District CAPCO Develops Micro Loan Program
Wilshire DC Partners, one of the three Certified Capital Companies (CAPCOs) in the District of Columbia, has developed a micro loan program for small businesses that do not qualify for CAPCO financing. The program will provide loans from $5,000 to $25,000, and will have an interest rate of prime plus 3 to 5 percent. Wilshire has proposed establishing a reserve fund with a $25,000 investment by the CAPCO, $25,000 by the District government and 5 percent of the loan amount by each borrower. Talks are ongoing between DISB and Wilshire on the feasibility of this plan. Neither of the other two CAPCOs has established a micro loan program.
DISB Monitors Payday Lenders
Since the Council of the District of Columbia passed legislation subjecting payday lending to the District’s 24 percent interest cap, DISB has been monitoring payday lenders’ compliance with the new law. All six firms previously authorized to engage in payday lending have indicated they would cease activity in the District rather than make loans capped at 24 percent. Four of the firms will continue to engage in traditional check cashing and the other two intend to cease all operations. DISB will begin to ensure compliance with the new statutory requirement through the use of examinations and reporting requirements.
NAIC Launches Small Business Website En Español
The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), of which DISB is a member, recently launched a comprehensive Spanish-language public education program to assist small businesses with information about business risks and insurance options. Under the banner of Insure U, the campaign includes an online education site, public service announcements and community outreach by state insurance departments. According to a 2006 report by the US Census Bureau, Latino businesses grew by 31 percent between 1997 and 2002, three times the national average for all businesses.
According to DISB Commissioner Thomas E. Hampton, small businesses are a major engine of our economy, employing thousands and generating immense economic activity. Latino small business owners need to understand the array of business risks they face, as well as how to protect themselves with the right insurance coverage. Insure U for Small Business en Español will assist those business owners to make smarter insurance decisions.
The Insure U for Small Business curriculum, available in Spanish, includes six categories of vital information to small businesses: workers’ compensation; group health and disability; business property and liability; commercial auto; group life and key person life; and home-based business insurance. After reviewing the curriculum’s helpful information, small business owners can test their knowledge using an online quiz. Upon successful completion, they can download an Insure U for Small Business en Español diploma. DISB introduced Insure U for Small Business to the District’s small businesses in July 2007; and the Insure U public education program to the public in March 2006.
For more information about Insure U, consumers can visit DISB’s website at disb.dc.gov. The Insure U for Small Business en Español curriculum is available at InsureUonline.org.
Budget Hearings for DISB
The Council’s Committee on Public Services and Consumer Affairs Chair Councilmember Mary Cheh will hold an agency performance oversight hearing on the Fiscal Year 2007-2008 budget for DISB on February 28, 4:30 pm to 6:30 pm. The Fiscal Year 2009 budget for DISB will be held April 24, 4:30 pm to 6:30 pm. Any person wishing to testify may contact Aukima Benjamin at (202) 724-4902 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
|Commissioner Hampton addresses the delegation from the United Kingdom..|
Foreign Grad Students Visit DISB
A delegation of six graduate students and two staff members from the London Metropolitan University’s graduate program in Financial Regulation and Compliance Management visited DISB January 24 for a briefing on insurance regulation in the United States and how the states collaborate and work together.
The visit, sponsored by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) and hosted by DISB Commissioner Thomas E. Hampton, gave students the opportunity to develop their knowledge of the US financial-service industry, to advance a comparative study of the US state-based insurance regulation and the United Kingdom’s single regulator system, and to become familiar with the work of the NAIC and DISB at the international level. While in Washington, DC, the group visited the National Association of Securities Dealers Inc., the Securities Exchange Commission, the Federal Reserve and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. The students are senior financial-service professionals working in “The City,” London’s famed financial center.
DISB Joins Broad Coalition to Sponsor 10th Annual National Consumer Protection Week
DISB has joined a group of federal, state and local government agencies and national consumer advocacy organizations to launch the 10th annual National Consumer Protection Week (NCPW), March 2-8, 2008. NCPW highlights consumer-education efforts in the fight against fraud in communities across the nation. NCPW 2008’s organizers are encouraging people from coast to coast to focus on the financial facts of life. It’s a sound investment: financially savvy consumers are likely to make smarter decisions about managing their money, using credit wisely and building a solid financial foundation. Education is the first line of defense for consumers to manage their money wisely and protect themselves against frauds or rip-offs, according to Commissioner Thomas E. Hampton.
As a NCPW partner organization, DISB will use this week to launch its 12-page booklets on Insure U on its website. Insure U is a national consumer education program created by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, which teaches consumers how to get smart about insurance using their various stages in life. For more information, visit DISB’s website at disb.dc.gov.