4th Annual Gala for ‘CHOP’ Announced

Save the date…
The Eckert Group presents
The 4th Annual Family Financial Centers
Gala for “CHOP”
Featuring Broadway stars Jeremiah James (The Fantastiks), Jim Shubin (The Sound of Music), Josette Newsome (Ragtime), Alicia Albright (Wicked). and many more! Including special performances by local Bucks County performers.
100% of all ticket sales and donations will go to Research at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
September 24th, 2016
5:30pm
Fred Beans Cadillac Showroom
841 N. Easton Road
Doylestown, PA 18902
Wine, Beer and Appetizers followed by the performance
Tickets are $50.oo per person.
You may purchase a full table of 8 people for $400.00
We can accept cash or checks payable to “Family Financial Centers”
You will receive a receipt for your donation for tax purposes

Check Cashing as a Career from CFNG.org

The check-cashing industry is a profitable and rapidly growing business. The no-hassle atmosphere and easily accessible financial services it offers are an attractive option to a growing number of customers.

Check-cashing outlets cash an estimated $60 billion in checks each year in the U.S. alone. That’s according to the Financial Service Centers of America, Inc. (FiSCA).

That’s considerably more than just a few decades ago.

Check-cashing outlets cash checks for a fee. Most offer other financial services as well. One of the most popular is deferred deposit, also known as “payday lending.” This is the practice of giving a short-term loan for a fee, while holding the customer’s post-dated check for deposit at a later date, usually in about two weeks.

Other services include wire transfers, phone cards, money orders and currency exchange.

Most of the clientele are in the lower-income bracket. Many of these customers cannot afford to maintain a checking account because of minimum balance requirements or high bank fees.

The main reasons for the industry’s rapid growth include:

  • Bank branch closings, especially in low-income and minority neighborhoods
  • Larger numbers of households with lower incomes
  • High bank fees
  • Increased credit card debt and bankruptcies
  • Decline of savings and loan industry

The check-cashing business is a niche business, says Mike Regimbal. He is the director of operational support for a large check-cashing company. He was attracted to this line of work because of the variety and the challenge.

“Because the industry is so new and growing so quickly, employees and managers are challenged to ‘write the book’ and invent the business as they go,” says Regimbal. “Typically, problem solving is not bound by status quo or industry standard.

“One must be creative, open-minded and inventive in getting the job done and building the business. This business comes with challenge, autonomy and the ability to really make a difference.

“The nature of the work attracts problem solvers, those with street smarts, who are willing to accept risks and grow. There has been a lot of career opportunity because of the growth of the business,” he says.

Ed Phillips is the branch manager of a check-cashing business. “When I retired as a banker, I needed something to better occupy my time. [I] can’t golf every day!” he says.

“An acquaintance of mine approached me with the idea of establishing a new payroll loan branch….This was quite a new experience to me. I was not aware that such a market niche existed. But I agreed to do so three years ago. Since then, the branch has grown.”

Phillips is able to use his banking knowledge to better serve his customers. “There is approximately a 30 percent turnover of clients. I have used my banking background to counsel my clients in financial prudence. And some have graduated to mainstream banking connections,” he says.

Phillips notes that it’s not an industry for someone without “deep pockets.” Gross profits can be good, but write-offs are common and must be factored into the business plan, he adds.

Hank Shyne is the executive director of FiSCA. He says that, just as in real estate, business productivity has everything to do with location, location, location.

Some chains are quite large, with over 1,000 stores. Some are just single mom-and-pop outlets. Profits vary considerably, depending upon such factors as state fee regulations and volume of customers. The average store typically has about three employees, and usually the entrepreneur is one of them, says Shyne.

Shyne warns of the challenges of the business. “It is a difficult business with long hours. It’s dangerous, because the commodity is cash. Many are open six days a week.”

There are two major trends influencing the check-cashing industry today, says Rebecca Marion. She is the senior account executive for FiSCA’s marketing firm.

The first major trend is the partnerships developing between banks and check-cashing companies.

After years of chasing higher-income customers, banks and credit unions are realizing that lower- and middle-income communities can be profitable. “Check cashers have proven that point as capable entrepreneurs,” Marion says.

The Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) of 1977 requires banks and credit unions to serve low- and middle-income communities. Partnering with check cashers is a convenient way for banks to offer middle- and low-income consumers their services.

“Check cashers already have the store locations, the employees, etc. — basically all the high overhead costs of business,” Marion explains. “Partnerships with check cashers allow banks and credit unions to make a profit and meet their obligation under the CRA.

