SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20549
ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2019
TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the transition period from __________ to ___________
Commission file number 001-10960
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)
(State or other jurisdiction of incorporation or organization)
(I.R.S. Employer Identification No.)
1600 West 7th Street
(Address of principal executive offices)
(Registrant’s telephone number, including area code)
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
Title of Each Class
Name of Each Exchange on Which Registered
Common Stock, par value $.01 per share
The Nasdaq Stock Market
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act:
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act.
☒Yes ☐ No
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Act.
☐Yes ☒ No
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days. ☒Yes ☐ No
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§232.405) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit and post such files). ☒Yes ☐ No
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer or a smaller reporting company or an emerging growth company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” “smaller reporting company” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.
Large accelerated filer
Smaller reporting company
Emerging growth company
If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act. ☐
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Act). ☐Yes ☒ No
As of June 28, 2019, the aggregate market value of the registrant’s common stock held by non-affiliates of the registrant was approximately $3,102,000,000 based on the closing price as reported on the Nasdaq Stock Market.
As of January 28, 2020, there were 41,997,062 shares of common stock outstanding.
DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE
Portions of the registrant’s definitive Proxy Statement relating to its 2020 Annual Meeting of Stockholders to be held on or about June 4, 2020, is incorporated by reference in Part III, Items 10, 11, 12, 13 and 14 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
For the Year Ended December 31, 2019
TABLE OF CONTENTS
CAUTIONARY STATEMENT REGARDING RISKS AND UNCERTAINTIES THAT MAY AFFECT FUTURE RESULTS
This annual report contains forward-looking statements about the business, financial condition and prospects of FirstCash, Inc. and its wholly owned subsidiaries (together, the “Company”). Forward-looking statements, as that term is defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, can be identified by the use of forward-looking terminology such as “believes,” “projects,” “expects,” “may,” “estimates,” “should,” “plans,” “targets,” “intends,” “could,” “would,” “anticipates,” “potential,” “confident,” “optimistic” or the negative thereof, or other variations thereon, or comparable terminology, or by discussions of strategy, objectives, estimates, guidance, expectations and future plans. Forward-looking statements can also be identified by the fact these statements do not relate strictly to historical or current matters. Rather, forward-looking statements relate to anticipated or expected events, activities, trends or results. Because forward-looking statements relate to matters that have not yet occurred, these statements are inherently subject to risks and uncertainties.
While the Company believes the expectations reflected in forward-looking statements are reasonable, there can be no assurances such expectations will prove to be accurate. Security holders are cautioned that such forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties. Certain factors may cause results to differ materially from those anticipated by the forward-looking statements made in this annual report. Such factors may include, without limitation, the risks, uncertainties and regulatory developments discussed and described in (1) this annual report, including the risks described in Part I, Item IA, “Risk Factors” hereof, and (2) other reports filed with the SEC. Many of these risks and uncertainties are beyond the ability of the Company to control, nor can the Company predict, in many cases, all of the risks and uncertainties that could cause its actual results to differ materially from those indicated by the forward-looking statements. The forward-looking statements contained in this annual report speak only as of the date of this annual report, and the Company expressly disclaims any obligation or undertaking to report any updates or revisions to any such statement to reflect any change in the Company’s expectations or any change in events, conditions or circumstances on which any such statement is based, except as required by law.
Item 1. Business
The Company is a leading operator of retail pawn stores in the U.S. and Latin America. As of December 31, 2019, the Company had 2,679 locations, consisting of 1,056 stores in 24 U.S. states and the District of Columbia, 1,548 stores in all 32 states in Mexico, 54 stores in Guatemala, 13 stores in El Salvador and eight stores in Colombia.
The Company’s primary business is the operation of full-service pawn stores, also known as “pawnshops,” which make pawn loans secured by personal property such as jewelry, electronics, tools, appliances, sporting goods and musical instruments. Pawn loans can be quickly and easily accessed by customers who often have limited access to traditional credit products. Pawn stores also retail value-priced consumer products acquired through collateral forfeitures on forfeited pawn loans and direct purchases of such merchandise from the general public. For the year ended December 31, 2019, 99% of the Company’s revenues were derived from pawn operations.
The Company organizes its operations into two reportable segments: the U.S. operations segment and the Latin America operations segment. The U.S. operations segment consists of all pawn and consumer loan operations in the U.S. and the Latin America operations segment consists of all pawn operations in Latin America, which includes operations in Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador and Colombia. For the year ended December 31, 2019, 64% of total revenues were derived from the U.S. and 36% were derived from Latin America. The Company’s strategy is to focus on growing its pawn operations in the U.S. and Latin America through a combination of new store openings and strategic acquisition opportunities as they arise.
The Company was formed as a Texas corporation in July 1988. In April 1991, the Company reincorporated as a Delaware corporation. On September 1, 2016, the Company completed a merger with Cash America International, Inc. (“Cash America”), whereby Cash America merged with and into a wholly owned subsidiary of the Company (the “Merger”).
The Company’s principal executive offices are located at 1600 West 7th Street, Fort Worth, Texas 76102, and its telephone number is (817) 335-1100. The Company’s primary website is www.firstcash.com.
Pawn stores are neighborhood-based retail locations that buy and sell pre-owned consumer products such as jewelry, electronics, tools, appliances, sporting goods and musical instruments. Pawn stores also provide a quick and convenient source of small secured consumer loans, also known as pawn loans, to unbanked, under-banked and credit-challenged customers. Pawn loans are safe and affordable non-recourse loans for which the customer has no legal obligation to repay. The Company does not attempt to collect on delinquent loans, does not take legal actions against its customers, does not blacklist its customers, nor does it issue any negative external credit reporting, but rather relies only on the resale of the pawn collateral for recovery. The customers of pawnshops are typically value-conscious consumers and/or borrowers who are not effectively or efficiently served by traditional lenders such as banks, credit unions, credit card providers or other small loan providers.
The pawn industry in the U.S. is well established, with the highest concentration of pawn stores located in the Southeast, Midwest and Southwest regions of the country. The operation of pawn stores is governed primarily by state laws and accordingly, states that maintain regulations most conducive to profitable pawn operations have historically seen the greatest concentration of pawn stores. Management believes the U.S. pawn industry, although mature, remains highly fragmented. The two publicly traded companies in the pawn industry, which includes the Company, currently operate approximately 1,600 of the estimated 12,000 to 14,000 pawn stores in the U.S. The Company believes the majority of pawnshops in the U.S. are owned by individuals operating five or fewer locations.
Mexico and Other Latin American Markets
The majority of pawn stores in Latin America are smaller than U.S. pawn stores, with limited retail space and pawn loans typically collateralized by gold jewelry or small electronics. In contrast, a majority of the Company’s pawn stores in Latin America are larger format, full-service stores, similar to the U.S. stores, which lend on a wide array of collateral and have a larger retail sales floor. Accordingly, competition in Latin America with the Company’s larger format, full-service pawn stores is limited. A large
percentage of the population in Mexico and other countries in Latin America is unbanked or under-banked and has limited access to traditional consumer credit. The Company believes there is significant opportunity for further expansion in Mexico and other Latin American countries due to the large potential consumer base and limited competition from other large format, full-service pawn store operators.
The Company’s long-term business plan is to grow revenues and income by opening new (“de novo”) retail pawn locations, acquiring existing pawn stores in strategic markets and increasing revenue and operating profits in existing stores. In pursuing its business strategy, the Company seeks to establish clusters of several stores in specific geographic areas with favorable regulations and customer demographics and to achieve certain economies of scale relative to management and supervision, pricing and purchasing, information and accounting systems and security/loss prevention.
The Company has opened or acquired 1,918 pawn stores in the last five years, including 815 pawn stores acquired in connection with the Cash America Merger, with net store additions growing at a compound annual store growth rate of 22% over this period. The Company intends to open or acquire additional stores in locations where management believes appropriate demand and other favorable conditions exist. The following table details stores opened and acquired over the five-year period ended December 31, 2019:
Year Ended December 31,
U.S. operations segment:
Merged Cash America locations
New locations opened
Latin America operations segment:
New locations opened
Merged Cash America locations
New locations opened
For additional information on store count activity, see “Locations and Operations” below.
New Store Openings
The Company plans to continue opening new pawn stores, primarily in Latin America. The Company typically opens new stores in under-developed markets and neighborhoods, especially where customer demographics are favorable and competition is limited or restricted. After a suitable location has been identified and a lease and the appropriate licenses are obtained, a new store can typically be open for business within six to 12 weeks. The investment required to open a new location includes store operating cash, inventory, funds for pawn loans, leasehold improvements, store fixtures, security systems, computer equipment and other start-up costs.
Due to the fragmented nature of the pawn industry, the Company believes attractive acquisition opportunities will continue to arise from time to time in both Latin America and the U.S. Before making an acquisition, management assesses the demographic characteristics of the surrounding area, considers the number, proximity and size of competing stores, and researches federal, state and local regulatory standards. Specific pawn store acquisition criteria include an evaluation of the volume of merchandise sales and pawn transactions, outstanding customer pawn loan balances, historical pawn yields, merchandise sales margins, pawn loan redemption rates, the condition and quantity of inventory on hand, licensing restrictions or requirements and the location, condition and lease terms of the facility.
Enhance Productivity of Existing and Newly Opened Stores
The primary factors affecting the profitability of the Company’s existing store base are the volume and gross profit of merchandise sales, the volume of and yield on pawn loans and store operating expenses. To encourage customer traffic, which management believes is a key determinant of a store’s success, the Company has taken several steps to distinguish its stores and to make customers feel more comfortable and secure. In addition to a clean and secure physical store facility, the stores’ exteriors typically display attractive and distinctive signage similar to that used by contemporary specialty retailers.
The Company has employee-training programs that promote customer service, productivity and professionalism. The Company utilizes a proprietary computer information system that provides fully-integrated functionality to support point-of-sale retail operations, real-time merchandise valuations, loan-to-value calculations, inventory management, customer recordkeeping, loan management, compliance and control systems and employee compensation. Each store is connected on a real-time basis to a secure data center that houses the centralized databases and operating systems. The information system provides management with the ability to continuously monitor store transactions and operating results.
The Company maintains a well-trained internal audit staff that conducts regular store audits to test compliance of regulatory, financial and operational controls. Management believes the current operating and financial controls and systems are adequate for the Company’s existing store base and can accommodate reasonably foreseeable growth in the near term.
Services Offered by the Company
Pawn Merchandise Sales
The Company’s pawn merchandise sales are primarily retail sales to the general public from its pawn store locations. The items sold generally consist of pre-owned consumer products such as jewelry, electronics, tools, appliances, sporting goods and musical instruments. The Company also melts certain quantities of non-retailable scrap jewelry and sells the gold, silver and diamonds in the commodity markets. Merchandise sales accounted for approximately 69% of the Company’s revenue during 2019.
Merchandise inventory is acquired primarily through forfeited pawn loan collateral and, to a lesser extent, through purchases of used goods directly from the general public. Merchandise acquired by the Company through forfeited pawn loan collateral is carried in inventory at the amount of the related pawn loan, exclusive of any accrued service fees. The Company also acquires limited quantities of new or refurbished general merchandise inventories directly from wholesalers and manufacturers.
The Company does not provide direct financing to customers for the purchase of its merchandise, but does allow customers to purchase merchandise on an interest-free “layaway” plan. Should the customer fail to make a required payment pursuant to a layaway plan, the item is returned to inventory and all or a portion of previous payments are typically forfeited to the Company. Interim payments from customers on layaway sales are recorded as deferred revenue and subsequently recorded as retail merchandise sales revenue when the merchandise is delivered to the customer upon receipt of final payment or when previous payments are forfeited to the Company.
Retail sales are seasonally highest in the fourth quarter associated with holiday shopping and, to a lesser extent, in the first quarter associated with tax refunds in the U.S.
Pawn Lending Activities
The Company’s stores make pawn loans, which are typically small, secured loans to its customers in order to help them meet short-term cash needs. All pawn loans are collateralized by personal property such as jewelry, electronics, tools, appliances, sporting goods and musical instruments. The pledged collateral provides the only security to the Company for the repayment of the loan. The Company does not investigate the creditworthiness of the borrower, primarily relying instead on the marketability and sales value of pledged goods as a basis for its credit decision. Pawn loans are non-recourse loans and a customer does not have a legal obligation to repay a pawn loan. There is no collections process and the decision to not repay the loan will not affect the customer’s credit score.
At the time a pawn loan transaction is entered into, an agreement or contract, commonly referred to as a “pawn ticket,” is delivered to the borrower for signature that sets forth, among other items, the borrower’s name and identification information, a description of the pledged goods, amount financed, pawn service fee, maturity date, total amount that must be paid to redeem the pledged goods on the maturity date and the annual percentage rate.
The term of a pawn loan is typically 30 days plus an additional grace period of 14 to 90 days, depending on geographic markets and local regulations. Pawn loans may be either paid in full with accrued pawn loan fees and service charges or, where permitted by law, may be renewed or extended by the customer’s payment of accrued pawn loan fees and service charges. If a pawn loan is not repaid prior to the expiration of the grace period, the pawn collateral is forfeited to the Company and transferred to inventory at a value equal to the principal amount of the loan, exclusive of accrued service fees. Pledged property is held in a secured, non-public warehouse area of the pawn store for the term of the loan and the grace period, unless the loan is repaid earlier. In certain markets, the Company also provides pawn loans collateralized by automobiles, which remain in the Company’s possession or in limited cases, remain in the possession of the customer. The Company does not record pawn loan losses or charge-offs because the amount advanced becomes the carrying cost of the forfeited collateral that is to be recovered through the merchandise sales function described above.
The pawn loan fees are typically calculated as a percentage of the pawn loan amount based on the size, duration and type of collateral of the pawn loan and generally range from 4% to 25% per month, as permitted by applicable law. As required by applicable law, the amounts of these charges are disclosed to the customer on the pawn ticket. Pawn loan fees accounted for approximately 30% of the Company’s revenue during 2019.
The amount the Company is willing to finance for a pawn loan is primarily based on a percentage of the estimated retail value of the collateral. There are no minimum or maximum pawn loan to fair market value restrictions in connection with the Company’s lending activities. In order to estimate the value of the collateral, the Company utilizes its proprietary point-of-sale and loan management system to recall recent selling prices of similar merchandise in its own stores. The basis for the Company’s determination of the retail value also includes such sources as precious metals spot markets, catalogs, blue books, online auction sites and retailer advertisements. These sources, together with the employees’ experience in selling similar items of merchandise in particular stores, influence the determination of the estimated retail value of such items. The Company does not utilize a standard or mandated percentage of estimated retail value in determining the amount to be financed. Rather, the employee has the authority to set the percentage for a particular item and to determine the ratio of pawn loan amount to estimated sales value with the expectation that, if the item is forfeited to the pawnshop, its subsequent sale should yield a gross profit margin consistent with the Company’s historical experience. The recovery of the principal and realization of gross profit on sales of inventory is dependent on the Company’s initial assessment of the property’s estimated retail value. Improper over-assessment of the retail value of the collateral in the lending function can result in reduced gross profit margins from the sale of the merchandise.
The Company typically experiences seasonal growth in its pawn loan balances in the third and fourth quarters following lower balances in the first two quarters due to the typical repayment of pawn loans associated with statutory bonuses received by customers in the fourth quarter in Mexico and with tax refund proceeds typically received by customers in the first quarter in the U.S.
Consumer Loan and Credit Services Activities
In a limited number of U.S. locations, the Company offers small unsecured consumer loans or a fee-based credit services organization program (“CSO Program”). The CSO Program assists consumers in obtaining extensions of credit from an independent, non-bank, consumer lending company (the “Independent Lender”). These products have been significantly deemphasized by the Company in recent years due to regulatory constraints and increased internet based competition.
