Last month the NBPCA board unanimously selected Brad Fauss to lead the association as president and CEO. After serving as interim executive director and general counsel for several months, Fauss spoke with Paybefore about priorities, what happens behind the scenes of the association, and the work that lies ahead for an industry that must continue to raise awareness on the Hill.
Paybefore: You came into dual roles at one of the busiest times for the industry, the CFPB’s prepaid NPRM. Add to that brokered deposit insurance issues, DOE’s campus card ruling and state payroll card legislation and rulemaking; there’s a lot going on. How do you keep up with the shifting priorities?
Brad Fauss: All mainstream financial services products are drawing an increasing amount of legislative and regulatory attention, and prepaid is having its day as well. While it sometimes feels like we’re playing a giant game of whack-a-mole, the NBPCA has improved its processes to better anticipate issues and quickly adapt to advocate on behalf of the prepaid industry at the state and federal levels. While our primary focus areas are federal legislative and regulatory issues, we also get involved in state issues that can materially impact our members, especially when issues arise in more influential states that are likely to be copied by others.
The addition of a D.C. office has helped our legal, policy and government relations resources become more closely aligned and provide better insights into beltway priorities. It also has helped us act nimbly to analyze and devise strategies for positively impacting legislation and regulation. These strategies include drafting comment letters and Op-Ed pieces, meeting with legislators and regulators to educate them on industry positions, developing best practices and moderating public debate. One of our most important efforts of the year is our annual Power of Prepaid conference in early June, where we bring together folks from industry, government and business to discuss the issues affecting our industry and consumer trends.
The NBPCA is the only D.C.-based organization that is solely focused on prepaid. This is our biggest strength.
Paybefore: You’re a longtime NBPCA member and an industry veteran. What’s surprised you the most since you started working full time at the association?
BF: The amount of work that takes place behind the scenes. I’ve been surprised and impressed by the amount of time and effort of our committed staff and member volunteers. Many of the issues we tackle could seriously impact our member companies, so it’s great that there’s a tremendous amount of cooperation throughout the industry to unite against threats that arise. While I understood the great value of NBPCA membership during my time as a board member, I now have a much better appreciation of the positive impact of the association as I witness how we’re sometimes able to help mold legislation and regulation before it’s even introduced.
Paybefore: Given how regulators and lawmakers were speaking about prepaid at the Power of Prepaid conference, I can tell the industry has made some headway. Policymakers are starting to understand the benefits and nuances of prepaid more clearly. But those who do, say many others on the Hill still view prepaid negatively. How can the industry make even more progress?
BF: We need to constantly and assertively explain the benefits of prepaid to a broad and diverse audience, and we need all the resources and volunteer support possible to accomplish that goal! It’s critical that we continue to educate people outside of our industry about the significant benefits of prepaid products for governmental agencies, businesses, and, most importantly, consumers. It’s no wonder that prepaid is the fastest-growing form of electronic payment. It’s up to us and our happy customers to spread the word.