“Similarly, check cashers benefit from these partnerships because they are able to offer a greater span of services to consumers that they could not do on their own.”

A second driving trend for the check-cashing industry is the use of technology. “There have been a handful of developers of automated check-cashing machines that will begin to influence the industry,” says Marion.

These machines decrease operating costs for check cashers, and offer another alternative for consumers to access their finances.

“These machines also may allow those who don’t specialize in financial services — like 7-Eleven, which is testing the technology in their Texas and Florida stores — to gain a foothold in the business,” says Marion.

Links

The Future of Check Cashers
Outlets need to offer more services to attract customers

FiSCA
Read the latest news on the industry

Family Financial Centers ranks No. 221 – Franchise Times Top 200+

NEWS

Family Financial Centers Announces Latest Rankings in Franchise Times

October 16, 2015 12:30 PM EST

Doylestown, PA (Business Wire) – October 16, 2015

Giants stumble for first time in exclusive Franchise Times Top 200+ No. 1 McDonald’s, No. 3 Subway post declines, according to new ranking Smaller brands take up slack, including Anytime Fitness, up 52%, and Dickey’s, up 48%
New online database launches, listing all 500 brands ranked by worldwide sales MINNEAPOLIS- Family Financial Centers ranks  No. 221 on the newly published Franchise Times Top 200+, the exclusive list ranking the top 500 largest U.S.-based franchise systems by worldwide sales (read profile here: http://www.franchisetimes.com/Top-200/Family-Financial-Centers). For the first time since the Franchise Times Top 200+ list began in 1999, some of the very largest brands in franchising showed year-over-year sales declines or surprisingly soft growth given the ongoing narrative of economic recovery in the United States, according to this year’s exclusive ranking by Franchise Times.
Smaller brands took up the slack, with the three fastest growers increasing sales by a remarkable 52 percent (Anytime Fitness), 48 percent (Dickey’s Barbecue) and 40 percent (Marco’s Pizza). In all, the largest 200 U.S.-based franchise systems posted $595.9 billion in worldwide sales in 2014, up 2.1 percent from the prior year, according to the Franchise Times Top 200+. They operated 480,397 units total, a 3.3 percent increase from the year before.
The new report is published in the October issue of Franchise Times, and also available in a new searchable online database, which lists all 500 of the largest U.S.-based franchises. Sales at McDonald’s fell 1.5 percent in 2014, Subway dropped a worrisome 3.2 percent and the top 10 brands taken as a whole only increased their sales by 0.6 percent, the Franchise Times Top 200+ reports. While the reasons appear to be brand specific, rather than some industry trend, they point to a significant change in the franchising status quo. By contrast, some smaller brands posted stunning sales growth, led by Anytime Fitness, with revenue up 52.6 percent, Dickey’s Barbecue Pit up 48.3 percent and Marco’s Pizza up 40.5 percent. The new report includes the top 10 fastest-growing franchises by worldwide sales and number of units. (See details below.) “Like a space shuttle’s heat shield, the industry’s leading edge is bearing the friction for an industry that remains in an opportunistic growth spurt fueled by economic growth at home, continued international expansion, and renewed interest from private equity firms and Wall Street,” according to the lead story in the project, authored by Franchise Times Assistant Editor Tom Kaiser.
The top 200’s 2.1 percent sales increase in 2014 was slimmer than in previous years; that number was 2.9 percent in 2013, 5.6 percent in 2012 and a roaring 8.8 percent in 2011. The top 200 increased its unit count by 3.3 percent in 2014, numbers that were 3.4, 3.9 and 4.3 percent in the previous three years. With no change in the ranking of the five largest franchises-in order, McDonald’s, 7-Eleven, KFC, Subway and Burger King-both McDonald’s and Subway have broken their timeworn winning streaks. Burger King posted a satisfying 5.5 percent sales increase, and Ace Hardware (up 9.7 percent) and Marriott Hotels (up 8.2 percent) also ran counter to the trend of disappointing results in the top 10. (See full details below.) The Franchise Times Top 200+ also analyzes 12 industry sectors and reports which brands are rising