The Company currently offers unsecured consumer loans or credit services in only 47 U.S. locations, of which 41 are full-service pawnshops offering such services primarily as an ancillary product. Total revenues from unsecured consumer loan and credit services operations were $20 million and accounted for approximately 1% of the Company’s revenue during 2019. For 2020, the Company expects revenue from these products to total approximately $5 million, accounting for approximately one quarter of one percent, or 0.25%, of total revenues.
As of December 31, 2019, the Company had 46 unconsolidated franchised check cashing locations in the U.S. operating under the “Mr. Payroll” brand. Each of the Company’s franchised check cashing locations is subject to a franchise agreement negotiated individually with each franchisee and has varying durations. The Company receives franchise fees from each franchisee based on the gross revenue of check cashing services provided within the franchisee’s facility.
As of December 31, 2019, the Company had 43 unconsolidated franchised pawn locations in Mexico operating under the “Prendamex” brand. Each of the Company’s franchised pawn locations is subject to a franchise agreement negotiated individually with each franchisee and has varying durations. The Company receives franchise fees from each franchisee based on pawn loan and inventory balances of the franchised stores.
Total revenue from franchise fees accounted for less than 0.1% of the Company’s revenue during 2019.
Locations and Operations
As of December 31, 2019, the Company had 2,679 store locations composed of 1,056 stores in 24 U.S. states and the District of Columbia, 1,548 stores in 32 states in Mexico, 54 stores in Guatemala, 13 stores in El Salvador and eight stores in Colombia.
The following table details store count activity for the twelve months ended December 31, 2019:
Operations Segment (1)
Operations Segment (2)
Total locations, beginning of period
New locations opened
Locations closed or consolidated (3)
Total locations, end of period
At December 31, 2019, includes six consumer loan locations located in Texas, which only offer credit services products. This compares to 17 consumer loan locations which only offered consumer loans and/or credit services as of December 31, 2018. At December 31, 2019, 41 of the pawn stores, primarily located in Texas, also offered consumer loans and/or credit services primarily as an ancillary product. This compares to 262 U.S. pawn locations which offered such products as of December 31, 2018. The table does not include 46 check cashing locations operated by independent franchisees under franchising agreements with the Company.
The table does not include 43 Mexico pawn locations operated by independent franchisees under franchising agreements with the Company.
Includes the closing of 52 Ohio locations and two other locations in Texas primarily focused on consumer lending products.
The Company maintains its primary administrative offices in Fort Worth, Texas, Monterrey, Mexico and Mexico City, Mexico.
As of December 31, 2019, the Company’s stores were located in the following countries and states:
District of Columbia
Estado de. Mexico (State of Mexico)
Estado de Ciudad de Mexico (State of Mexico City)
San Luis Potosi
Baja California Sur
The table does not include 43 Mexico pawn locations and 46 U.S. check cashing locations operated by independent franchisees under franchising agreements with the Company.
Includes six consumer loan locations, which only offer credit services products.
Pawn Store Operations
The Company’s typical large format pawn store is a freestanding building or part of a retail shopping center with dedicated available parking. The Company also operates smaller stores in Mexico, mostly in dense urban markets, which may not have dedicated parking. Management has established a standard store design intended to attract customers and distinguish the Company’s stores from the competition. The design consists of a well-illuminated exterior with distinctive signage and a layout similar to other contemporary specialty retailers. The Company’s stores are typically open six or seven days a week from 9:00 a.m. to between 6:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m.
The Company attempts to attract customers primarily through the pawn stores’ visibility, signage and neighborhood presence. The Company uses seasonal promotions, special discounts for regular customers, prominent display of impulse purchase items such as jewelry, electronics, and tools, tent and sidewalk sales and a layaway purchasing plan to attract retail shoppers. The Company attempts to attract and retain pawn customers by lending a competitive loan amount as a percentage of the estimated sales value of items presented for pledge and by providing quick loan processing, funding, renewal and redemption services in an appealing, customer-friendly atmosphere.
Generally, each pawnshop employs a manager, one or two assistant managers, and between two and eight sales personnel, depending upon the size, sales volume and location of the store. The store manager is responsible for customer relations, reviewing pawn transactions and related collateral, inventory management, supervising personnel and assuring the store is managed in accordance with Company guidelines and established policies and procedures which emphasize safeguarding of pledged and Company assets, strict cost containment and financial controls. All material store expenses are paid from corporate administrative offices in order to enhance financial accountability. The Company believes careful monitoring of customer transaction metrics and operational expenses enables it to maintain financial stability and profitability.
Each store manager reports to a district manager, who typically oversees four to seven store managers. District managers typically report to a regional manager who, in turn, typically reports to a regional operations director. Regional operations directors report to a regional vice president of operations. There is a senior vice president of operations and four regional vice presidents of operations.
The Company believes the profitability of its pawnshops is dependent, among other factors, upon its employees’ ability to engage with customers and provide prompt and courteous service. The Company’s proprietary computer system tracks certain key transactional performance measures including pawn loan yields and merchandise sales margins, and permits a store manager or clerk to rapidly recall the cost of an item in inventory and the date it was purchased, as well as the prior transaction history of a particular customer. It also facilitates the timely valuation of goods by showing values assigned to similar goods. The Company has networked its stores to allow employees to more accurately determine the retail value of merchandise and to permit the Company’s headquarters to more efficiently monitor each store’s operations, including merchandise sales, service charge revenue, pawn loans written and redeemed and changes in inventory.
The Company trains its employees through direct instruction and on-the-job pawn and sales experience. New employees are introduced to the business through an orientation and training program that includes on-the-job training in lending practices, layaways, merchandise valuation, regulatory compliance and general administration of store operations. Certain experienced employees receive training and an introduction to the fundamentals of management to acquire the skills necessary to advance into management positions within the organization. Management training typically involves exposure to revenue and margin generation, regulatory compliance, recruitment and human resources management, asset and security control and cost efficiency. The Company maintains a non-qualified, performance-based profit sharing compensation plan for all store employees based on sales, gross profit and other performance criteria.
Environmental Sustainability, Social Responsibility and Diversity
Pawnshops are neighborhood-based stores which contribute to the modern “circular economy.” Each of the Company’s 2,673 pawn locations provides a quick and convenient source of small, non-recourse pawn loans and a neighborhood-based market for consumers to buy and resell popular consumer products in a safe environment. The Company is committed to environmental sustainability, providing customers with rapid access to capital and operating its business in a manner that results in a positive impact on its employees, communities and the environment.
Virtually all of the Company’s merchandise inventories are pre-owned items sourced directly from local customers in each store’s immediate geographic neighborhood. In effect, the Company operates a large consumer product recycling business wherein it acquires unwanted or unneeded jewelry, electronics, tools, appliances, sporting goods and musical instruments from individual customers and resells them to other customers desiring such products within the same neighborhood. This process extends the life and utilization of these products and helps reduce demand for newly manufactured and distributed products. The Company estimates that it resold approximately 14 million used or pre-owned consumer product items in its retail stores during 2019 with a commercial value of approximately $1.2 billion. In addition, the Company recycles significant volumes of precious metals and diamonds whereby unwanted or broken jewelry is collected and melted/processed by the Company and then resold as a commodity for future commercial use. During 2019, the Company estimates that it recycled over 75,000 ounces of gold and over 50,000 carats of diamonds with a combined market value of approximately $103.9 million. This process helps reduce demand for mined precious metals and diamonds.
Unlike most brick and mortar or on-line retailers, the Company does not rely on manufacturing of its inventories nor does it source any material volume of inventories from third party manufacturers or wholesalers. Accordingly, the Company does not own, operate or contract for any manufacturing, warehousing or distribution facilities to support its retail sales or lending operations. Almost all retail sales and pawn loans are made to customers who live or work within a tight geographic radius of the Company’s stores, and only a very small percentage of sales require delivery service. The Company owns or operates less than 40 motor
vehicles and trucks to support its 2,679 locations and, other than operating small storefront locations which are typically 5,000 square feet or less, the Company has virtually no carbon footprint related to its retail or lending operations.
Non-Recourse Microlending Products Servicing the Underbanked
It is estimated by multiple studies and surveys that approximately 25% of U.S. households remain unbanked or underbanked. In Latin America, the number of unbanked or underbanked consumers can be as much as 75% of the population in countries such as Mexico. As a result, the majority of the Company’s customers have limited access to traditional forms of credit or capital. The Company contributes to its communities by providing these customers with instant access to capital through very small non-recourse pawn loans or buying merchandise from its customers. The average credit provided to a customer is $177 in the U.S. and $71 in Latin America. Traditional lenders such as banks, credit unions, credit card providers or other small loan providers do not effectively offer micro credit products of this size.
Obtaining a pawn loan is simple, requiring only a valid government ID and an item of personal property owned by the customer. The Company does not investigate the creditworthiness of a pawn customer, nor does it matter if the customer has defaulted on a previous pawn loan with the Company. Unlike most credit products, pawn customers are not required to have a bank account, a good credit history or the ability to document their level of income. The process of obtaining a pawn loan is extremely fast, generally taking 15 minutes or less. Loans are funded immediately giving customers immediate access to the credit.
Pawn loans are highly regulated, safe and affordable non-recourse loans for which the customer has no legal obligation to repay. Pawn loans differ from most other forms of small dollar lending, as the Company does not attempt to collect on delinquent loans, does not take legal actions against its customers, does not blacklist its customers, nor does it issue any negative external credit reporting, but rather, relies only on the resale of the pawn collateral for recovery.
Focus on Social and Corporate Responsibility in Mexico
The Company has significant operations in Mexico, where the majority of its employees and customers reside and where it focuses significant time and resources on corporate responsibility initiatives.
In 2018, the Company was certified as an Empresa Socialmente Responsable (“ESR”), or a socially responsible company, in Mexico under the framework of the XII Latin American Meeting of Corporate Social Responsibility promulgations. This ESR certification is granted to companies incorporated in Mexico that meet a series of criteria that generally cover the economic, social and environmental sustainability of its operations, which include corporate ethics, good governance, the quality of life of the Company’s employees and a proven commitment to the betterment of the community where it operates, including the care and preservation of the environment.
The Company has also established relationships and supports multiple foundations and programs in Mexico, including an exclusive partnership with the JUCONI Foundation, which works with families and children to prevent and help heal the trauma associated with domestic violence in families or children who are living in extreme poverty or are homeless. Additionally, the Company supports or partners with several other foundations and projects, which provide educational scholarships, intern programs, reading initiatives and recycling programs for disadvantaged citizens.
Diversity and Employee Empowerment
The Company has 21,000 employees across five countries (the U.S., Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador and Colombia). It is committed to creating a safe, trusted and diverse environment in which its employees can thrive. Its employees’ wages are typically above the minimum wage standards in each country in which it operates. The Company also believes in fairly compensating its employees by providing the ability to share in the Company’s profitability. For example, the majority of the Company’s front-line, store-based employees participate in a non-qualified profit sharing program which pays up to 8% of the gross profit an employee personally produced through assigned customer service activities.
The Company also provides its employees with extensive training and advancement opportunities, demonstrated by its long track record of employee advancement and promotion from within the organization. The Company maintains robust consumer compliance, anti-money laundering and anti-bribery training programs and requires its managers to adhere to a labor compliance program that meets or exceeds the standards established for coercion and harassment, discrimination and restrictions to freedom of association. The Company’s locations provide a safe, comfortable and healthy work environment and maintain compliance with all occupational safety, wage and hour laws and other workplace regulations.
The Company values diversity at all levels of its organization. In the U.S., approximately 70% of all employees are ethnically diverse and 52% are female. Company-wide, approximately 89% of all employees are ethnically diverse and 56% are female. The Company’s store management employee population, in particular, exhibits a high level of female and ethnic diversity, with approximately 55% being female and approximately 91% being either female and/or ethnically diverse. The Company’s senior leadership team, composed of district managers and higher, corporate department leaders and other executives, is diverse as well, with approximately 32% being female and approximately 82% being female and/or ethnically diverse.
The Company encounters significant competition in connection with all aspects of its business operations. These competitive conditions may adversely affect the Company’s revenue, profitability and ability to expand. The Company believes the primary elements of competition in the businesses in which it operates are store location, customer service, the ability to lend competitive amounts on pawn loans and to sell popular retail merchandise at competitive prices. In addition, the Company competes with other lenders and retailers to attract and retain employees with competitive compensation programs.
The Company’s pawn business competes primarily with other pawn store operators, other specialty consumer finance operators, including on-line lenders, retail and virtual rent-to-own operators and consumer goods retailers, including on-line operators. Management believes the pawn industry remains highly fragmented with an estimated 12,000 to 14,000 total pawnshops in the U.S. and 7,000 to 8,000 pawnshops in Mexico. Including the Company, there are two publicly-held, U.S.-based pawnshop operators, both of which have pawn operations in the U.S., Mexico, Guatemala and El Salvador. Of these two, the Company had the most pawn stores and the largest market capitalization as of December 31, 2019, and believes it is the largest public or private operator of large format, full-service pawn stores in the U.S. and Mexico. The pawnshop and other specialty consumer finance industries are characterized by a large number of independent owner-operators, some of whom own and operate multiple locations. In addition, the Company competes with other non-pawn lenders, such as banks and consumer finance companies, which generally lend on an unsecured as well as a secured basis. Other lenders may and do lend money on terms more favorable than those offered by the Company. Many of these financial institutions have greater financial resources than the Company’s with which to compete for consumer loans.
In both its U.S. and Latin American retail pawn operations, the Company’s competitors include numerous retail and wholesale merchants, including jewelry stores, rent-to-own operators, discount retail stores, “second-hand” stores, consumer electronics stores, other specialty retailers, online retailers, online auction sites, online classified advertising sites and other pawnshops. Competitive factors in the Company’s retail operations include the ability to provide the customer with a variety of merchandise items at attractive prices. Many of the retail competitors have significantly greater size and financial resources than the Company.
The Company relies on a combination of trademarks, trade dress, trade secrets, proprietary software, website domain names and other rights, including confidentiality procedures and contractual provisions, to protect its proprietary technology, processes and other intellectual property.
The Company’s competitors may develop products that are similar to its technology, such as the Company’s proprietary point-of-sale and loan management software. The Company enters into agreements with its employees, consultants and partners, and through these and other confidentiality or non-compete agreements, the Company attempts to control access to and distribution of its software, documentation and other proprietary technology and information. Despite the Company’s efforts to protect its proprietary rights, third parties may, in an authorized or unauthorized manner, attempt to use, copy or otherwise obtain and market or distribute its intellectual property rights or technology or otherwise develop a product with the same functionality as its solution. Policing all unauthorized use of the Company’s intellectual property rights is nearly impossible. The Company cannot be certain that the steps it has taken or will take in the future will prevent misappropriations of its technology or intellectual property rights.
“First Cash Pawn,” “Cash America” and “Cashland” are trademarks owned by the Company registered in the U.S. “FirstCash,” “First Cash,” “First Cash Empeño y Joyeria,” “Cash Ya,” “Cash & Go,” “CA,” “Cash America,” “Presta Max,” “Realice Empeños,” “Empeños Mexicanos” and “Prendamex” are trademarks owned by the Company registered in the respective Latin American countries. Other trade names used by the Company in the U.S. and Latin America include First Cash Advance, Famous Pawn, Fast Cash Pawn & Gold Center, King Pawn, Mister Money Pawn, Money Man Pawn, Valu + Pawn, Dan’s Discount Jewelry & Pawn, Quick Cash Pawn, Atomic Pawn, Loftis Jewelry & Pawnbrokers, Regent Pawn & Jewelry, Smart Pawn, Piazza Jewelry & Pawn, David’s Pawn Shop, Sharp Mart, Lakelands Pawn & Gun, SuperPawn, Mr. Payroll and Cash Plus Pawn.
