Monday, June 22, 2009

ACCA Insider

A Perfect Storm for Consumer Financing?
You don't need us to tell you that consumer financing is in freefall. More major players in direct HVAC financing are pulling out of the market, or tightening their requirements substantially. Now a major piece of credit card "reform" legislation looks like it may make it even harder for consumers to access credit lines to replace their HVAC equipment.

On the one hand, replacement of inefficient HVAC systems is the best way to lower our nation's energy use and dependence. On the other hand, if people can't access credit to make the purchase, then many of them won't make it.

Some supporters of financing "reform" openly admit that their goal is to change America's consumer culture and get more people to save rather than spend. But many of these same supporters are just as forceful in their desire to improve energy efficiency and the environment. Installing better HVAC systems is the best way to do this, but without financing, it's not going to happen.

ACCA Chairman Stan Johnson is looking to call together a top-level summit of HVACR industry leaders from across all sectors to talk about financing and what, if anything, we can do as an industry. But we need to hear from you -- we need your stories and facts on how the current financing environment is affecting your business.

Are you having to turn customers away because of financing problems, and thus leaving in place inefficient systems? (If the answer is "no" then we still need to hear from you!) Have you had any success working with local banks on financing? Are you pursuing or implementing any innovative arrangements, or do you have any other ideas or insight on how to approach this problem?

Send your stories and comments on financing to with the subject line "Financing" or just reply to this Insider email. Your thoughts are needed as we grapple with this vexing, economy-wide issue. We will also share stories and ideas in a special issue of the Insider.