and falling in each category, and why. For example, key investments in research led to a 16 percent increase in sales at Right at Home, the biggest gainer in the senior services category, Franchise Times reports. Industry breakouts include four restaurant categories, plus hotel and travel, personal services, printing and shipping, and more. “The Franchise Times Top 200+ gives an extensive, detailed analysis of who’s rising and falling in franchising,” says Beth Ewen, managing editor of Franchise Times. “But more important to our readers, we dig in to report why-what’s behind the numbers, and which CEOs are making the smartest decisions for their brands. It’s a rich and unique source of information for anyone doing business in franchising.” Franchise Times Top 10 Franchises by Worldwide Sales 1.    McDonald’s: $87.8 billion sales, -1.5% from prior year; 36,258 units, 2.3% 2.    7-Eleven: $85 billion* sales, 0%; 55,801 units, 3.6% 3.    KFC: $23.4 billion* sales, 1.7%; 19,420 units, 2.9% 4.    Subway: $18.2 billion sales, -3.2%; 43,154 units, 2.0% 5.    Burger King: $17 billion sales, 4.4%; 14,372 units, 5.2% 6.    Ace Hardware: $14.3 billion sales, 9.7%; 4,794 units, -0.7% 7.    Hertz: $14.2 billion* sales, 2.2%; 11,230 units, -2.8% 8.    Pizza Hut: $12.2 billion* sales, 1.7%; 15,605 units, 4.3% 9.    Marriott Hotels: $9.6 billion* sales, 8.2%; 578 units, 3.4% 10.    Wendy’s: $9.3 billion* sales, -1.1%; 6,515 units, -0.6%      *Franchise Times estimate Franchise Times Top 10 Fastest Growers by Sales 1.    Anytime Fitness: 52.6% increase from prior year 2.    Dickey’s Barbecue Pit: 48.3% 3.    Marco’s Pizza: 40.5% 4.    Planet Fitness: 34.7% 5.    Paul Davis Restoration: 30.7% 6.    Jersey Mike’s Subs: 29.3% 7.    G.J. Gardner Homes: 25.8% 8.    Matco Tools: 25.4% 8.   Snap Fitness: 25.4%    10.   Firehouse Subs: 24.7% Franchise Times Top 10 Fastest Growers by Units 1.    Paul Davis Restoration: 31.5% increase from prior year 2.    Marco’s Pizza: 30.9% 3.    Dickey’s Barbecue Pit: 30.8% 4.    Planet Fitness: 22.6% 5.    Right At Home: 22.3% 6.    Jersey Mike’s Subs: 20.2% 7.    Krispy Kreme: 19.2% 8.    Sport Clips: 17.7% 9.    Firehouse Subs: 17.6% 10.    Jimmy John’s: 17.0% ABOUT THE FRANCHISE TIMES TOP 200+ The Franchise Times Top 200+ is the only ranking by worldwide revenue and locations of the largest 500 U.S.-based franchise brands. Published in the October issue, the Franchise Times Top 200+ also analyzes 12 industry sectors based on percentage change in sales growth, reports the 10 fastest-growing franchises by four different measures, and includes little-known stories about the biggest names in franchising. The rankings and full report, and the new searchable online database, are available at www.franchisetimes.com.
About Family Financial Centers Family Financial Centers is the “Quantum Leap” forward in the evolution of the alternative financial service center. Located in attractive suburban centers, Family Financial Centers have the systems, ambience and professionalism of a traditional bank. FFC offers a full array of financial services including check cashing, money orders, wire transfer, tax preparation services and short-term consumer loans. Family Financial Centers is committed to raising the standard for alternative financial service providers both for product offerings and the way they are delivered to the market. Our centers are conveniently located to our customer’s home or work. We are fully automated with systems that keep the average transaction time to just a few minutes. This allows our customer to have all of their financial needs taken care of conveniently and efficiently, in an environment that is upbeat, professional and friendly. Family Financial Centers is rapidly expanding through the acquisition and conversion of existing financial centers to the Family brand.

Family Financial Centers Welcomes New Owner to Whitehall, PA Location!!!!!

Family Financial Centers Announces New Owner at Whitehall, PA Location

September 4, 2015 2:30 PM EST

Doylestown, PA (Business Wire) – September 4, 2015

Family Financial Centers, LLC, is pleased to announce a new owner at the location in Whitehall, PA. The new owner is Mark Feller, of Allentown, PA. This is a new venture for Mark, but “he has the makings for an extremely successful owner/operator,” said Paul Eckert, President and Founder of Family Financial Centers. The center is located at 1228 MacArthur Blvd., Whitehall, PA 18502. The phone number is 610-820-8117.