The Company is subject to significant regulation of its pawn, consumer loan and general business operations in all of the jurisdictions in which it operates. These regulations are implemented through various laws, ordinances and regulatory pronouncements from federal, state and municipal governmental entities in the U.S. and Latin America. These regulatory bodies often have broad discretionary authority over the establishment, interpretation and enforcement of such regulations. These regulations are subject to change, sometimes significantly, as a result of political, economic or social trends, events and media perception.
The Company is subject to specific laws, regulations and ordinances primarily concerning its pawn and consumer lending operations. Many statutes and regulations prescribe, among other things, the general terms of the Company’s pawn and consumer loan agreements, including maximum service fees and/or interest rates that may be charged and collected and mandatory consumer disclosures. In many municipal, state and federal jurisdictions in both the U.S. and countries in Latin America, the Company must obtain and maintain regulatory store operating and employee licenses and comply with regular or frequent regulatory reporting and registration requirements, including reporting and recording of pawn loans, pawned collateral, used merchandise purchased from the general public, retail sales activities, firearm transactions, export, import and transfer of merchandise, and currency transactions, among other things.
In both the U.S. and Latin America, certain elected officials, regulators, consumer advocacy groups and the media have advocated for governmental action to further restrict or even prohibit pawn transactions or small consumer loans, such as payday advances and credit services products. Such advocates often characterize pawn and payday lending activities as unfair or potentially abusive to consumers and typically focus on the aggregate fees charged to a consumer for pawn and consumer loans, which are typically higher than the interest rate generally charged by banks, credit unions and credit card issuers to consumers with established or higher-rated credit. They also focus on affordability issues such as the borrower’s ability to repay such loans, real or perceived patterns of sustained or cyclical usage of such lending products and consumer loan collection practices perceived to be unfair or abusive. During the last few years, legislation, ordinances and edicts at federal, state and municipal levels have been introduced or enacted to prohibit, restrict or further regulate pawn and related transactions, including acceptance of pawn collateral and used merchandise in general or from certain individuals, sales of such merchandise in general or specific categories such as firearms, payday loans, consumer loans, credit services and related service fees on these products. In addition, public officials and regulatory authorities, including law enforcement in various levels of government in the U.S. and countries in Latin America have and will likely continue to make edicts, proposals or public statements concerning new or expanded regulations that would prohibit or further restrict pawn and consumer lending activities or other related pawn transactions.
The Company is subject to numerous other types of regulations including, but not limited to, regulations related to securities and exchange activities, including financial reporting and internal controls processes, data protection and privacy, tax compliance, health and safety, labor and employment practices, import/export activities, real estate transactions, electronic banking, credit card transactions, marketing, advertising and other general business activities.
There can be no assurance that the current political domestic and international climate will not change and negatively affect the Company’s business, or that additional local, state or federal statutes, regulations or edicts will not be enacted or that existing laws and regulations will not be amended, decreed or interpreted at some future date that could prohibit or limit the ability of the Company to profitably operate any or all of its services. For example, such regulations could restrict the ability of the Company to offer pawn loans, significantly decrease the interest rates or service fees for such lending activities, prohibit or more stringently regulate the acceptance of pawn collateral or buying used merchandise and the sale, exportation or importation of such pawn merchandise, any of which could have a material adverse effect on the Company’s operations and financial condition. If legislative, regulatory or other arbitrary actions or interpretations are taken at a federal, state or local level in the U.S. or countries in Latin America which negatively affect the pawn industry where the Company has a concentrated or significant number of stores, those actions could have a material adverse effect on the Company’s business operations. There can be no assurance that such regulatory action at any jurisdiction level will not be enacted, or that existing laws and regulations will not be amended, decreed or interpreted in such a way which could have a material adverse effect on the Company’s operations and financial condition.
U.S. Federal Regulations
The U.S. government and its agencies have significant regulatory authority over consumer financial services activities. In recent years, additional legislation and regulations have been enacted or proposed which have increased or could continue to increase regulation of the consumer finance industry. These regulations and restrictions are or may be specific to pawn, credit services and consumer loan operations.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (the “CFPB”), created by Title X of the Dodd Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 (the “Dodd-Frank Act”), has broad regulatory, supervisory and enforcement powers over certain financial institutions. Specifically, it has enforcement authority over all organizations the CFPB deems may create the potential for consumer harm or risk. The CFPB’s powers include explicit supervisory authority to examine and require registration of providers of consumer financial products and services, including providers of secured and unsecured consumer loans, such as the Company, the authority to adopt rules describing specified acts and practices as being “unfair,” “deceptive,” “abusive” and hence “unlawful,” and the authority to impose recordkeeping obligations and promulgate additional compliance requirements.
Over the years, the CFPB has systematically gathered data related to all aspects of the consumer loan industry and its impact on consumers and continues to use its Short-Term, Small-Dollar Lending Procedures, the field guide its examiners use when examining small-dollar lenders like the Company. The CFPB’s examination authority permits examiners to inspect the Company’s books and records and ask questions about its business and its practices relating to unsecured, small dollar loans, like payday loans. The examination procedures include, among other things, specific modules for examining marketing activities, loan application and origination activities, payment processing activities and sustained use by consumers, collections and collection practices, defaults, consumer reporting and third-party or vendor relationships.
The CFPB also has the authority to pursue administrative proceedings or litigation for actual or perceived violations of federal consumer laws (including the CFPB’s own rules). In these proceedings, the CFPB can seek consent orders, confidential memorandums of understandings, obtain cease and desist orders (which can include orders for redisclosure, restitution or rescission of contracts, as well as affirmative or injunctive relief) and monetary penalties ranging from $5,000 per day for certain violations of federal consumer laws to $25,000 per day for reckless violations, and $1,000,000 per day for knowing or intentional violations. Also, where a company has been found to have violated consumer laws, the Dodd-Frank Act (in addition to similar state consumer laws) empowers state attorneys general and state regulators to bring administrative or civil actions seeking the same equitable relief available to the CFPB, in addition to state-led enforcement actions and consent orders. If the CFPB or one or more state officials believe that the Company has violated any of the applicable laws or regulations, they could exercise their enforcement powers in ways that could have a material adverse effect on the Company or its business.
On October 5, 2017, the CFPB released its small-dollar loan rule (the “SDL Rule”), however, it has yet to take practical effect since in early December 2018 a judge in the 5th Circuit stayed the SDL Rule in a case filed by trade groups, which effectively put the compliance date for this rule on hold until further order by the court. Since the court ordered the stay in litigation, the CFPB has revised the SDL Rule to address the mandatory underwriting provisions, proposing to rescind those provisions altogether, including delaying compliance until late November 2020. Until the SDL Rule is deemed final, complete and effective, the impact to the Company is unknown. The SDL Rule defines the Company’s consumer loan products, both short-term loans, and installment loans, as loans covered under the rule. However, the Company believes the SDL Rule (even in its current form) will not directly impact the vast majority of its pawn products, which comprise approximately 99% of its total revenues. On a consolidated basis, the Company expects consumer loan revenue for the year ending December 31, 2020 to account for approximately one quarter of one percent, or 0.25%, of the Company’s consolidated total revenue. If the SDL Rule remains effective in its current form, the small dollar lending industry will experience a significant regulatory change. However, given the Company’s continued de-emphasis of consumer loans and/or credit services in recent years, the Company does not believe the SDL Rule, as currently written, will have a material adverse effect on the Company’s operations and financial condition.
In July 2015, the U.S. Department of Defense published a finalized set of additional requirements and restrictions under the Military Lending Act (“MLA Rule”). The MLA Rule, which went into effect on October 3, 2016, amended requirements for its “safe harbor” (making covered member attestation insufficient on its own to comply with the “safe harbor” provision of the MLA Rule) and expanded the scope of the credit products covered by the MLA to include overdraft lines of credit, pawn loans, or vehicle and certain unsecured installment loan products to the extent any such products have a military annual percentage rate greater than 36%. While the Company does not believe that active members of the U.S. military or their dependents comprise a significant percentage of the historical customer base in most locations, compliance with the MLA Rule, including its safe harbor provisions, is complex, increases compliance risks and related costs and limits the potential customer base of the Company.
In November 2019, lawmakers in both the Senate and House of Representatives introduced Senate and House versions of the Veterans and Consumers Fair Credit Act (“Credit Act”). The Credit Act, if enacted, would effectively extend the MLA’s 36% annual percentage rate cap and ban mandatory arbitration to all covered loans, which would include all products offered by the Company, regardless of the consumers’ military status. The Company will continue monitoring the status of the bills but notes they currently lack critical mass of co-sponsorship in the House or the Senate.
In addition to the federal laws and frameworks already governing the financial industry, the U.S. Justice Department (“DOJ” or “Department of Justice”), in conjunction with federal banking regulators, began an initiative in 2013 (“Operation Choke Point”) directed at banks in the U.S. that do business with payment processors, payday lenders, pawn operators and other companies
believed to be at higher risk for fraud and money laundering. It is believed the intent of this initiative was to restrict the ability of banks to provide financial services to companies in the targeted industries. In January 2015, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (the “FDIC”) issued a publication encouraging banks to take a risk-based approach in assessing individual customer relationships, rather than declining to provide banking services to entire categories of customers without regard to the risks presented by an individual customer or the financial institution’s ability to manage the risk. In August 2017, the Department of Justice informed lawmakers that Operation Choke Point was no longer in effect. Further, in May 2019, the FDIC settled a 2014 lawsuit filed against it and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency challenging Operation Choke Point whereby the FDIC reiterated its January 2015 publication and acknowledged “that certain employees acted in a manner inconsistent with FDIC policies” and also stated that “regulatory threats, undue pressure, coercion, and intimidation designed to restrict access to financial services for lawful businesses have no place at the FDIC.” Nevertheless, the Company continues to experience difficulty in securing new banking services and maintaining existing banking services in certain markets. There can be no assurance that Operation Choke Point and its subsequent effects will not pose a further or stigmatized threat to the Company’s ability to access credit, maintain bank accounts and treasury services, process payday lending transactions or obtain other banking services needed to operate efficiently and profitably.
In connection with pawn transactions and credit services/consumer loan transactions, the Company must comply with various disclosure requirements under the Federal Truth in Lending Act (and Regulation Z promulgated thereunder). These disclosures include, among other things, the total amount of the finance charges and annualized percentage rate of the charges associated with pawn transactions, consumer loan and credit services transactions.
The credit services/consumer loan business is also subject to various laws, rules and guidelines relating to the procedures and disclosures needed for debiting a debtor’s checking account for amounts due via a pre-authorized automated clearing house (“ACH”) transaction. Additionally, the Company may be subject to certain portions of other laws such as the Federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, the Fair Credit Reporting Act and applicable state collection laws when conducting its collection activities related to its unsecured small dollar loans, depending on the product or service.
The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCEN”) exercises regulatory functions primarily under the Currency and Financial Transactions Reporting Act of 1970, as amended by Title III of the USA PATRIOT Act of 2001 and other legislation, which legislative framework is commonly referred to as the “Bank Secrecy Act” (the “BSA”). The BSA is a comprehensive U.S. federal anti-money laundering (“AML”) and counter-terrorism financing statute. The BSA authorizes the Secretary of the Treasury to issue regulations requiring banks and other financial institutions to take a number of precautions against financial crimes, including the establishment of AML programs and the filing of certain reports. The Secretary of the Treasury has delegated to the Director of FinCEN the authority to implement, administer, and enforce compliance with the BSA and associated regulations, which among other things, regulates the reporting of transactions involving currency in an amount greater than $10,000 and the purchase of monetary instruments for cash in amounts from $3,000 to $10,000. As of January 1, 2018, the Company ceased offering fee-based check cashing services in its non-franchise stores and is no longer considered a money services business as defined under federal law. Generally, however, and depending on the service or product, financial institutions, including the Company, must report certain transactions involving currency in an amount greater than $10,000 during a specific period, or transactions deemed suspicious in nature.
The federal Equal Credit Opportunity Act (“ECOA”) prohibits discrimination against any credit applicant on the basis of any protected category, such as race, color, religion, national origin, sex, marital status, or age, and requires the Company to notify credit applicants of the Company’s consumer loan products of any action taken on the individual’s credit application. The Company must provide a loan applicant a Notice of Adverse Action (“NOAA”) when the Company denies an application for credit related to its unsecured consumer loan products. The NOAA must inform the applicant of (1) the action taken regarding the credit application, (2) a statement of the ECOA’s prohibition on discrimination, (3) the name and address of both the creditor and the federal agency that monitors compliance with the ECOA, and (4) the applicant’s right to learn the specific reasons for the denial of credit and the contact information for the parties the applicant can contact to obtain those reasons. The Company provides NOAA letters and maintains records of all such letters as required by the ECOA and its regulations.
The Company’s advertising and marketing activities, in general and depending on the type of product and/or service offered, are subject to additional federal laws and regulations administered by the Federal Trade Commission and the CFPB which prohibit unfair or deceptive acts or practices and false or misleading advertisements.
The Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (“FACTA”) requires the Company to adopt written guidance and procedures for detecting, mitigating, preventing and responding appropriately to identity theft and to adopt various employee policies and procedures, and provide employee training and materials that address the importance of protecting non-public personal information, specifically, personal identifiable information, and aid the Company in detecting and responding to suspicious activity, including suspicious activity which may suggest a possible identity theft red flag, as appropriate.
The Company is subject to the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (“FCPA”) and other similar laws in other jurisdictions that prohibit improper payments or offers of improper payments to foreign governments and their officials and political parties by U.S. persons and issuers (as defined by the statute) for the purpose of obtaining or retaining business. In addition, the FCPA requires adequate accounting internal controls and record keeping. It is the Company’s policy to maintain safeguards to discourage these practices by its employees and vendors and follow Company standards of conduct for its business throughout the U.S. and Latin America, including the prohibition of any direct or indirect payment or transfer of Company funds or assets to suppliers, vendors, or government officials in the form of bribes, kickbacks or other illegal payoffs.
Each pawn store location that handles pawned firearms or buys and sells firearms must comply with the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act (the “Brady Act”). The Brady Act requires that federally licensed firearms dealers conduct a background check in connection with releasing, selling or otherwise disposing of firearms. In addition, the Company must also comply with various state law provisions and the regulations of the U.S. Department of Justice-Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms that require each pawn lending location dealing in guns to obtain a Federal Firearm License (“FFL”) and maintain a permanent written record of all receipts and dispositions of firearms. As of December 31, 2019, the Company had 737 locations in the U.S. with an active FFL.
U.S. State and Local Regulations
The Company operates pawn stores in 24 U.S. states and the District of Columbia, all of which have licensing and/or fee regulations on pawnshop operations and employees, and are subject to regular state level regulatory audits. In general, state statutes and regulations establish licensing requirements for pawnbrokers and may regulate various aspects of pawn transactions, including the purchase and sale of merchandise, service charges, interest rates, the content and form of the pawn transaction agreement and the length of time a pawnbroker must hold a purchased item or forfeited pawn before it is made available for sale. Additionally, these statutes and regulations in various jurisdictions restrict or prohibit the Company from transferring and/or relocating its pawn licenses and restrict or prohibit the issuance of new licenses. The Company’s fee structures are at or below the applicable rate ceilings adopted by each of these states. The Company offers its pawn and retail customers an interest free layaway plan which complies with applicable state laws. In addition, the Company is in compliance with the net asset requirements in states where it is required to maintain certain levels of liquid assets for each pawn store it operates in the applicable state. Failure to observe a state’s legal requirements for pawn brokering could result, among other things, in loss of pawn licenses, fines, refunds, and other civil or criminal proceedings.
