Service Centers of America (FiSCA) is a professional trade organization
representing an expanding industry of financial services providers in
local communities across the country. FiSCA was originally established
in 1987 as the National Check Cashers Association, changing its name in
2000 to reflect the evolution of the business.
centers offer a wide array of basic financial services, including check
cashing, money transfers, money orders, bill payments and small dollar
loans such as payday advances, to millions of Americans who choose not
to use financial institutions or who cannot meet the requirements
imposed by financial institutions to maintain an account.
Additionally, those living paycheck to paycheck need immediate access to
their money and literally cannot afford to wait for a check to clear the
banking system. FSCs provide the instant liquidity these
Consumers appreciate the range of “pay
as you go” services available from FiSCA members, especially
because they know there will be no hidden fees or back end charges
associated with their transactions. These consumers place a very
high value on the peace of mind, flexibility and convenience offered by
financial service centers.
The industry in the U.S. is composed of approximately 13,000
neighborhood financial service centers, which conduct more than 350
million transactions each year, providing an estimated $106 billion in
various products and services to an estimated 30 million customers. In
recent years, as a broader spectrum of consumers have sought increased
financial service convenience, including flexibility of hours and faster
delivery of financial services, community-based financial service
centers have proliferated.
The Evolution of the Financial
Service Center Industry
From its inception in the 1930s, largely
as a response to the banking practices of the Depression era and changes
in employer payment practices, the financial service center industry has
evolved to become the pivotal link to the payments system for millions
of Americans. Our customers opt for convenience or reasons of personal
preference to use our locations in addition to, or instead of, the
traditional banking system.
Just as many consumers prefer the
convenience of specialty stores to large department stores, many
consumers prefer the efficiency and convenience of financial service
centers over banks. The convenience factor is supported by the fact that
nearly 60 percent of FiSCA member customers maintain a savings or
checking account at a bank or credit union. They prefer transacting at
FiSCA member stores because of their neighborhood locations and longer
hours of operation, and the friendly service they receive.
Emergence of a National Association
Representing Financial Service Centers
The growth of the industry
was stimulated, in part, by the passage of the Bank Deregulation Act of
1980, which removed deposit rate ceilings and led to explicit pricing
for bank deposit services. Faced with a new banking environment,
consumers demanded increased convenience and lower costs in fulfilling
their financial services needs. As a result, community-based check
cashing centers which provide more convenient access to financial
services became increasingly utilized. In 1987, the National Check
Cashers Association was established to represent the members of this
growing industry. Increases in fees charged by traditional banks have
caused many Americans to look for less costly, fee based options that do
not require customers to maintain a large average daily balance in order
to receive financial services.
To reflect the industry's growing
and diversifying role, the organization voted to change the
association's name to the Financial Service Centers of America (FiSCA),
effective, January 1, 2000. Today, FiSCA, representing more than 7,000
individual financial service centers across the United States, is the
industry’s leading voice on legislative, regulatory and business
issues. Our members range from small companies with one location,
to publicly traded national companies with hundreds of stores.
An Evolving Industry Offering Expanded
Community Financial Services
The financial service center
industry started with a simple idea. Provide an easy way for hard
working people to convert paychecks into cash within a short walk from
their homes or jobs. Over the years our businesses have broadened to
offer a wide array of financial services. In addition to check cashing
customers now count on FiSCA members for money orders, electronic bill
payments, money transfers, small dollar, short- term loans (e.g. payday
advances), ATM access, government benefit and payroll payments, tax
preparation, prepaid debit cards, deposit acceptance services, and
numerous other financial and consumer services.
FiSCA members are
continually expanding the roster of services offered to meet customer
needs. Just as the services offered by the industry have expanded over
time, the markets we serve have broadened. Traditionally FiSCA members
were concentrated in lower income neighborhoods, serving and hiring
residents of these communities. More recently as middle income consumers
have demanded more convenient financial services, financial service
centers have expanded into their communities.
Watch the FiSCA at 20
2007 marked the 20th Anniversary of FiSCA. To
mark the occasion, FiSCA commissioned a commemorative video which was
shown at the 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition. Watch the video on YouTube!