VIRGINIA BEACH, Va.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Jeff Feinberg, a Managing Director with global professional services firm Alvarez & Marsal, has been named CEO of USA Discounters, a retailer with 24 stores in 13 states and the District of Columbia. As part of his efforts to enhance the company’s operations, he has met with members of Congress and pledged to work with them to improve industry-wide guidelines governing credit practices involving military service members.
With many of its stores near military bases, USA Discounters has had a long and important relationship with the military community. Since assuming the position of CEO, Mr. Feinberg has been conducting a comprehensive examination of all of the company’s business practices, placing special emphasis on those related to credit and collection practices involving military consumers. He has provided members of Congress with complete transparency into how USA Discounters operates and has committed to assisting Congress as well as other government entities in the development and implementation of any changes that can and should be made to ensure that the men and women serving this country are treated appropriately.
Over the last several months, USA Discounters has implemented several key improvements on its own accord, many of which could form the basis of new, industry-standard practices. These include:
- Hiring a new head of financial services and collections;
- Revamping collection escalation policies, processes and procedures for military personnel;
- Publishing a Customer Bill of Rights, guidelines on how the company treats customers;
- Further expanding the number of disclosures provided to customers to make every aspect of the transaction as clear as possible, including information about what happens in the event a customer defaults;
- Introducing a venue selection form to accompany all contracts and providing customers with additional selection points throughout the collection process;
- Making available additional in-store materials to help customers better understand credit obligations, what they are agreeing to and how credit works;
- Upgrading employee training and improving customer service operations;
- Reviewing all products to ensure the merchandise mix is appropriate from a pricing perspective; and
- Forming a Military Advisory Board comprised of former/retired senior military personnel and chaired by Al McMichaels, the former Sergeant Major of the United States Marine Corps.
In addition, after an exhaustive, year-long examination into the company, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) raised a concern about one issue related to a $5 fee the company charged service members as a condition of credit - a fee that was passed on to a third party company. USA Discounters made no profit and, in fact, lost money, in connection with the fees in question. The company has agreed to return the $5 fee to customers and pay a penalty of $50,000. It also severed the relationship with the third-party vendor to which the fee was paid, eliminating the fee from all future transactions.
“There is no company that feels more passionately than USA Discounters about our nation's service members and the sacrifices they make for our country,” said Mr. Feinberg. “While a complete evaluation of all of the company’s operations and practices was already underway, recent events have caused us to put an even finer point on our process and look for ways in which we can improve our business, not just to enhance the bottom line, but because it’s in the best interests of our customers and simply the right thing to do.
“Our goal is to be on the forefront of change not just for USA Discounters, but for an entire industry – change that goes beyond the letter of the law and creates a foundation of transparency and trust for all organizations who have the privilege of serving those who serve and sacrifice for us all.”
Mr. Feinberg has nearly 20 years of experience serving in senior executive roles and an extensive background in the retail industry, having worked with numerous manufacturers, wholesalers and prominent brands. He has also served as CFO of a Germany-based regional jet aircraft manufacturer, a Sweden-based leading airfreight container manufacturer and one of Europe’s largest integrated tour operators. Most recently, he was interim CEO of a mid-south, deep discount retailer, when it was acquired by a private equity firm.
Privately-held since 1983, Alvarez & Marsal is a leading global professional services firm that delivers business performance improvement, turnaround management and advisory services to organizations seeking to transform operations, catapult growth and accelerate results through decisive action.
About USA Discounters
Founded in 1991, USA Discounters is a Virginia Beach-based retail company that operates 24 retail stores across 13 states and the District of Columbia, selling merchandise consisting of brand-name furniture, electronics, appliances, automotive accessories and jewelry. It also owns Fletcher’s Jewelers, which has seven stand-alone stores in five states. The company actively supports numerous military programs aimed at veterans, youth and military families and many of its employees formerly served in the Armed Services.