Many of the Company’s pawn locations are also subject to local ordinances that require, among other things, local permits, licenses, record keeping requirements and procedures, reporting of daily transactions, and adherence to local law enforcement “do-not-buy-lists” by checking law enforcement created databases. Specifically, under some county and municipal ordinances, pawn stores must provide local law enforcement agencies with reports of all daily transactions involving pawns and over-the-counter merchandise purchased directly from customers. These daily transaction reports are designed to provide local law enforcement officials with a detailed description of the merchandise involved, including serial numbers, if any, or other specific identifying information, including the name and address of the customer obtained from a valid identification card and photographs of the customers and/or merchandise in certain jurisdictions. Goods held to secure pawns or goods directly purchased may be subject to mandatory holding periods before they can be resold by the Company. If pawned or purchased merchandise is determined to belong to an owner other than the borrower or seller, it may be subject to confiscation by police for recovery by the rightful owners. Historically, the Company has not found the volume of the confiscations or claims to have a material adverse effect upon results of operations. The Company does not maintain insurance to cover the costs of returning merchandise to its rightful owners but historically has benefited from civil and criminal restitution efforts.
The Company operates its consumer loan business in three states which are regulated under a variety of enabling state statutes and subject to various local rules, regulations and ordinances. The scope of these regulations, including the fees and terms of the Company’s consumer loan products and services, varies by state, county and city. These laws generally define the services that the Company can provide to consumers and require the Company to provide a contract to the customer outlining the Company’s services and the cost of those services to the customer. In 2019, the Company’s consumer loan and credit services fee revenue represented approximately 1% of the Company’s overall revenues and the Company expects such revenue to account for approximately one quarter of one percent, or 0.25%, of the Company’s overall revenues for the year ending December 31, 2020.
Local rules, regulations and ordinances vary widely from county to county or city to city. While many of the local rules and regulations relate primarily to zoning and land use restrictions, certain cities have restrictive regulations specific to pawn and consumer loan products. Additionally, local jurisdictions’ efforts to regulate or restrict the terms of pawn, consumer loan and credit services products will likely continue to increase.
It is expected that additional legislation and/or regulations relating to pawn transactions, credit services and consumer loan products will be proposed in several state legislatures and/or city councils where the Company has pawn, unsecured consumer loan products and credit services operations. Though the Company cannot accurately predict the scope, extent and nature of future regulations, it is likely that such legislation may address the maximum allowable interest rates on loans, significantly restrict the ability of customers to obtain such loans by limiting the maximum number of consecutive loan transactions that may be provided to a customer, and/or limiting the total loans a customer may have outstanding at any point in time. Any or all of these changes could make offering these products less profitable and could restrict or even eliminate the availability of consumer loan, pawn transactions and credit services products in some or all of the states or localities in which the Company offers such products.
The Company cannot currently assess the likelihood of any other proposed legislation, regulations or amendments, such as those described above or discussed in “Item 1A, Risk Factors,” which could be enacted. However, if such legislation or regulations were enacted in certain jurisdictions, it could have a materially adverse impact on the revenue and profitability of the Company.
Mexico Federal Regulations
Federal law in Mexico provides for administrative regulation of the pawnshop industry by Procuraduria Federal del Consumidor (“PROFECO”), Mexico’s primary federal consumer protection agency, which requires the Company to annually register its pawn stores, approve pawn contracts and disclose the interest rate and fees charged on pawn transactions. In addition, the pawnshop industry in Mexico is subject to various general business regulations in the areas of tax compliance, customs, consumer protections, anti-money laundering, public safety and employment matters, among others, by various federal, state and local governmental agencies.
PROFECO regulates the form and non-financial terms of pawn contracts and defines certain operating standards and procedures for pawnshops, including retail operations, consumer disclosures and establishes reporting requirements and requires all pawn businesses and its owners to register annually with and be approved by PROFECO in order to legally operate. In addition, all operators must comply with additional customer notice and disclosure provisions, bonding requirements to insure against loss or insolvency, reporting of certain types of suspicious transactions, and reporting to state law enforcement officials of certain transactions (or series of transactions) or suspicious transactions on a monthly basis to states’ attorneys general offices. PROFECO continues to modify its process and procedures regarding its annual registration requirements and the Company has complied and complies in all material respects with this process and registration requirements as administered by PROFECO. There are significant fines and sanctions, including operating suspensions for failure to register and/or comply with PROFECO’s rules and regulations.
Mexico’s anti-money laundering regulations, The Federal Law for the Prevention and Identification of Transactions with Funds From Illegal Sources (“Anti-Money Laundering Law”), requires monthly reporting of certain transactions (or series of transactions) exceeding certain monetary limits, imposes strict maintenance of customer identification records and controls, and requires reporting of all foreign (non-Mexican) customer transactions. This law affects all industries in Mexico and is intended to detect commercial activities arising from illicit or ill-gotten means though bilateral cooperation between Mexico’s Ministry of Finance and Public Credit (“Hacienda”), and all of Mexico’s various states’ attorneys general offices (“PGR”). This law restricts the use of cash in certain transactions associated with high-value assets and limits, to the extent possible, money laundering activities protected by the anonymity that cash transactions provide. The law empowers Hacienda to oversee and enforce these regulations and to follow up on the information received from other agencies in Mexico and abroad. Relevant aspects of the law specifically affecting the pawn industry include monthly reporting by the Company to Hacienda and the PGR on “vulnerable activities,” which encompass the sale of jewelry, precious metals and watches exceeding certain thresholds. There are significant fines and sanctions for failure to comply with the Anti-Money Laundering Law.
On May 1, 2019, Mexico’s Federal Official Gazette published a decree setting forth major amendments to Mexico’s Federal Labor Law (“FLL”). The labor reform in Mexico is derived from the requirements to be in compliance with Annex 23-A of the United
States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (“USMCA”) labor chapter. The FLL establishes new guidelines involving unions and the labor force, which includes, among other things, a new structure to manage union life, labor agreements and labor disputes by replacing the existing federal and local conciliation and arbitration boards and federal certification of formal unions and labor agreements.
Mexico State and Local Regulations
Certain state and local governmental entities in Mexico also regulate pawn and retail businesses through state laws and local zoning and permitting ordinances. For example, in certain states where the Company has significant or concentrated operations, states have enacted legislation or implemented regulations which require items such as special state operating permits for pawn stores, certification of pawn employees trained in valuation of merchandise, strict customer identification controls, collateral ownership certifications and/or detailed and specified transactional reporting of customers and operations. Certain other states have proposed similar legislation but have not yet enacted such legislation. Additionally, certain municipalities in Mexico have attempted to curtail the operation of new and existing pawn stores through additional local business licensing, permitting, reporting requirements and the enactment of transaction taxes on certain pawn transactions. State and local agencies, including local and state police officials, often have unlimited and discretionary authority to suspend store operations pending an investigation of suspicious pawn transactions or resolution of actual or alleged regulatory, licensing and permitting issues.
Other Latin American Federal and Local Regulations
Similar to Mexico, certain federal, department and local governmental entities in Guatemala, El Salvador and Colombia also regulate the pawn industry and retail and commercial businesses. Certain federal laws and local zoning and permitting ordinances require basic commercial business licenses and signage permits. Operating in these countries also subjects the Company to other types of regulations including, but not limited to, regulations related to commercialization of merchandise, financial reporting, privacy and data protection, tax compliance, customs, labor and employment practices, real estate transactions, anti-money laundering, commercial and electronic banking restrictions, credit card transactions, marketing, advertising and other general business activities. Like Mexico, department agencies, including local and state police officials have unlimited and discretionary authority in their application of their rules and requirements.
As the scope of the Company’s international operations increases, the Company may face additional administrative and regulatory costs in operating and managing its business. In addition, unexpected changes, arbitrary or adverse court decisions, adverse action by financial regulators, aggressive public officials or regulators attacking the Company’s business models, administrative interpretations of federal or local requirements or legislation, or public remarks by elected officials could negatively impact the Company’s operations and profitability.
The Company employs approximately 8,000 employees in the U.S. as of December 31, 2019, including approximately 500 persons employed in executive, supervisory, administrative and accounting functions. None of the Company’s U.S. employees are covered by collective bargaining agreements.
The Company employs approximately 13,000 employees in Latin America as of December 31, 2019, including approximately 800 persons employed in executive, supervisory, administrative and accounting functions. The Company’s Mexico employees may become covered by labor agreements as required under the FLL. None of the Company’s other Latin American employees are covered by collective bargaining agreements.
The Company considers its employee relations to be satisfactory.
The Company maintains aggregate property all-risk coverage and liability insurance for its locations in amounts management believes to be adequate. The Company maintains workers’ compensation or employer’s indemnification insurance in U.S. states in which the Company operates.
The Company’s primary website is www.firstcash.com. The Company makes available, free of charge, at its corporate website, its annual report on Form 10-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q, current reports on Form 8-K and amendments to those reports filed or furnished pursuant to Section 13(a) or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the “Exchange Act”), as soon as reasonably practicable after they are electronically filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”). The SEC maintains an internet site that contains reports, proxy and information statements and other information regarding issuers that file electronically with the SEC at www.sec.gov.
Item 1A. Risk Factors
Important risk factors that could materially affect the Company’s business, financial condition or results of operations in future periods are described below. These factors are not intended to be an all-encompassing list of risks and uncertainties and are not the only risks and uncertainties facing the Company. Additional risks not currently known to the Company or that it currently deems to be immaterial also may materially adversely affect its business, financial condition or results of operations in future periods.
Operational, Strategic and General Business Risks
Increased competition from banks, credit unions, internet-based lenders, other short-term consumer lenders, governmental entities and other organizations offering similar financial services and retail products offered by the Company, could adversely affect the Company’s results of operations.
The Company’s principal competitors are other pawnshops, consumer loan companies, internet-based lenders, consumer finance companies, rent-to-own stores, retail finance programs, payroll lenders, banks, credit unions and other financial institutions that serve the Company’s primarily cost conscious and underbanked customer base. Many other financial institutions, governmental entities or other businesses that do not now offer products or services directed toward the Company’s traditional customer base, many of whom may be much larger than the Company, could begin doing so. Significant increases in the number and size of competitors for the Company’s business could result in a decrease in the number of consumer loans or pawn transactions that the Company writes, resulting in lower levels of revenue and earnings in these categories. Furthermore, the Company has many competitors to its retail operations, such as retailers of new merchandise, retailers of pre-owned merchandise, other pawnshops, thrift shops, online retailers, online classified advertising sites and online auction sites and many consumers view these competitors as a more secure option to acquiring similar products to what the Company sells.
In Mexico, the Company competes directly with government sponsored or affiliated non-profit foundations operating pawn stores. The Mexican government could take regulatory or administrative actions that would harm the Company’s ability to compete profitably in the Mexico market. Increased competition or aggressive marketing and pricing practices by these competitors could result in decreased revenue, margins and inventory turnover rates in the Company’s retail operations.
A decrease in demand for the Company’s products and services and the failure of the Company to adapt to such decreases could adversely affect the Company’s results of operations.
Although the Company actively manages its products and service offerings to ensure that such offerings meet the needs and preferences of its customer base, the demand for a particular product or service may decrease due to a variety of factors, including many that the Company may not be able to control, anticipate or respond to in a timely manner, such as the availability and pricing of competing products or technology, changes in customers’ financial conditions as a result of changes in unemployment levels, fuel prices, interest rates, government sponsored social welfare or benefit programs, other economic conditions or other events, real or perceived loss of consumer confidence or regulatory restrictions that increase or reduce customer access to particular products. Should the Company fail to adapt to a significant change in its customers’ demand for, or regular access to, its products, the Company’s revenue could decrease significantly. Even if the Company makes adaptations, its customers may resist or may reject products or services whose adaptations make them less attractive or less available. In any event, the effect of any product or service change on the results of the Company’s business may not be fully ascertainable until the change has been in effect for some time. In particular, the Company has changed, and will continue to change, some of the consumer loan products and services it offers due to regulatory developments. Demand may also fluctuate by geographic region. The current geographic concentration of the Company’s stores creates exposure to local economies and politics, and regional downturns (see “Item 1. Business—Locations and Operations” for store concentration by state). As a result, the Company’s business is currently more susceptible to regional conditions than the operations of more geographically diversified competitors, and the Company is vulnerable to economic downturns or changing political landscapes in those regions. Any unforeseen events or circumstances that negatively affect these areas could materially adversely affect the Company’s revenues and profitability.
The Company depends on its senior management and may not be able to retain those employees or recruit additional qualified personnel.
The Company depends on its senior management to execute its business strategy and oversee its operations. A significant increase in the costs to retain any members of the Company’s senior management could adversely affect the Company’s business and operations. Furthermore, the loss of services of any of the members of the Company’s senior management could adversely affect the Company’s business until a suitable replacement can be found. There may be a limited number of persons with the requisite skills to serve in these positions, and the Company cannot ensure that it would be able to identify or employ such qualified personnel on acceptable terms.
The Company depends on hiring an adequate number of hourly employees to run its business and is subject to regulations concerning these and its other employees, including wage and hour regulations.
The Company’s workforce is comprised primarily of employees who work on an hourly basis. To grow its operations and meet the needs and expectations of its customers, the Company must attract, train, and retain a large number of hourly associates, while at the same time controlling labor costs. These positions have historically had high turnover rates, which can lead to increased training, retention and other costs and impair the overall customer service and efficiencies at the Company’s stores. In certain areas where the Company operates, there is significant competition for employees, including from retailers and the restaurant industries. The lack of availability of an adequate number of hourly employees, or the Company’s inability to attract and retain them, or an increase in wages and benefits to current employees could adversely affect its business, results of operations, cash flows and financial condition. The Company is subject to applicable rules and regulations relating to its relationship with its employees, including wage and hour regulations, health benefits, unemployment and payroll taxes, overtime and working conditions, immigration status and, in Mexico, future labor agreements and union relations under the FLL. Accordingly, federal, state or local legislated increases in the minimum wage, as well as increases in additional labor cost components such as employee benefit costs, workers’ compensation insurance rates, compliance costs, fines and, in Mexico, costs associated with labor agreements and unions, would increase the Company’s labor costs, which could have a material adverse effect on its business, prospects, results of operations and financial condition.
The Company’s organic growth is subject to external factors and other circumstances over which it has limited control or that are beyond its control. These factors and circumstances could adversely affect the Company’s ability to grow through the opening of new store locations.
The success of the Company’s organic expansion strategy is subject to numerous external factors, such as the availability of sites with favorable customer demographics, limited competition, acceptable regulatory restrictions and landscape, political or community acceptance, suitable lease terms, its ability to attract, train and retain qualified associates and management personnel, the ability to obtain required government permits and licenses and the ability to identify attractive acquisition targets and complete such acquisitions. Some of these factors are beyond the Company’s control. The failure to execute the Company’s organic expansion strategy would adversely affect the Company’s ability to expand its business and could materially adversely affect its business, prospects, results of operations and financial condition.
The inability to successfully identify attractive acquisition targets, realize administrative and operational synergies and integrate completed acquisitions could adversely affect results.
