The competition affected the company ‘ s Cash America VIP program which offered discounts on unredeemed merchandise to frequent shoppers in an effort to attract bargain shoppers. The system linked all its U.S. stores to coordinate and manage thousands of loans and over a million different items of inventory. Using information from that system, Daugherty found that inventory was too high, that unredeemed items were not being turned over quickly enough despite the discounts. He also decided that too much emphasis was being placed on retail to the detriment of the actual loan business.
1996 to the Present
The company established two goals for 1996: to reinforce U.S. operations on the importance of successful lending at the unit level and to sharpen the emphasis on cash-on-cash returns at every level of the organization, both domestic and foreign. Cash America also decided to slow its rate of growth, with a net gain of 9 units during the year, for a total of 382.
But the refocus did not stop Daugherty from moving into another alternative financial business. By erica had purchased all the shares of Mr. Payroll, which then had about 160 locations in 21 states. Mr. Payroll was started by John Templer in 1988 as he lay in a hospital bed in High Plains, Texas, after battling Guillian-Barre, a rare neurological disease, for two years. Templer and his partner, Michael Stinson, began by cashing checks for nurses at the hospital, using an armored car. Running the armored car two days a week, they also cashed checks for workers at two nearby manufacturing plants.
Mr. Payroll expanded to Amarillo in 1989, putting check cashing booths in eight Toot ‘ n Totum Food installment loans in Washington Stores. People kept calling Templer, wanting to open booths in other towns, and he e a wholly owned subsidiary of Cash America, national companies such as Texaco, Circle K, and Diamond-Shamrock wanted to be franchisees. In Shreveport, Louisiana, for example, Mr. Payroll built eight locations for Circle K. ‘ They want it. It adds value to them. They take the cash out of the store and recycle it through checks they cash and the customers spend the money in the store. That ‘ s a big advantage to the stores, ” Templer explained to the Amarillo Business Journal.
The acquisition was also advantageous to Cash America in its efforts to serve the non-banking segment of the population and become, to quote the 1996 Annual Report, “ a broader based, specialty financial services entity. ” Neither Mr. Payroll nor the company ‘ s affiliate, Express Rent-a-Tire, Ltd., contributed to earnings in 1996.
Cash America ‘ s income from its domestic operations increased in 1996 after dropping in 1995. Loan balances increased 23 percent while inventory levels dropped by 14 percent. The company ended the year with an all-time high average domestic loan balance of $190,000 per location and a year-end inventory level of $145,000 per location, the lowest in several years. Daugherty credited the company ‘ s ability to respond to a stronger than expected demand for loans, with the increase coming from more loans, not larger loans. This was evidence that the company was increasing its customer base and market penetration. For the first time in its history, Cash America had more than $100 million in outstanding loans.
In November, the company announced a “ Dutch Auction ” to buy back 4.5 million shares. Under that process, shareholders tendered shares at prices between $7.00 and $8.50 and Cash America then determined the single share price within that range that would allow it to purchase 4.5 million or fewer shares. In December the company purchased 4.5 million shares at $8.50 per share. In January 1997, the Board of Directors was authorized to repurchase up to one million shares on the open erica acquired Rothchilds Sales & Loans, the largest pawnshop chain in Utah with five locations in and around Salt Lake City. That same month, Mr. Payroll expected to have its first self-service check-cashing and automated teller machines up and running in three towns in Texas. With the TrueFace technology used in the machines, customers would be able to cash any check in less than a minute without showing any photo identification. Instead, the technology verified a customer ‘ s identity by recognizing the contour of his or her face.