About Family Financial Centers Family Financial Centers is the “Quantum Leap” forward in the evolution of the alternative financial service center. Located in attractive suburban centers, Family Financial Centers have the systems, ambience and professionalism of a traditional bank. FFC offers a full array of financial services including check cashing, money orders, wire transfer, tax preparation services and short-term consumer loans. Family Financial Centers is committed to raising the standard for alternative financial service providers both for product offerings and the way they are delivered to the market. Our centers are conveniently located to our customer’s home or work. We are fully automated with systems that keep the average transaction time to just a few minutes. This allows our customer to have all of their financial needs taken care of conveniently and efficiently, in an environment that is upbeat, professional and friendly. Family Financial Centers is rapidly expanding through the acquisition and conversion of existing financial centers to the Family brand.

Why Is Family Financial Centers Essential to the Economy and Working Families?

From CNNMoney (New York) September 12, 2012

10 million U.S. households don’t have bank accounts

The number of people who don’t have bank accounts is on the rise, as many households turn to alternative ways of getting cash — like prepaid cards, payday loans, pawnshops and check-cashing services.

About 8.2% of U.S. households, or nearly 10 million, lack a bank account, according to survey results released Wednesday by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. That’s up from 7.7%, or about 9 million households, in 2009.

Most commonly, households reported that they don’t have a bank account because they don’t have enough money to open and fund one, with 33% of respondents saying this is the case.

Greg McBride, senior financial analyst at Bankrate.com, said that checking accounts can be costly for some consumers — especially for those living paycheck-to-paycheck who can’t meet minimum balance requirements and get hit with fees or those who are chronic overdrafters.

“[There’s a] declining availability of free checking — and a lot of that is banks pushing out unprofitable customers,” said McBride. “And if you have a tendency to overdraft accounts and fees are $35 a pop, that’s really going to prompt you to not open an account.”

About 21% of households say they don’t need or want an account. Meanwhile, 7.5% of households said they don’t trust or like dealing with banks and 5.4% of households said that bank account fees or minimum balance requirements are too high.

Another 6.6% say they can’t open an account because they lack required identification or have a negative banking history or credit profile. And 6.4% report that they previously had an account but the bank closed it — often due to overdrafts or bounced checks — meaning that they may have a hard time opening another account in the future.

Instead of putting their money in a bank, these households are resorting to less mainstream ways of getting the money they need.

Over the last year, a quarter of households have used at least one form of alternative financial service like a money order, check cashing service, tax refund anticipation loan, pawn shop, money-transfer service or payday loan. And about 12% of households have used one of these products in the past 30 days.

Others stick to using only cash, while a growing number are opening prepaid cards. Nearly 18% of households without bank accounts reported using a prepaid card — up from 12% in 2009. That compares to about 10% of overall households using prepaid cards, which is relatively unchanged from 2009.

And while most members of the unbanked say they don’t plan to open a checking or savings account, some do intend to enter the traditional banking world — often because they want to be able to write checks and pay bills, secure their money and save for the future. About a third of unbanked households said they are “very likely” or “somewhat likely” to open an account, and the odds of wanting to open a bank account increase the more a household uses alternatives like check-cashers or prepaid debit cards.

“The high cost of many alternative financial services does take a toll,” said McBride. “On the surface, it starts as a lower cost option relative to $35 overdrafts, but once you’ve rolled over that cash advance [and get charged additional fees], it’s not a lower cost option anymore.”

Households that have had bank accounts in the past are also more likely to say they plan to open an account. This makes sense, said McBride, since most people who haven’t ever had a bank account before don’t understand the value it can provide.

Minority, unemployed, young and lower-income households tend to be the least likely to have bank accounts. Compared to the 8.2% unbanked rate among all households, 21% of blacks are unbanked, as well as 22% of foreign-born non-citizens, nearly 23% of households with unemployed members and 28% of households earning less than $15,000.

In addition to the one in 12 Americans who don’t have a bank account, there’s a group known as the underbanked. These are people who have bank accounts but who still use alternative ways of getting cash — either because it’s quicker to use an alternative or because they think bank accounts come with higher costs. About one in every five households is considered underbanked, representing 20.1%, or 24 million, U.S. households, the FDIC’s survey found. That compares to a rate of 18.2% in 2009.

Altogether, more than one in four U.S. households, or 28.3%, are either unbanked or underbanked.

The FDIC conducted its survey with the U.S. Census Bureau in June 2011, surveying nearly 45,000 households. Its last comprehensive study on the unbanked was released in 2009.

Are you unbanked? E-mail blake.ellis@turner.com to share your story about why you don’t have a bank account.

CNNMoney (New York) September 12, 2012: 4:19 PM ET