The Company has historically grown, in large part, through strategic acquisitions, and the Company’s strategy is to continue to pursue attractive acquisition opportunities if and when they become available. The success of an acquisition is subject to numerous internal and external factors, such as competition rules, the ability to consolidate information technology and accounting functions, the management of additional sales, administrative, operations and management personnel, overall management of a larger organization, competitive market forces, and general economic and regulatory factors. It is possible that the integration process could result in unrealized administrative and operational synergies, the loss of key employees, the disruption of ongoing businesses, tax costs or inefficiencies, or inconsistencies in standards, controls, information technology systems, procedures and policies, any of which could adversely affect the Company’s ability to maintain relationships with customers, employees, or other third-parties or the Company’s ability to achieve the anticipated benefits of such acquisitions and could harm its financial performance. Furthermore, future acquisitions may be in jurisdictions in which the Company does not currently operate, which could make the successful consummation and integration of any such acquisitions more difficult. Attractive acquisition targets may also become increasingly scarce in future periods or in jurisdictions the Company would like to expand its operations in. Failure to successfully integrate an acquisition could have an adverse effect on the Company’s business, results of operations and financial condition, and failure to successfully identify attractive acquisition targets and complete such acquisitions on favorable terms could have an adverse effect on the Company’s growth. Additionally, any acquisition has the risk that the Company may not realize a return on the acquisition or the Company’s investment.
The Company’s future success is largely dependent upon the ability of its management team to successfully execute its business strategy.
The Company’s future success, including its ability to achieve its growth and profitability goals, is dependent on the ability of its management team to execute on its long-term business strategy, which requires them to, among other things: (1) successfully open new pawn stores, (2) identify attractive acquisition opportunities, close on such acquisitions on favorable terms and successfully integrate acquired businesses, (3) encourage and improve customer traffic at its pawn stores, (4) improve the customer experience at its pawn stores, (5) enhance productivity of its pawn stores, including through investments in technology, (6) control expenses in line with their current projections, (7) maintain and enhance the Company’s reputation, and (8) effectively maintain its compliance programs and respond to regulatory developments and changes that impact its business. Failure of management to execute its business strategy could negatively impact the Company’s business, growth prospects, financial condition or results of operations. Further, if the Company’s growth is not effectively managed, the Company’s business, financial condition, results of operations and future prospects could be negatively affected, and the Company may not be able to continue to implement its business strategy and successfully conduct its operations.
The Company’s business depends on the uninterrupted operation of the Company’s facilities, systems and business functions, including its information technology and other business systems, and reliance on other companies to provide key components of its business systems.
The Company’s business depends highly upon its employees’ ability to perform, in an efficient and uninterrupted fashion, necessary business functions such as operating, managing and securing its retail locations, technical support centers, call centers, security monitoring, treasury and accounting functions and other administrative support functions. Additionally, the Company’s storefront operations depend on the efficiency and reliability of the Company’s proprietary point-of-sale and loan management system. A shut-down of or inability to access the facilities in which the Company’s storefront point-of-sale and loan management system and other technology infrastructure are based, such as due to a power outage, a cyber-security breach or attack, a breakdown or failure of one or more of its information technology, telecommunications or other systems, or sustained or repeated disruptions of such systems could significantly impair its ability to perform such functions on a timely basis and could result in a deterioration of the Company’s ability to perform efficient storefront lending and merchandise disposition activities, provide customer service, perform collection activities, or perform other necessary business functions.
Furthermore, third parties provide a number of the key components necessary to the Company’s business functions and systems. While the Company has carefully selected these third-party vendors and has ongoing programs to review these vendors and assess risk associated therewith, the Company does not control their actions. Any problems caused by these third parties, including those resulting from disruptions in communication services provided by a vendor, failure of a vendor to handle current or higher volumes, cyber-attacks and security breaches, regulatory restrictions, fines, or orders or other regulatory action causing reputational harm, failure of a vendor to provide services for any reason or poor performance of services, could adversely affect the Company’s ability to deliver products and services to its customers and otherwise conduct its business. Financial or operational difficulties of a third-party vendor could also hurt its operations if those difficulties interfere with the vendor's ability to serve the Company. Furthermore, the Company’s vendors could also be sources of operational and information security risk to the Company, including from breakdowns or failures of their own systems or capacity constraints. Replacing these third-party vendors could also create significant delay and expense. Accordingly, use of such third parties creates an unavoidable inherent risk to the Company’s business and operations.
Security breaches, cyber attacks or fraudulent activity could result in damage to the Company’s operations or lead to reputational damage and expose the Company to significant liabilities.
An important component of the Company’s business involves the receipt and storage of information about its customers and employees and maintaining internal business data. As a large employer and operator of retail stores and provider of pawn loans and other consumer financing produces, the Company is under threat of loss due to the velocity and sophistication of security breaches and cyber attacks. These security incidents and cyber attacks may be in the form of computer hacking, acts of vandalism or theft, malware, computer viruses or other malicious codes, phishing, employee error or malfeasance, catastrophes or unforeseen events or other cyber-attacks. A security breach of the Company’s computer systems, or those of the Company’s third-party service providers, including as a result of cyber attacks, could cause loss of Company assets, interrupt or damage its operations or harm its reputation. In addition, the Company could be subject to liability if confidential customer or employee information is misappropriated from its computer systems. Any compromise of security, including security breaches perpetrated on persons with whom the Company has commercial relationships, that results in the unauthorized access to or use of personal information or the unauthorized access to or use of confidential employee, customer, supplier or Company information, could result in a violation of applicable privacy and other laws, significant legal and financial exposure, damage to the Company’s reputation, and a loss of confidence of the Company’s customers, vendors and others, which could harm its business and operations. Any compromise of
security could deter people from entering into transactions that involve transmitting confidential information to the Company’s systems and could harm relationships with the Company’s suppliers, which could have a material adverse effect on the Company’s business. Actual or anticipated cyber attacks may cause the Company to incur substantial costs, including costs to investigate, deploy additional personnel and protection technologies, train employees and engage third-party experts and consultants. Despite the implementation of significant security measures, these systems may still be vulnerable to physical break-ins, computer viruses, programming errors, attacks by third parties or similar disruptive problems. The Company may not have the resources or technical sophistication to anticipate or prevent rapidly evolving types of cyber attacks.
The techniques that are used to obtain unauthorized access, disable or degrade service or sabotage systems change frequently and are difficult to detect for long periods of time. Accordingly, the Company and its third-party service providers may be unable to anticipate and prevent all data security incidents. If the Company or its vendors experience significant data security breaches or fail to detect and appropriately respond to significant data security breaches, the Company could be exposed to litigation, fines or other costs, its operations could be disrupted, and employees and customers could lose confidence in the ability to protect their information, which could cause them to stop doing business with the Company.
The Company’s customers provide personal information in one of four ways: (1) when conducting a pawn transaction or selling merchandise, (2) when conducting a background check in connection with releasing or selling firearms, (3) during a consumer loan transaction (when personal and bank account information is necessary for approving this transaction), and (4) when conducting a retail purchase whereby a customer’s payment method is via a credit card, debit card or check. While the Company has implemented systems and processes to protect against unauthorized access to or use of such personal information, there is no guarantee that these procedures are adequate to safeguard against all security breaches or misuse of the information. Furthermore, the Company relies on encryption and authentication technology to provide security and authentication to effectively secure transmission of confidential information, including customer bank account, credit card information and other personal information. However, there is no guarantee that these systems or processes will address all of the cyber threats that continue to evolve.
In addition, many of the third parties who provide products, services, or support to the Company could also experience any of the above cyber risks or security breaches, which could impact the Company’s customers and its business and could result in a loss of customers, suppliers, Company assets or revenue.
Lastly, the regulatory environment related to information security, data collection and use, and privacy is increasingly rigorous, with new and constantly changing requirements applicable to the Company’s business, and compliance with those requirements could result in additional costs. These costs associated with information security, such as increased investment in technology or investigative expenses, the costs of compliance with privacy laws, and fines, penalties and costs incurred to prevent or remediate information security or cyber breaches, could be substantial and adversely impact the Company’s business. Even if the Company is fully compliant with legal standards and contractual or other requirements, it still may not be able to prevent security breaches involving sensitive data. The sophistication of efforts by hackers to gain unauthorized access to information technology systems continues to increase. Breaches, thefts, losses or fraudulent uses of customer, employee or Company business data could cause employees and customers to lose confidence in the security of its systems including the point-of-sale system and other information technology systems and choose not to do business with the Company. Such security breaches also could expose the Company to risks of data loss, business disruption, litigation and other costs or liabilities, any of which could adversely affect the business.
Because the Company maintains a significant supply of cash, loan collateral and inventories in its stores and certain processing centers, the Company may be subject to employee and third-party robberies, riots, looting, burglaries and thefts. The Company also may be subject to liability as a result of crimes at its stores.
The Company’s business requires it to maintain a significant supply of cash, loan collateral and inventories, including gold and other precious metals, in most of its stores and certain corporate locations. As a result, the Company is subject to the risk of riots, looting, robberies, burglaries and thefts. Although the Company has implemented various programs in an effort to reduce these risks and utilizes various security measures at its facilities, there can be no assurance that riots, looting, robberies, burglaries and thefts will not occur. The extent of the Company’s cash, loan collateral and inventory losses or shortages could increase as it expands the nature and scope of its products and services. Riots, looting, robberies, burglaries and thefts could lead to losses and shortages and could adversely affect the Company’s business, prospects, results of operations and financial condition. It is also possible that violent crimes such as riots, assaults and armed robberies may be committed at the Company’s stores. The Company could experience liability or adverse publicity arising from such crimes. For example, the Company may be liable if an employee, customer, guard or bystander suffers bodily injury or other harm. Any such event may have a material adverse effect on the Company’s business, prospects, results of operations and financial condition.
The Company maintains a program of insurance coverage for various types of property, casualty and other risks. The types and amounts of insurance that the Company obtains vary from time to time, depending on availability, cost and management’s decisions with respect to risk retention. The Company’s insurance policies are subject to deductibles and exclusions that result in the Company’s retention of a level of risk on a self-insurance basis. Losses resulting from employee and third-party robberies, riots, looting, burglaries and thefts not covered by insurance could be substantial and may increase the Company’s expenses, which could harm the Company’s results of operations and financial condition.
If the Company is unable to protect its intellectual property rights, its ability to compete could be negatively impacted.
The success of the Company’s business depends to a certain extent upon the value associated with its intellectual property rights, including its proprietary, internally developed point-of-sale and loan management system that is in use in all of its stores. The Company uses the trademarks “FirstCash,” “First Cash,” “First Cash Pawn,” “Cash America,” “Cashland,” “First Cash Empeño y Joyeria,” “Cash Ya,” “Cash & Go,” “CA,” “Presta Max,” “Realice Empeños,” “Empeños Mexicanos” and “Prendamex” along with numerous other trade names as described herein. The Company relies on a combination of trademarks, trade dress, trade secrets, proprietary software, website domain names and other rights, including confidentiality procedures and contractual provisions to protect its proprietary technology, processes and other intellectual property. While the Company intends to vigorously protect its trademarks and proprietary point-of-sale and loan management system against infringement, it may not be successful. In addition, the laws of certain foreign countries may not protect intellectual property rights to the same extent as the laws of the U.S. The costs required to protect the Company’s intellectual property rights and trademarks could be substantial.
The Company’s lending and retail businesses are somewhat seasonal, which causes the Company’s revenues and operating cash flows to fluctuate and may adversely affect the Company’s ability to service its debt obligations.
The Company’s U.S. pawn and consumer lending business typically experiences reduced demand in the first and second quarters as a result of its customers’ receipt of federal tax refund checks typically in February of each year. Demand for the Company’s U.S. lending services is generally greatest during the third and fourth quarters. Also, retail sales are seasonally higher in the fourth quarter associated with holiday shopping and, to a lesser extent, in the first quarter associated with tax refunds in the U.S. Typically, the Company experiences seasonal growth of service fees in the third and fourth quarter of each year due to loan balance growth. Service fees generally decline in the first and second quarter of each year due to the typical repayment of pawn loans associated with statutory bonuses received by customers in the fourth quarter in Mexico and with tax refund proceeds typically received by customers in the first quarter in the U.S. This seasonality requires the Company to manage its cash flows over the course of the year. If a governmental authority were to pursue economic stimulus actions or issue additional tax refunds, tax credits or other statutory payments at other times during the year, such actions could have a material adverse effect on the Company’s business, prospects, results of operations and financial condition during these periods. If the Company’s revenues were to fall substantially below what it would normally expect during certain periods, the Company’s annual financial results and its ability to service its debt obligations could be adversely affected.
The failure or inability of third-parties who provide products, services or support to the Company to maintain their products, services or support could disrupt Company operations or result in a loss of revenue.
The Company’s lending, pawn retail, scrap jewelry and cash management operations are dependent upon the Company’s ability to maintain retail banking and borrowing relationships with commercial banks. Actions by federal regulators in the U.S. and other Latin American countries where the Company operates have caused many commercial banks, including certain banks used by the Company, to cease offering such services to the Company and other companies in the Company’s industry. The Company also relies significantly on outside vendors to provide services such as financial transaction processing (including foreign exchange), utilities, store security, armored transport, precious metal smelting, data and voice networks and other information technology products and services. The failure or inability of any of these third-party financial institutions or vendors to provide such services could limit the Company’s ability to grow its business and could increase the Company’s costs of doing business, which could adversely affect the Company’s operations if the Company is unable to timely replace them with comparable service providers at a comparable cost.
Regulatory, Legislative and Legal Risks
The Company’s products and services are subject to extensive regulation and supervision under various federal, state and local laws, ordinances and regulations in both the U.S. and Latin America. If changes in regulations affecting the Company’s pawn business create increased restrictions, or have the effect of prohibiting pawn loans in the jurisdictions where the Company currently operates, such regulations could materially impair or reduce the Company’s pawn business and limit its expansion into new markets.
The Company’s products and services are subject to extensive regulation and supervision under various federal, state and local laws, ordinances and regulations in both the U.S. and Latin America. The Company faces the risk that restrictions or limitations on pawn loans resulting from the enactment, change, or interpretation of laws and regulations in the U.S. or Latin America could have a negative effect on the Company’s business activities. In addition, certain consumer advocacy groups, federal, state and local legislators and governmental agencies have also asserted that rules, laws and regulations should be tightened so as to severely limit, if not eliminate, the availability of pawn transactions and buy/sell agreements to consumers. It is difficult to assess the likelihood of the enactment of any unfavorable federal or state legislation or local ordinances, and there can be no assurance that additional legislative, administrative or regulatory initiatives will not be enacted that would severely restrict, prohibit, or eliminate the Company’s ability to offer certain products and services.
In Latin America, restrictions and regulations affecting pawn transactions and buy/sell agreements, including licensing requirements for pawn stores and their employees, customer identification requirements, suspicious activity reporting, disclosure requirements and limits on interest rates, loan service fees, or other fees have been and continue to be proposed from time to time. Adoption of such federal, state or local regulation or legislation in the U.S. and Latin America could restrict, or even eliminate, the availability of pawn transactions and buy/sell agreements at some or all of the Company’s locations, which would adversely affect the Company’s operations and financial condition.
The extent of the impact of any future legislative or regulatory changes will depend on the political climate, the nature of the legislative, administrative or regulatory change, the jurisdictions to which the new or modified laws would apply, and the amount of business the Company does in that jurisdiction. Moreover, similar actions by states or foreign countries in which the Company does not currently operate could limit its opportunities to pursue its growth strategies. A more detailed discussion of the regulatory environment and current developments and risks to the Company is provided in “Business-Governmental Regulation.”
The CFPB has regulatory, supervisory and enforcement powers over providers of consumer financial products and services in the U.S., and it could exercise its enforcement powers in ways that could have a material adverse effect on the Company’s business and financial results.
The CFPB has been exercising its supervisory review over certain non-bank providers of consumer financial products and services, including providers of consumer loans and certain title pawn loans such as the Company. The CFPB’s examination authority permits its examiners to inspect the books and records of providers of short-term, small dollar lenders, such as the Company, and ask questions about their business practices. As a result of these examinations of non-bank providers of consumer credit, the Company could be required to discontinue certain services or products, or change its practices or procedures, whether as a result of another party being examined or as a result of an examination of the Company, and could be subject to specific enforcement action, including monetary penalties, which could adversely affect the Company. Under certain circumstances, the CFPB may also be able to exercise regulatory or enforcement authority over providers of pawn services through its rule making authority.
