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WASHINGTON-The Financial Service Centers of America (FiSCA), the nation’s trade association for financial service centers, has developed a new 14 point Ethical Code of Conduct for payday lending to military personnel. The group also released a new brochure for its members, armed forces personnel and their families concerning payday advances, financial literacy and credit counseling. FiSCA has also asked its members to suspend or defer debt collection from military personnel in combat areas or support units during the assignment. FiSCA’s brochure also highlights the 14-point code of ethics: 1. Commitment to conduct all payday advances (“PDA’s”) to military personnel with sensitivity to the unique circumstances in which they and their families are situated. 2. Immediate suspension or deferral of collection activity involving military personnel stationed or assigned to a combat area or in a combat support unit during the term of that assignment or posting. 3. Immediate deferral for a period of at least 30 days of collection activity involving National Guard or Reserve military personnel when there is an unanticipated call-up of their units. If their units are stationed in a combat area or in combat support, collection activity must be suspended or deferred throughout the posting and for a reasonable period, of at least 30 days, after it concludes. 4. FiSCA members will voluntarily suspend the accrual of all interest charges for any PDA debt in which interest is reduced under the Service members Civil Relief Act and while that statute is applicable. 5. Reasonable inquiry into the ability of military personnel to repay PDA’s. 6. Making available financial literacy materials to military personnel borrowers. 7. Making available reasonable payment plans to military personnel and strict adherence by FiSCA members to the terms of those payment plans. 8. Prompt response and cooperation with armed services financial counselors seeking to establish payment plans for military personnel in connection with PDA agreements. 9. Curbs on collection practices that might adversely affect the service status of military personnel borrowers, including collection activities that involve notifying superior officers or the service branch in which the borrower is enrolled. 10. Absolute prohibitions on wage garnishments or levies on the salaries or compensation of military personnel. 11. Making available to military personnel borrowers any credit counseling pamphlets developed and periodically updated by FiSCA, including in consultation with military authorities. 12. Adherence to any protocols developed by FiSCA or its applicable state affiliates for distributing referral information to PDA borrowers who are military personnel to military sponsored credit counseling or generally available credit counseling agencies. 13. Distribution of access information to FiSCA’s Web site on which is posted pertinent contact information and FiSCA’s Ethical Code of Conduct for Lending to Military Personnel. 14. Absolute commitment to disseminate the FiSCA Ethical Code of Conduct among all employees providing PDA related services and monitoring their comprehension/ implementation of the Code’s provisions.

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