Vetoed Bill Means Less Protection for Financially Struggling Consumers, Says Association of Settlement Companies

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Debt settlement industry will continue to work with Missouri governor, AG, legislature

However, SB 216 paralleled existing law for debt adjusters in Missouri, and we believed that SB 216 provided a good foundation from which to build. Nevertheless, TASC will work with the governor's office in coming up with a strong bill next year.

The Association of Settlement Companies (TASC) announced today it will continue to work toward meaningful regulatory reform to protect Missouri consumers who are wrestling with burdensome debt. The pledge comes on the heels of Gov. Jay Nixon's recent veto of Senate Bill 216.

TASC, which promotes regulatory reform of its own industry, helped draft language and promote SB 216 with the ultimate goal of protecting consumers. Because of Gov. Nixon's veto, the industry will continue to be unregulated in Missouri without any specific requirements for debt settlement companies.

"We understand and agree with Gov. Nixon's concerns about protecting consumers," Wesley Young, TASC's legislative director, said. "However, SB 216 paralleled existing law for debt adjusters in Missouri, and we believed that SB 216 provided a good foundation from which to build. Nevertheless, TASC will work with the governor's office in coming up with a strong bill next year."

SB 216 included regulation specific to debt settlement companies in limiting fees and requiring that they not be collected upfront but rather be spread out over a period of time, typically 18 months.

Current debt adjuster law applies only to those companies that "collect funds from a debtor and delivers such funds to the debtor's creditors." Under TASC's standards, member companies are prohibited from receiving or holding monies that are to be paid to creditors.

TASC also will work with the Missouri Attorney General's office.

"We share Attorney General Chris Koster's concern about bad players in the industry," Young said. "That is why we support regulation."

With TASC's efforts, a number of other states this year already passed laws that include language similar to Missouri's SB 216.

About The Association of Settlement Companies
The Association of Settlement Companies (TASC) promotes fair business practices, consumer protection and industry standards for the debt settlement industry. TASC, founded in 2005, serves to protect consumers through an organization seal that represents best practices and standards of reputable companies. The organization also protects its member companies through lobbying efforts at the state and national levels, as well as awareness initiatives to educate consumers on debt settlement as a financial solution. All TASC member companies pledge compliance to strict association bylaws governing business practices and ethics. For more information, visit tascsite.org.    

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Ann Marie Austin
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