In addition to having the authority to assess monetary penalties for violations of applicable federal consumer financial laws (including the CFPB’s own rules), the CFPB can require remediation of practices, including through confidential memorandums of understanding and consent orders, pursue administrative proceedings or litigation and obtain cease and desist orders (which can include orders for restitution or rescission of contracts, as well as other kinds of affirmative or equitable relief). Also, where a company has violated Title X of the Dodd-Frank Act or CFPB regulations implemented under Title X of the Dodd-Frank Act, the Dodd-Frank Act empowers state attorneys general and state regulators to bring civil actions to remedy alleged violations of state law. If the CFPB or one or more state attorneys general or state regulators believe that the Company has violated any of the applicable laws or regulations or any consent orders or confidential memorandums of understanding against or with the Company, they could exercise their enforcement powers in ways that could have a material adverse effect on the Company’s business and financial results.
See “Item 1. Business—Government Regulation” for a further discussion of the regulatory authority of the CFPB.
Mexico’s PROFECO has regulatory, supervisory and enforcement powers over pawn operators and pawn operations, and it could exercise its enforcement powers in ways that could have a material adverse effect on the Company’s business and financial results.
Federal law in Mexico provides for administrative regulation of the pawnshop industry by PROFECO, Mexico’s primary federal consumer protection agency. PROFECO requires all pawn operators, like the Company, to register its pawn stores and to disclose the interest rate and fees charged on pawn transactions. PROFECO also establishes and regulates the form and non-financial terms of pawn contracts and defines certain operating standards and procedures for pawnshops and reporting requirements for pawnshops. PROFECO requires all pawn businesses and their owners to annually register with and be approved by PROFECO in order to legally operate. In addition, all operators must comply with additional customer notice and disclosure provisions, bonding requirements to insure against loss or insolvency, reporting of certain types of suspicious transactions and monthly reporting to state law enforcement officials of certain transactions (or series of transactions). There are significant fines and sanctions, including operating suspensions, for failure to register and/or comply with PROFECO’s rules and regulations. PROFECO regularly modifies its processes and procedures regarding its annual registration requirements and pawn operations and the Company has complied and complies in all material respects with requirements as administered by PROFECO.
The adoption of new laws or regulations or adverse changes in, or the interpretation or enforcement of, existing laws or regulations affecting the Company’s products and services could adversely affect its financial condition and operating results.
Governments, including agencies, at the national, state and local levels, may seek to enforce or impose new laws, regulatory restrictions, licensing requirements or taxes that affect the Company’s products or services it offers, the terms on which it may offer them, and the disclosure, compliance and reporting obligations it must fulfill in connection with its business. They may also interpret or enforce existing requirements in new ways that could restrict the Company’s ability to continue its current methods of operation or to expand operations, impose significant additional compliance costs, and could have a material adverse effect on the Company’s financial condition and results of operations. In some cases, these measures could even directly prohibit some or all of the Company’s current business activities in certain jurisdictions, or render them unprofitable and/or impractical to continue.
Media reports, statements made by regulators and elected officials and public perception in general of pawnshops as being predatory or abusive could materially adversely affect the Company’s pawn business. In recent years, consumer advocacy groups and some media reports, in both the U.S. and Latin America, have advocated governmental action to prohibit or place severe restrictions on pawn services.
Reports and statements made by consumer advocacy groups, members of the media, regulators and elected officials often focus on the annual or monthly cost to a consumer of pawn transactions, which are generally higher than the interest typically charged by banks to consumers with better credit histories. These reports and statements typically characterize pawn loans as predatory or abusive or focus on alleged instances of pawn operators purchasing or accepting stolen property as pawn collateral. If the negative characterization of pawnshops becomes increasingly accepted by consumers, demand for pawn loans could significantly decrease, which could materially affect the Company’s results of operations and financial condition. Additionally, if the negative characterization of these types of transactions becomes increasingly accepted by legislators and regulators, the Company could become subject to more restrictive laws and regulations that could have a material adverse effect on the Company’s financial condition and results of operations. Furthermore, any negative public perception of pawnshops generally would likely have a material negative impact on the Company’s retail operations, including reducing the number of consumers willing to shop at the Company’s stores.
Judicial or administrative decisions, CFPB rule-making, amendments to the Federal Arbitration Act (the “FAA”) or new legislation could render the arbitration agreements the Company uses illegal or unenforceable.
The Company includes dispute arbitration provisions in its customer loan and pawn agreements. These provisions are designed to allow the Company to resolve any customer disputes through individual arbitration rather than in court. The Company’s arbitration provisions explicitly provide that all arbitrations will be conducted on an individual and not on a class basis. Thus, the Company’s arbitration agreements, if enforced, have the effect of mitigating class and collective action liability. The Company’s arbitration agreements do not have any impact on regulatory enforcement proceedings. The Company takes the position that the FAA requires enforcement, in accordance with the terms of its arbitration agreements, of class and collective action waivers of the type the Company uses, particularly now that the CFPB’s “Arbitration Rule” prohibiting class action waivers was officially repealed in November 2017.
In the past, however, a number of state and federal circuit courts, including the California and Nevada Supreme Courts, and the National Labor Relations Board concluded that arbitration agreements with consumer class action waivers are “unconscionable” and hence unenforceable, particularly where a small dollar amount is in controversy on an individual basis. In April 2011, however,
the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a 5-4 decision in AT&T Mobility v. Concepcion that the FAA preempts state laws that would otherwise invalidate consumer arbitration agreements with class action waivers. In December 2015, the Supreme Court in a 6-3 decision in DIRECTV, Inc. v. Imburgia upheld DIRECTV’s service agreement that included a binding arbitration provision with a class action waiver, and declared that the arbitration clause at issue was governed by the FAA. The Company’s arbitration agreements differ in some respects from the agreement at issue in Concepcion and DIRECTV and some courts have continued, in the aftermath of Concepcion, to find reasons to rule that arbitration agreements are unenforceable.
In light of conflicting court decisions and potential future CFPB rulemaking, including enactment of the proposed Credit Act, it is possible that the Company’s arbitration agreements will be rendered unenforceable. Additionally, Congress has considered legislation that would generally limit or prohibit mandatory dispute arbitration in certain consumer contracts, and it has adopted such prohibitions with respect to certain mortgage loans and certain consumer loans to active-duty members of the military and their dependents.
Any judicial or administrative decision, federal legislation or CFPB rule that would impair the Company’s ability to enter into and enforce consumer arbitration agreements with class action waivers could significantly increase the Company’s exposure to class action litigation as well as litigation in plaintiff friendly jurisdictions. Such litigation could have a material adverse effect on the Company’s business, results of operations and financial condition.
Current and future litigation or regulatory proceedings, both in the U.S. and Latin America, could have a material adverse effect on the Company’s business, prospects, results of operations and financial condition.
The Company or its subsidiaries has been or may be involved in future lawsuits, regulatory or administrative proceedings, examinations, investigations, consent orders, memorandums of understanding, audits, other actions arising in the ordinary course of business, including those related to consumer finance and protection, federal or state wage and hour laws, product liability, unclaimed property, employment, personal injury and other matters that could cause it to incur substantial expenditures and generate adverse publicity. In particular, the Company may be involved in lawsuits or regulatory actions related to consumer finance and protection, employment, marketing, unclaimed property, competition matters, and other matters, including class action lawsuits brought against it for alleged violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act, state wage and hour laws, state or federal advertising laws, consumer protection, lending and other laws. The consequences of defending proceedings or an adverse ruling in any current or future litigation, judicial or administrative proceeding, including consent orders or memorandums of understanding, could cause the Company to incur substantial legal fees, to have to refund fees and/or interest collected, refund the principal amount of advances, pay treble or other multiple damages, pay monetary penalties, fines, and/or modify or terminate the Company’s operations in particular states or countries. Defense or filing of any lawsuit or administrative proceeding, even if successful, could require substantial time, resources, and attention of the Company’s management and could require the expenditure of significant amounts for legal fees and other related costs. Settlement of lawsuits or administrative proceedings may also result in significant payments and modifications to the Company’s operations. Due to the inherent uncertainties of litigation, administrative proceedings and other claims, the Company cannot accurately predict the ultimate outcome of any such matters.
Adverse court and administrative interpretations or enforcement of the various laws and regulations under which the Company operates could require the Company to alter the products that it offers or cease doing business in the jurisdiction where the court, state or federal agency interpretation and enforcement is applicable. The Company is also subject to regulatory proceedings, and the Company could suffer losses from interpretations and enforcement of state or federal laws in those regulatory proceedings, even if it is not a party to those proceedings. Any of these events could have a material adverse effect on the Company’s business, prospects, results of operations and financial condition and could impair the Company’s ability to continue current operations. Besides regulation specific to consumer lending, which is discussed previously, the Company’s pawn, credit services and consumer loan businesses are subject to other federal, state and local regulations, tax laws and import/export laws, including, but not limited to, the Dodd-Frank Act, Unfair Deceptive or Abusive Acts and Practices, Federal Truth in Lending Act and Regulation Z adopted thereunder, Fair Debt Collections Practices Act, Military Lending Act, Bank Secrecy Act, Money Laundering Suppression Act of 1994, USA PATRIOT Act, Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, Equal Credit Opportunity Act, Electronic Funds Transfer Act, Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act. In addition, the Company’s marketing efforts and the representations the Company makes about its products and services are subject to federal and state unfair and deceptive practice statutes, including the Federal Trade Commission Act and analogous state statutes under which the Federal Trade Commission, state attorneys general or private plaintiffs may bring legal actions. If the Company is found to have engaged in an unfair and deceptive practice, it could have a material adverse effect on its business, prospects, results of operations and financial condition.
The Company sells products manufactured by third parties, some of which may be defective. Many such products are manufactured overseas in countries which may utilize quality control standards that vary from those legally allowed or commonly accepted in the U.S., which may increase the Company’s risk that such products may be defective. If any products that the Company sells were to cause physical injury or injury to property, the injured party or parties could bring claims against the Company as the
retailer of the products based upon strict product liability. In addition, the Company’s products are subject to the federal Consumer Product Safety Act and the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, which empower the Consumer Product Safety Commission to protect consumers from hazardous products. The Consumer Product Safety Commission has the authority to exclude from the market and recall certain consumer products that are found to be hazardous. Similar laws exist in some states and cities in the U.S. If the Company fails to comply with government and industry safety standards, the Company may be subject to claims, lawsuits, product recalls, fines and negative publicity that could have a material adverse effect on its business, prospects, results of operations and financial condition.
Many of the Company’s U.S. stores sell firearms, ammunition and certain related accessories, which may be associated with an increased risk of injury and related lawsuits. The Company may incur losses due to lawsuits relating to its performance of background checks on firearms purchases as mandated by state and federal law, the selling of firearms or the improper use of firearms sold by the Company, including lawsuits by individuals, municipalities or other organizations attempting to recover damages or costs from firearms retailers relating to the misuse of firearms. Commencement of such lawsuits against the Company could have a material adverse effect on its business, prospects, results of operations and financial condition.
The Company is also subject to similar applicable laws and regulations in Latin America. For example, Mexico’s Anti-Money Laundering Law, which requires monthly reporting of certain transactions (or series of transactions) exceeding monetary limits, and require stricter maintenance of customer identification records and controls, and reporting of all foreign (non-Mexican) customer transactions. Guatemala, El Salvador and Colombia also have similar reporting requirements. The Company is also subject to the terms and enforcement of the Mexico Privacy Law, which requires companies to protect their customers’ personal information, among other things including mandatory disclosures.
Certain state and local governmental entities in Latin America also regulate pawn, other consumer finance and retail businesses through state laws and local zoning and permitting ordinances. State and local agencies, including local police authorities, often have unlimited, broad and discretionary authority to interpret and apply laws, and suspend store operations pending investigation of suspicious pawn transactions and resolution of actual or alleged regulatory, licensing and permitting issues, among other issues.
Compliance with applicable laws and regulations is costly, can affect operating results and may result in operational restrictions. The Company’s failure to comply with applicable laws and regulations could subject it to regulatory enforcement actions, result in the assessment against the Company of civil, monetary, criminal or other penalties, require the Company to abandon operations or certain product offerings, refund interest or fees, result in a determination that certain loans are not collectible, result in a revocation of licenses, or cause damage to its reputation, brands and customer relationships, any of which could have a material adverse effect on the Company’s business, prospects, results of operations and financial condition.
The sale and ownership of firearms, ammunition and certain related accessories is subject to current and potential regulation, which could have a material adverse effect on the Company’s reputation, business, prospects, results of operations and financial condition.
Because the Company sells firearms, ammunition and certain related accessories, the Company is required to comply with federal, state and local laws and regulations pertaining to the purchase, storage, transfer and sale of such products, and the Company is subject to reputational harm if a customer purchases a firearm that is later used in a deadly shooting. These laws and regulations require the Company, among other things, to ensure that each pawn location offering firearms has its FFL, that all purchasers of firearms are subjected to a pre-sale background check, to record the details of each firearm sale on appropriate government-issued forms, to record each receipt or transfer of a firearm and to maintain these records for a specified period of time. The Company is also required to timely respond to traces of firearms by law enforcement agencies. Over the past several years, the purchase, sale and ownership of firearms, ammunition and certain related accessories has been the subject of increased media scrutiny and federal, state and local regulation. The media scrutiny and regulatory efforts are likely to continue in the Company’s current markets and other markets into which the Company may expand. If enacted, new laws and regulations could limit the types of licenses, firearms, ammunition and certain related accessories that the Company is permitted to purchase and sell and could impose new restrictions and requirements on the manner in which the Company offers, purchases and sells these products. If the Company fails to comply with existing or newly enacted laws and regulations relating to the purchase and sale of firearms, ammunition and certain related accessories, its licenses to sell or maintain inventory of firearms at its stores may be suspended or revoked, which could have a material adverse effect on the Company’s business, prospects, results of operations and financial condition. In addition, new laws and regulations impacting the ownership of firearms and ammunition could cause a decline in the demand for and sales of the Company’s products, which could materially adversely impact its revenue and profitability. Complying with increased regulation relating to the sale of firearms, ammunition and certain related accessories could be costly.
The Company is subject to the FCPA and other anti-corruption laws, and the Company’s failure to comply with these anti-corruption laws could result in penalties that could have a material adverse effect on its business, results of operations and financial condition.
The Company is subject to the FCPA, which generally prohibits companies and their agents or intermediaries from making improper payments to foreign officials for the purpose of obtaining or keeping business and/or other benefits. Although the Company has policies and procedures designed to ensure that it, its employees, agents, and intermediaries comply with the FCPA and other anti-corruption laws, there can be no assurance that such policies or procedures will work effectively all of the time or protect the Company against liability for actions taken by its employees, agents, and intermediaries with respect to its business or any businesses that it may acquire. In the event the Company believes, or has reason to believe, its employees, agents, or intermediaries have or may have violated applicable anti-corruption laws in the jurisdiction in which it operates, including the FCPA, the Company may be required to investigate or have a third party investigate the relevant facts and circumstances, which can be expensive and require significant time and attention from senior management. The Company’s continued operation and expansion outside the U.S., especially in Latin America, could increase the risk, perceived or otherwise, of such violations in the future. If the Company is found to have violated the FCPA or other laws governing the conduct of business with government entities (including local laws), the Company may be subject to criminal and civil penalties and other remedial measures, which could have an adverse effect on its business, results of operations, and financial condition. Investigation of any potential or perceived violations of the FCPA or other anti-corruption laws by U.S. or foreign authorities could harm the Company’s reputation and could have a material adverse effect on its business, results of operations and financial condition.
