail.
OFFICERS & DIRECTORS
President Jimmy Wiggins 678-778-5942
Vice President Bob Milner 256-355-9694
Secretary-Treasurer Max Wood 205-733-9926
Thomas Adair, Fast Cash Title Exchange, Montgomery, AL
Joyce Beatty, Express Cash, Sylacauga, AL
David Grissom, Alabama Super Pawn, Russellville, AL
Roy Hutcheson, Title Cash, Huntsville, AL
Bob Lewis, Mid City Jewelry and Pawn, Decatur, AL
Adam Weldon, Adam's Title Pawn, Foley, AL
Bob Reich, Community Loans of America, Atlanta, GA
Jeff Ingram, Galese & Ingram, Birmingham, AL 205-870-0663
Michael Sullivan, The Dakin Group, 205-241-9607