PCG Meets with CEO of First Cash


Hello Pawn World,

I am happy to report that I recently spent a great afternoon visiting with Rick Wessel the CEO of First Cash.

As many of you do know, First Cash and Cash America recently merged their two companies together with Mr. Wessel remaining the CEO of the combined entity. The merger was comprised of a near 1 billion dollar tax free “stock swap” of First Cash stock for the Cash America stock with First Cash remaining with the controlling interest in the combined entities.

I have known Mr. Wessel for many years. Rick came from Price Waterhouse and was involved with assisting First Cash with their Initial Public Offering back in the early 90’s. Post that event, he joined the team and has been there ever since.

As a point in fact, my family and I operated a 12-store pawn chain in the DFW area under the name of “Uncle Joe’s” when First Cash went public. They had 5 stores at the time and raised approximately 5 million dollars. The principal founders were John Payne and Rick Powell. Shortly after their public offering John and Rick Powell approached us (Uncle Joe’s) to see if we would consider merging with them. Our family had done a fair amount of negotiation with that team and were actually down to Letter of Intent stage with First Cash in late 1992.

At that same time Cash America’s founder Jack Daugherty had reached out to me and basically said “we know you have a lot of opportunities in front of you and cash is cash, and Cash America sure would like to have another run at your company”. Within 20 days of that phone call we sold our family business, assets only to Cash America in late 1992.

First Cash has had a long track record of steady performance both from a stock growth perspective and an operational perspective.

Mr. Wessel was highlighting how their stock since the IPO over some 25 years has had a compounded growth average per year of some 25% throughout the history of the company. These are amazing results, coming from an amazing company and makes them one of the top performing companies of all time. The stock price also reached an all time high during the week of March 6th 2018.

The combined company now operates more than 2200 stores and has a market cap of some 3.5 Billion dollars and is the worlds’ largest publicly traded pawn operation.

Rick also boasted over the years how many thought the company was making grave mistakes when they moved into Mexico and also moved out of the Payday Lending Industry.

Today First Cash operates more than 1100 stores in Mexico and has a presence in Guatemala, and now in Colombia and has completely ceased all of their payday operations.

First Cash began strategically moving out of the Payday Industry long before the curve of significant regulations were coming into play, and at a time other players were ramping up their payday presence. First Cash as a public Pawn company was the first player in the Payday sector some years back. His emphasis was to continue to drive the business that brought them to the party so to speak and grow the business they really understood and admired which has always been the Pawn business.

IN conclusion I would like to say that Rick is one of the most down to earth and genuine people you would ever meet. Some years back he and I were in Latin America together exploring opportunities and his presence there was well accepted as it is pretty much anywhere that I could imagine.

Rick is from Texas, he is also a graduate from Abilene Christian College and his down to earth perspective I believe has been some of the catalyst to his success, along with his great team of people they have assembled. First Cash has kept a relatively low profile over the years and just kept on doing what they do, and they do it quite well. All components for a successfully driven business model.  

It is very humbling for me and my journey in life and in the Pawn Industry to meet and work with such wonderful people who also illustrate that the common goals for success remain to be determination, hard-work, solid business ethics, and a desire to achieve.

Stay tuned, much more coming from the Pawnshop Consulting Group!

Jerry Whitehead

Pawnshop Consulting Group, LLC.

900 Egan Way CT

Burleson, Texas 76028