Failure to maintain certain criteria required by state and local regulatory bodies could result in fines or the loss of the Company’s licenses to conduct business.
Most states and many local jurisdictions both in the U.S. and in Latin America in which the Company operates require registration and licenses of stores and employees to conduct the Company’s business. These states or their respective regulatory bodies have established criteria the Company must meet in order to obtain, maintain, and renew those licenses. For example, many of the states in which the Company operates require it to meet or exceed certain operational, advertising, disclosure, collection, and recordkeeping requirements and to maintain a minimum amount of net worth or equity. From time to time, the Company is subject to audits in these states to ensure it is meeting the applicable requirements to maintain these licenses. Failure to meet these requirements could result in substantial fines and penalties and/or store closures, which could include temporary suspension of operations, the revocation of existing licenses or the denial of new and renewal licensing requests. The Company cannot guarantee future license applications or renewals will be granted. If the Company were to lose any of its licenses to conduct its business, it could result in the temporary or permanent closure of stores, which could adversely affect the Company’s business, results of operations and cash flows.
The complexity of the political and regulatory environment in which the Company operates and the related cost of compliance are both increasing due to the changing political landscape, additional legal and regulatory requirements, the Company’s ongoing expansion into new markets and the fact that foreign laws occasionally are vague or conflict with domestic laws. In addition to potential damage to the Company’s reputation and brand, failure to comply with applicable federal, state and local laws and regulations such as those outlined above may result in the Company being subject to claims, lawsuits, fines and adverse publicity that could have a material adverse effect on its business, results of operations and financial condition.
Foreign Operations Risks
The Company’s financial position and results of operations may fluctuate significantly due to fluctuations in currency exchange rates in Latin American markets.
The Company derives significant revenue, earnings and cash flow from operations in Latin America, where business operations are transacted in Mexican pesos, Guatemalan quetzales and Colombian pesos. The Company’s exposure to currency exchange rate fluctuations results primarily from the translation exposure associated with the preparation of the Company’s consolidated financial statements, as well as from transaction exposure associated with transactions and assets and liabilities denominated in currencies other than the respective subsidiaries’ functional currencies. While the Company’s consolidated financial statements are reported in U.S. dollars, the financial statements of the Company’s Latin American subsidiaries are prepared using their respective functional currency and translated into U.S. dollars by applying appropriate exchange rates. As a result, fluctuations in the exchange rate of the U.S. dollar relative to the Latin American currencies could cause significant fluctuations in the value of the Company’s assets, liabilities, stockholders’ equity and operating results. In addition, while expenses with respect to foreign operations are generally denominated in the same currency as corresponding sales, the Company has transaction exposure to the extent expenditures are incurred in currencies other than the respective subsidiaries’ functional currencies. The costs of doing business in foreign jurisdictions also may increase as a result of adverse currency rate fluctuations. In addition, changes in currency
rates could negatively affect customer demand, especially in Latin America and in U.S. stores located along the Mexican border. For a detailed discussion of the impact of fluctuations in currency exchange rates, see “Item 7A. Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk.”
Risks and uncertainties related to the Company’s foreign operations could negatively impact the Company’s operating results.
As of December 31, 2019, the Company had 1,623 store locations in Latin America, including 1,548 in Mexico, 54 in Guatemala, 13 in El Salvador and eight in Colombia and the Company plans to open additional stores in Latin America in the future. Doing business in each of these countries, and in Latin America generally, involves increased risks related to geo-political events, political instability, corruption, economic volatility, property crime, drug cartel and gang-related violence, social and ethnic unrest including riots and looting, enforcement of property rights, governmental regulations, tax policies, banking policies or restrictions, foreign investment policies, public safety and security, anti-money laundering regulations, interest rate regulation and import/export regulations among others. As in many developing markets, there are also uncertainties as to how both local law and U.S. federal law is applied, including areas involving commercial transactions and foreign investment. As a result, actions or events could occur in Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador or Colombia that are beyond the Company’s control, which could restrict or eliminate the Company’s ability to operate some or all of its locations in these countries or significantly reduce customer traffic, product demand and the expected profitability of such operations.
Changes impacting U.S. international trade and corporate tax provisions may have an adverse effect on the Company’s financial condition and results of operations.
Because international operations increase the complexity of an organization, the Company may face additional administrative costs in managing its business. In addition, most countries typically impose additional burdens on non-domestic companies through the use of local regulations, tariffs, labor controls and other federal or state requirements or legislation. As the Company derives significant revenue, earnings and cash flow from operations in Latin America, primarily in Mexico, there are some inherent risks regarding the overall stability of the trading relationship between Mexico and the U.S. and the burdens imposed thereon by any changes to (or the adoption of new) regulations, tariffs or other federal or state legislation. Specifically, the Company has significant exposure to fluctuations and devaluations of the Mexican peso and the health of the Mexican economy, which, in each case, may be negatively impacted by changes in U.S. trade treaties, including the proposed USMCA and corporate tax policy. In some cases, there have been negative reactions to the enacted and/or proposed policies as expressed in the media and by politicians in Mexico, which could potentially negatively impact U.S. companies operating in Mexico. In particular, there is uncertainty around the new presidential administration in Mexico and how the policies of this new administration, including support of social welfare programs, may impact U.S. companies doing business in Mexico generally and pawn and consumer finance companies in particular. While the Company engages in limited cross-border transactions other than those involving scrap jewelry sales, any such changes in regulations, trade treaties, corporate tax policy, import taxes or adverse court or administrative interpretations of the foregoing could adversely and significantly affect the Mexican economy and ultimately the Mexican peso, which could adversely and significantly affect the Company’s financial position and results of the Company’s Latin America operations.
General Economic and Market Risks
A sustained deterioration of economic conditions or an economic crisis could reduce demand or profitability for the Company’s products and services and increase credit losses which would result in reduced earnings.
The Company’s business and financial results may be adversely impacted by sustained unfavorable economic conditions or unfavorable economic conditions associated with a global or regional economic crisis which, in either case, include adverse changes in interest or tax rates, effects of government initiatives to manage economic conditions and increased volatility of commodity markets and foreign currency exchange rates. Specifically, a sustained or rapid deterioration in the economy could cause deterioration in the performance of the Company’s loan portfolios and in consumer or market demand for pre-owned merchandise or gold such as that sold in the Company’s pawnshops. A sustained deterioration in the economy could reduce the demand and resale value of pre-owned merchandise and reduce the amount that the Company could effectively lend on an item of collateral. Such reductions could adversely affect pawn loan balances, pawn redemption rates, inventory balances, inventory mixes, sales volumes and gross profit margins.
Inclement weather, natural disasters or health epidemics can adversely impact the Company’s operating results.
The occurrence of weather events and natural disasters such as rain, cold weather, snow, wind, storms, hurricanes, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, or health epidemics in the Company’s markets could adversely affect consumer traffic, retail sales and loan origination or collection activities at the Company’s stores and have a material adverse effect on the Company’s results of operations. In addition, the Company may incur property, casualty or other losses not covered by insurance. Losses not covered by insurance
could be substantial and may increase the Company’s expenses, which could harm the Company’s results of operations and financial condition.
Declines in commodity market prices of gold, other precious metals and diamonds could negatively affect the Company’s profits.
The Company’s profitability could be adversely impacted by commodity market fluctuations. As of December 31, 2019, approximately 57% of the Company’s pawn loans were collateralized with jewelry, which is primarily gold, and 47% of its inventories consisted of jewelry, which is also primarily gold. The Company sells significant quantities of gold, other precious metals and diamonds acquired through collateral forfeitures or direct purchases from customers. A significant and sustained decline in gold and/or other precious metal and diamond prices could result in decreased merchandise sales and related margins, decreased inventory valuations and sub-standard collateralization of outstanding pawn loans. In addition, a significant decline in market prices could result in a lower balance of pawn loans outstanding for the Company, as customers would receive lower loan amounts for individual pieces of jewelry or other gold items. For a detailed discussion of the impact of a decline in market prices on wholesale scrap jewelry sales, see “Item 7A. Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk.”
Changes in the capital markets or the Company’s financial condition could reduce availability of capital on favorable terms, if at all.
The Company has, in the past, accessed the debt capital markets to refinance existing debt obligations and to obtain capital to finance growth. Efficient access to these markets is critical to the Company’s ongoing financial success. However, the Company’s future access to the debt capital markets could become restricted due to a variety of factors, including a deterioration of the Company’s earnings, cash flows, balance sheet quality, regulatory restrictions, fines, or orders or other regulatory action causing reputational harm, or overall business or industry prospects, a significant deterioration in the state of the capital markets, including impacts of inflation or rising interest rates or a negative bias toward the Company’s industry by market participants. Inability to access the credit markets on acceptable terms, if at all, could have a material adverse effect on the Company’s financial condition and ability to fund future growth.
Adverse real estate market fluctuations and/or the inability to renew and extend store operating leases could affect the Company’s profits.
The Company leases most of its locations. A significant rise in real estate prices or real property taxes could result in an increase in store lease costs as the Company opens new locations and renews leases for existing locations, thereby negatively impacting the Company’s results of operations. The Company also owns certain developed and undeveloped real estate, which could be impacted by adverse market fluctuations. In addition, the inability of the Company to renew, extend or replace expiring store leases could have an adverse effect on the Company’s results of operations.
A discussion of certain other market risks is covered in “Item 7A. Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk.”
Accounting, Tax and Financial Risks
The Company's existing and future levels of indebtedness could adversely affect its financial health, its ability to obtain financing in the future, its ability to react to changes in its business and its ability to fulfill its obligations under such indebtedness.
As of December 31, 2019, including the Company's 5.375% senior unsecured notes issued in May 2017 (“Notes”) and the Company’s unsecured credit facility, the Company had outstanding principal indebtedness of $635.0 million and availability of $161.7 million under its unsecured credit facility. The Company's level of indebtedness could:
make it more difficult for it to satisfy its obligations with respect to the Notes and its other indebtedness, resulting in possible defaults on and acceleration of such indebtedness;
require it to dedicate a substantial portion of its cash flow from operations to the payment of principal and interest on its indebtedness, thereby reducing the availability of such cash flows to fund working capital, acquisitions, new store openings, capital expenditures and other general corporate purposes;
limit its ability to obtain additional financing for working capital, acquisitions, new store openings, capital expenditures, debt service requirements and other general corporate purposes;
limit its ability to refinance indebtedness or cause the associated costs of such refinancing to increase;
restrict the ability of its subsidiaries to pay dividends or otherwise transfer assets to the Company, which could limit its ability to, among other things, make required payments on its debt;
increase the Company's vulnerability to general adverse economic and industry conditions, including interest rate fluctuations (because a portion of its borrowings are at variable rates of interest); and
place the Company at a competitive disadvantage compared to other companies with proportionately less debt or comparable debt at more favorable interest rates who, as a result, may be better positioned to withstand economic downturns.
Any of the foregoing impacts of the Company's level of indebtedness could have a material adverse effect on its business, financial condition and results of operations.
The Company is subject to goodwill impairment risk.
At December 31, 2019, the Company had $948.6 million of goodwill on its consolidated balance sheet, all of which represents assets capitalized in connection with the Company’s acquisitions and business combinations. Accounting for goodwill requires significant management estimates and judgment. Management performs periodic reviews of the carrying value of goodwill to determine whether events and circumstances indicate that an impairment in value may have occurred. A variety of factors could cause the carrying value of goodwill to become impaired. A write-down of the carrying value of goodwill could result in a non-cash charge, which could have an adverse effect on the Company’s results of operations.
Unexpected changes in both domestic and foreign tax policies could negatively impact the Company’s operating results.
The Company’s financial results may be negatively impacted by changes in domestic or foreign tax policies, including, but not limited to, an increase in statutory tax rates, changes in allowable expense deductions, or the imposition of new withholding requirements on repatriation of foreign earnings.
Certain tax positions taken by the Company require the judgment of management and could be challenged by federal taxing authorities in the U.S. and Latin America.
Management’s judgment is required in determining the provision for income taxes, the deferred tax assets and liabilities and any valuation allowance recorded against deferred tax assets. Management’s judgment is also required in evaluating whether tax benefits meet the more-likely-than-not threshold for recognition under ASC 740-10-25, Income Taxes.
Item 1B. Unresolved Staff Comments
Item 2. Properties
As of December 31, 2019, the Company owned the real estate and buildings for 157 of its pawn stores and owned two other parcels of real estate, including the Company’s corporate headquarters building in Fort Worth, Texas. While the Company generally leases its pawnshop locations, the Company also purchases real estate for its pawnshop locations as opportunities arise at attractive prices, whether through store acquisitions or through purchases from its landlords at existing stores. As of December 31, 2019, the Company leased 2,589 store locations that were open or were in the process of opening. Leased facilities are generally leased for a term of three to five years with one or more options to renew. A majority of the store leases can be terminated early upon an adverse change in law which negatively affects the store’s profitability. The Company’s leases expire on dates ranging between 2020 and 2045. All store leases provide for specified periodic rental payments ranging from approximately $1,000 to $25,000 per month as of December 31, 2019. For more information about the Company’s pawn store locations, see “Item 1. Business—Locations and Operations.”
The following table details material corporate locations leased by the Company (dollars in thousands):
Lease Expiration Date
Monthly Rental Payment
December 31, 2024
Mexico City, Mexico
March 31, 2024
Fort Worth, Texas
July 31, 2021
Most leases require the Company to maintain the property and pay the cost of insurance and property taxes. The Company believes termination of any particular lease would not have a material adverse effect on the Company’s operations. The Company believes the facilities currently owned and leased by it as pawn stores are suitable for such purpose. The Company considers its equipment, furniture and fixtures to be in good condition.
Item 3. Legal Proceedings
The Company is a defendant in certain routine litigation matters and regulatory actions encountered in the ordinary course of its business. Certain of these matters are covered to an extent by insurance. In the opinion of management, the resolution of these matters is not expected to have a material adverse effect on the Company’s financial position, results of operations or liquidity.
Item 4. Mine Safety Disclosures
Item 5. Market for Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities
General Market Information
The Company’s common stock is quoted on the Nasdaq Global Select Market (“Nasdaq”) under the symbol “FCFS.”
On January 28, 2020, there were approximately 270 stockholders of record of the Company’s common stock.
In October 2019, the Company’s Board of Directors approved an increase in the annual dividend of 8% from $1.00 per share to $1.08 per share, or $0.27 per share quarterly, beginning in the fourth quarter of 2019. The declared $0.27 per share first quarter cash dividend on common shares outstanding, or an aggregate of $11.4 million based on the December 31, 2019 share count, will be paid on February 28, 2020 to stockholders of record as of February 14, 2020. While the Company currently expects to continue the payment of quarterly cash dividends, the declaration and payment of cash dividends in the future (quarterly or otherwise) will be made by the Board of Directors, from time to time, subject to the Company’s financial condition, results of operations, business requirements, compliance with legal requirements and debt covenant restrictions.
Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities
During 2019, the Company repurchased a total of 1,305,000 shares of common stock at an aggregate cost of $114.0 million and an average cost per share of $87.37, and during 2018, repurchased 3,343,000 shares of common stock at an aggregate cost of $274.5 million and an average cost per share of $82.12.
The following table provides the information with respect to purchases made by the Company of shares of its common stock during each month a share repurchase program was in effect during the three months ended December 31, 2019 (dollars in thousands, except per share amounts):
Total Number Of
As Part Of Publicly
Approximate Dollar Value Of Shares That May Yet Be Purchased Under The Plans
October 1 through October 31, 2019
November 1 through November 30, 2019
December 1 through December 31, 2019
The following table provides purchases made by the Company of shares of its common stock under each share repurchase program in effect during 2019 (dollars in thousands):
Plan Authorization Date
Plan Completion Date
Dollar Amount Authorized
Shares Purchased in 2019
Dollar Amount Purchased in 2019
Remaining Dollar Amount Authorized For Future Purchases
July 25, 2018
April 23, 2019
October 24, 2018
The graph set forth below compares the cumulative total stockholder return on the common stock of the Company for the period from December 31, 2014 through December 31, 2019, with the cumulative total return on the Standard & Poor’s (“S&P”) MidCap 400 Index and the Russell 2000 Index, representing broad-based equity market indexes, and the S&P MidCap 400 Financials Index and the S&P MidCap 400 Consumer Discretionary Index, representing industry-based indexes, over the same period (assuming the investment of $100 on December 31, 2014 and assuming the reinvestment of all dividends on the date paid). The Company has previously included a peer group index, however believes the comparison to the above mentioned industry-based indexes is a more applicable comparison. As a result, the performance graph below does not include a peer group index. Note that historic performance is not necessarily indicative of future performance.
Item 6. Selected Financial Data
The information below should be read in conjunction with “Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” and the Company’s consolidated financial statements and related notes thereto in “Item 8. Financial Statements and Supplementary Data.” The information below is derived from and qualified by reference to the Company’s audited financial statements for each of the five years ended December 31, 2019.
Year Ended December 31,
(in thousands, except per share amounts and location counts)
Income Statement Data (1):
Retail merchandise sales
Pawn loan fees
Wholesale scrap jewelry sales
Consumer loan and credit services fees
Cost of revenue:
Cost of retail merchandise sold
Cost of wholesale scrap jewelry sold
Consumer loan and credit services loss provision
Total cost of revenue
Expenses and other income:
Store operating expenses
Depreciation and amortization
Interest expense, net
Merger and other acquisition expenses
(Gain) loss on foreign exchange
Loss on extinguishment of debt
Net gain on sale of common stock of Enova
Goodwill impairment - U.S. consumer loan operations
Total expenses and other income
Income before income taxes
Provision for income taxes
Dividends declared per common share
Year Ended December 31,
Income Statement Data (Continued) (1):
Earnings per share:
Balance Sheet Data:
Net working capital
Statement of Cash Flows Data:
Net cash flows provided by (used in):
Consumer loan stores
See “Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Non-GAAP Financial Information—Adjusted Net Income and Adjusted Diluted Earnings Per Share” for additional information about certain 2019, 2018 and 2017 income and expense items that affected the Company’s consolidated net income and diluted earnings per share.
Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations
The Company is a leading operator of retail-based pawn stores with over 2,600 store locations in the U.S. and Latin America. The Company’s pawn stores generate retail sales primarily from the merchandise acquired through collateral forfeitures and over-the-counter purchases from customers. The stores also offer pawn loans to help customers meet small short-term cash needs. Personal property, such as jewelry, electronics, tools, appliances, sporting goods and musical instruments is pledged as collateral for the pawn loans and held by the Company over the term of the loan plus a stated grace period. In addition, a small number of the Company’s pawn stores offer credit services products or unsecured consumer loans. The Company’s strategy is to grow revenues and income by opening new (“de novo”) retail pawn locations, acquiring existing pawn stores in strategic markets and increasing revenue and operating profits in existing stores. Pawn operations, which include retail merchandise sales, pawn loan fees and wholesale scrap jewelry sales, accounted for approximately 99% and 97% of the Company’s consolidated revenue during 2019 and 2018, respectively.
The Company organizes its operations into two reportable segments. The U.S. operations segment consists of all pawn and unsecured consumer loan operations in the U.S. and the Latin America operations segment consists of all pawn operations in Latin America, which includes operations in Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador and Colombia. Financial information regarding the Company’s revenue and long-lived assets by geographic areas is provided in Note 16 of Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements contained herein.
The Company recognizes pawn loan fee revenue on a constant-yield basis over the life of the pawn loan for all pawn loans of which the Company deems collection to be probable based on historical redemption statistics. If a pawn loan is not repaid prior to the expiration of the loan term, including any extension or grace period, if applicable, the property is forfeited to the Company and transferred to inventory at a value equal to the principal amount of the loan, exclusive of accrued pawn fee revenue. The Company records merchandise sales revenue at the time of the sale and presents merchandise sales net of any sales or value-added taxes collected. The Company does not provide direct financing to customers for the purchase of its merchandise, but does permit its customers to purchase merchandise on an interest-free “layaway” plan. Should the customer fail to make a required payment pursuant to a layaway plan, the item is returned to inventory and all or a portion of previous payments are typically forfeited to the Company. Interim payments from customers on layaway sales are recorded as deferred revenue and subsequently recorded as retail merchandise sales revenue when the merchandise is delivered to the customer upon receipt of final payment or when previous payments are forfeited to the Company. Some jewelry is processed at third-party facilities and the precious metal and diamond content is sold at either prevailing market commodity prices or a previously agreed upon price with a commodity buyer. The Company records revenue from these wholesale scrap jewelry transactions when a price has been agreed upon and the Company ships the commodity to the buyer.
The Company operates six stand-alone consumer finance stores in the U.S., which provide credit services. In addition, 41 of the Company’s pawn stores also offer credit services or unsecured consumer loans as an ancillary product. These products have been deemphasized by the Company in recent years due to regulatory constraints and increased internet based competition for such products. Unsecured consumer loan and credit services revenue accounted for 1% and 3% of consolidated revenue for 2019 and 2018, respectively.
The Company recognizes service fee income on unsecured consumer loan transactions on a constant-yield basis over the life of the loan and recognizes credit services fees ratably over the life of the extension of credit made by the Independent Lender. Changes in the valuation reserve on unsecured consumer loans and credit services transactions are charged or credited to the consumer loan credit loss provision.
Operating expenses consist of all items directly related to the operation of the Company’s stores, including salaries and related payroll costs, rent, utilities, facilities maintenance, advertising, property taxes, licenses, supplies and security. Administrative expenses consist of items relating to the operation of the corporate offices, including the compensation and benefit costs of corporate management, district managers and other operations management personnel, collection operations and personnel, accounting and administrative costs, information technology costs, liability and casualty insurance, outside legal and accounting fees and stockholder-related expenses. Merger and other acquisition expenses primarily include incremental costs directly associated with merger and acquisition activities, including professional fees, legal expenses, severance, retention and other employee-related costs, contract breakage costs and costs related to consolidation of technology systems and corporate facilities.
Stores included in the same-store calculations presented in this report are those stores that were opened or acquired prior to the beginning of the prior-year comparative period and remained open through the end of the reporting period. Also included are stores that were relocated during the applicable period within a specified distance serving the same market where there is not a significant change in store size and where there is not a significant overlap or gap in timing between the opening of the new store and the closing of the existing store.
The Company’s management reviews and analyzes certain operating results in Latin America on a constant currency basis because the Company believes this better represents the Company’s underlying business trends. Constant currency results are non-GAAP financial measures, which exclude the effects of foreign currency translation and are calculated by translating current-year results at prior-year average exchange rates. The scrap jewelry generated in Latin America is sold and settled in U.S. dollars, and therefore, wholesale scrap jewelry sales revenue is not affected by foreign currency translation. A small percentage of the operating and administrative expenses in Latin America are also billed and paid in U.S. dollars, which are not affected by foreign currency translation.
Business operations in Mexico, Guatemala and Colombia are transacted in Mexican pesos, Guatemalan quetzales and Colombian pesos, respectively. The Company also has operations in El Salvador where the reporting and functional currency is the U.S. dollar. The following table provides exchange rates for the Mexican peso, Guatemalan quetzal and Colombian peso for the current and prior-year periods:
Mexican peso / U.S. dollar exchange rate:
Twelve months ended
Guatemalan quetzal / U.S. dollar exchange rate:
Twelve months ended
Colombian peso / U.S. dollar exchange rate:
Twelve months ended
Amounts presented on a constant currency basis are denoted as such. See “Non-GAAP Financial Information” for additional discussion of constant currency operating results.
The following table details income statement items as a percent of total revenue and other operating metrics:
Year Ended December 31,
Retail merchandise sales
Pawn loan fees
Wholesale scrap jewelry sales
Consumer loan and credit services fees
Cost of revenue:
Cost of retail merchandise sold
Cost of wholesale scrap jewelry sold
Consumer loan and credit services loss provision
Expenses and other income:
Store operating expenses
Depreciation and amortization
Interest expense, net
Merger and other acquisition expenses
(Gain) loss on foreign exchange
Loss on extinguishment of debt
Income before income taxes
Provision for income taxes
Critical Accounting Policies
The preparation of financial statements in conformity with GAAP requires management to make estimates, assumptions and judgments that affect the reported amounts of assets and liabilities, related revenue and expenses, and disclosure of gain and loss contingencies at the date of the financial statements. Such estimates, assumptions and judgments are subject to a number of risks and uncertainties, which may cause actual results to differ materially from the Company’s estimates. The significant accounting policies that the Company believes are the most critical to aid in fully understanding and evaluating its reported financial results include the following:
Customer loans and revenue recognition - Receivables on the balance sheet consist of pawn loans and unsecured consumer loans. Pawn loans are collateralized by pledged tangible personal property, which the Company holds during the term of the loan plus a stated grace period. In certain markets, the Company also provides pawn loans collateralized by automobiles, which remain in the Company’s possession or in limited cases, remain in the possession of the customer. The Company accrues pawn loan fee revenue on a constant-yield basis over the life of the pawn for all pawns for which the Company deems collection to be probable based on historical pawn redemption statistics. The typical pawn loan term is generally 30 days plus an additional grace period of 14 to 90 days, depending on geographical markets and local regulations. Pawn loans may be either paid in full with accrued pawn loan fees and service charges or, where permitted by law, may be renewed or extended by the customer’s payment of accrued pawn loan fees and service charges. If the pawn is not repaid upon expiration of the grace period, the principal amount loaned becomes the inventory carrying value of the forfeited collateral, which is typically recovered through sales of the forfeited items at prices well above the carrying value.
The Company’s pawn merchandise sales are primarily retail sales to the general public in its pawn stores. The Company typically acquires pawn merchandise inventory through forfeited pawn loans and through purchases of used goods directly from the general public. The Company records sales revenue at the time of the sale. The Company presents merchandise sales net of any sales or value-added taxes collected. The Company does not provide direct financing to customers for the purchase of its merchandise, but does permit its customers to purchase merchandise on an interest-free “layaway” plan. Should the customer fail to make a required payment pursuant to a layaway plan, the item is returned to inventory and all or a portion of previous payments are typically forfeited to the Company. Interim payments from customers on layaway sales are recorded as deferred revenue and subsequently recorded as retail merchandise sales revenue when the merchandise is delivered to the customer upon receipt of final payment or when previous payments are forfeited to the Company. Some jewelry is processed at third-party facilities and the precious metal and diamond content is sold at either prevailing market commodity prices or a previously agreed upon price with a commodity buyer. The Company records revenue from these wholesale scrap jewelry transactions when a price has been agreed upon and the Company ships the commodity to the buyer.
The Company recognizes service fee income on unsecured consumer loan transactions on a constant-yield basis over the life of the loan. Unsecured consumer loans have terms that typically range from 7 to 45 days. The Company recognizes credit services fees ratably over the life of the extension of credit made by the Independent Lender. The extensions of credit made by the Independent Lender to credit services customers typically have terms of 7 to 180 days.
Credit loss provisions - The Company has determined no allowance related to credit losses on pawn loans is required, as the fair value of the pledged collateral is significantly in excess of the pawn loan amount. The Company maintains an allowance for credit losses on unsecured consumer loans on an aggregate basis at a level it considers sufficient to cover estimated losses in the collection of its unsecured consumer loans. The allowance for credit losses is periodically reviewed by management with any changes reflected in current operations.
Under the CSO Program, the Company assists customers in applying for a short-term extension of credit from an Independent Lender and issues the Independent Lender a guarantee for the repayment of the extension of credit. The Company is required to recognize, at the inception of the guarantee, a liability for the estimated fair value of the obligation undertaken by issuing the guarantee, which is included in accrued liabilities. The estimated fair value of the liability is periodically reviewed by management with any changes reflected in current operations.
Inventories - Inventories represent merchandise acquired from forfeited pawns and merchandise purchased directly from the general public. The Company also retails limited quantities of new or refurbished merchandise obtained directly from wholesalers and manufacturers. Inventories from forfeited pawns are recorded at the amount of the pawn principal on the unredeemed goods, exclusive of accrued interest. Inventories purchased directly from customers, wholesalers and manufacturers are recorded at cost. The cost of inventories is determined on the specific identification method. Inventories are stated at the lower of cost or net realizable value and, accordingly, inventory valuation allowances are established if inventory carrying values are in excess of estimated selling prices, net of direct costs of disposal. Management has evaluated inventories and determined that a valuation allowance is not necessary.
Goodwill and other indefinite-lived intangible assets - Goodwill represents the excess of the purchase price over the fair value of the net assets acquired in each business combination. The Company performs its goodwill impairment assessment annually as of December 31, and between annual assessments if an event occurs or circumstances change that would more likely than not reduce the fair value of a reporting unit below its carrying amount. The Company’s reporting units, which are tested for impairment, are U.S. operations and Latin America operations. The Company assesses goodwill for impairment at a reporting unit level by first assessing a range of qualitative factors, including, but not limited to, macroeconomic conditions, industry conditions, the competitive environment, changes in the market for the Company’s products and services, regulatory and political developments, entity specific factors such as strategy and changes in key personnel, and overall financial performance. If, after completing this assessment, it is determined that it is more likely than not that the fair value of a reporting unit is less than its carrying value, the Company proceeds to the two-step impairment testing methodology.
The Company’s material indefinite-lived intangible assets consist of trade names and pawn licenses. The Company performs its indefinite-lived intangible asset impairment assessment annually as of December 31, and between annual assessments if an event occurs or circumstances change that would more likely than not reduce the fair value of a reporting unit below its carrying amount.
Foreign currency transactions - The Company has significant operations in Latin America, where in Mexico, Guatemala and Colombia the functional currency is the Mexican peso, Guatemalan quetzal and Colombian peso, respectively. Accordingly, the assets and liabilities of these subsidiaries are translated into U.S. dollars at the exchange rate in effect at each balance sheet date, and the resulting adjustments are accumulated in other comprehensive income (loss) as a separate component of stockholders’ equity. Revenues and expenses are translated at the average exchange rates occurring during the respective period. Prior to translation, U.S. dollar-denominated transactions of the foreign subsidiaries are remeasured into their functional currency using current rates of exchange for monetary assets and liabilities and historical rates of exchange for non-monetary assets and liabilities. Gains and losses from remeasurement of dollar-denominated monetary assets and liabilities in Mexico, Guatemala and Colombia are accumulated in (gain) loss on foreign exchange in the consolidated statements of income. Deferred taxes are not currently recorded on cumulative foreign currency translation adjustments, as the Company indefinitely reinvests earnings of its foreign subsidiaries. The Company also has operations in El Salvador where the reporting and functional currency is the U.S. dollar.
Results of Operations
2019 Consolidated Operating Results Highlights
The following table sets forth revenue, net income, diluted earnings per share, adjusted net income, adjusted diluted earnings per share, EBITDA and adjusted EBITDA for the year ended December 31, 2019 as compared to the year ended December 31, 2018 (in thousands, except per share amounts):
Year Ended December 31,
As Reported (GAAP)
Diluted earnings per share
EBITDA (non-GAAP measure)