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September/October Cover Stories

Industry Leadership on the Future of Collection Technology

The speed at which technology in the accounts receivable industry is advancing seems to be increasing exponentially. As the CFPB has finally provided guidance on expectations for newer technology use, advancement is about to be kicked into hyperdrive.

But what is the best direction for technology and how professionals plan to use it? There are many viable directions and many needs to be addressed. Receivables Advisor reached out to industry leadership to get their thoughts on what preparations professionals should begin for the future, what tools we might be using and what technology professionals should start updating to get a jump start.

What is a key collection technology to master for 2020?

kiefer mattMatt Kiefer, MBA
Chief Officer of Information, Compliance & Development
The Preferred Group of Tampa

Alternative communication channels like SMS and email, I think, will be key to master in 2020 depending on what the final rule is that comes from the CFPB as well as the FCC in clarifying the TCPA and FDCPA. We have to be able to (legally) adapt to changing consumer preferences in the way we communicate that is not obtrusive to the consumer but doesn’t open a niche market to frivolous litigation either.

nash melissaMelissa L. Nash
President/CEO
ARI

Digital conversations such as texting, FaceTime and Skype. I believe consumers will speak with representatives face to face to resolve issues and our internal agents will use facial recognition to assist with rightparty contacts assuaging fears of confirming personal data with unknown parties. Our operational software will evolve for online payment processing with ease.

klein bradBrad Klein
President
Paid In Full, Inc.

The use of virtual negotiators in the collection process is definitely becoming more commonplace as agencies large and small try to find ways to more efficiently communicate with consumers. Agencies who embrace this technology being offered by more and more vendors will see increases in recoveries without an investment of an actual collector.

townsend jonJon Townsend
President
Cash-Pro, Inc.

Omni-channel communication methods: I think it’s fairly apparent that we will have to adapt to our consumers’ chosen methods of communication.

jeselnik michaelMichael Jeselnik
General Manager
Carter-Young, Inc.

Multi-channel communications. How often do you see teenagers actually talking on their phone? Not that often! Take a moment to observe how these teens communicate: Snapchat, Instagram, FaceTime/ video chat, text and email. This demographic of future debtor avoids voice-only communications with almost as much gusto as avoiding their chores! If you’re not planning to expand the modes of communication your agency uses, you may find yourself getting left behind.

stone kimberlyKimberly Stone
General Managing Director
KLS Financial Services

I think the biggest hottest collection technology to master that can directly impact the bottom line and payroll is a software that can manage, catalog and cut down on time spent responding to e-OSCAR disputes and allow for timely responses. We are excited to implement this software here in the next few weeks. The only one that I know of is the Sonnet product, but there may be others. Other agencies have already gotten this integrated into their collection software and the references have been outstanding. When an agency owner tells you this is the best technology they have implemented in ten years, that speaks volumes! The immediate return in reduced payroll and fluidity in responses, and simple automation will be noticeable in the first month of launch. I think moving administrative resources to items that can generate revenue will be a game changer especially for the small to midsize agency whose resources may be stretched already.

kussart paulinePauline Kussart
President
The Stark Collection Agency

I would say having an omni-channel platform will be a critical element of our overall strategy leading to success. The generations including Millennials, Gen Z and to some degree Gen X individuals would rather communicate via a means other than by telephone. We need to have the right technology available for the right consumer to communicate with us at the right time!

tramontano frankFrank Tramontano
VP of Information Technology, CIO
Immediate Credit Recovery

A key collection technology for 2020 will be the necessity of the appropriate data analytics tools which allows agents to analyze and predict consumer behavior. Firms planning for an implementation must realize that storing and processing data throughout the collection lifecycle can be overwhelming if not sized correctly as the amount of consumer related data will significantly grow. As such, accounts receivable firms will be required to procure a scalable system that is expandable to match data growth and include enough computing power to process the volume data accordingly. Accurate analytics of collection data when applied to the appropriate collection methodologies is sure to increase revenue, improve business processes, lower operational costs and allow firms to remain competitive. Also, to extend predictive analysis, the inclusion of AI system learning capabilities in the process will provide assumptions based on the data, test its findings and continue to learn autonomously which can significantly increase collections potential. What is an often-neglected collection technology professionals need to update?

What is an often-neglected collection technology professionals need to update?

Matt Kiefer, MBA

I think security protocols are often neglected because an agency either thinks they are not on the radar or get complacent. Security patches and updates to firewall and antivirus software need to be maintained and, more importantly, followed up on to ensure they are updated, as well as at least quarterly scans and penetration testing even if it means enlisting the services of a professional outside of your organization needs to be considered.

Melissa L. Nash

Staffing becomes a reactionary update and initiating change is becoming harder and harder. First it’s overcoming the fear of the next lawsuit and secondly, the mindset of the future workforce. Agencies will automate processes and reduce personnel. The next next: The data company who takes our bad phone numbers and scrubs them to return only good numbers will make a fortune. The reselling of old and bad data has to be addressed by agencies and the company who truly realizes the value of receiving information will be the industry standard. The cost of bad data drives up our liability and operational costs.

Brad Klein

Agencies need to ensure their collection software and their network as a whole are as secure as possible. The data most agencies maintain in their systems is highly sought after by identity thieves. Blocking access to the data via highquality and up-to-date firewalls and anti-virus software is all that is standing between the agency and the data thief.

Jon Townsend

Internal scoring: We have access to so much data within our systems that has already been segregated into our target markets. We have historical performance that can be linked to consumer demographics, industry types, payment histories, contact rates, geographic information, etc. It doesn’t require a lot of computing power or sophisticated programming to utilize this data to help predict the outcomes and behaviors of our consumers.

Michael Jeselnik

Analysis of your data. Most collection software has very robust reporting; however, it seems many agencies are not taking the time to extract and analyze this data. I always encourage that business decisions should be based more on quantifiable data and less on our “gut feelings.”

Kimberly Stone

This is a difficult question, as we have pretty much implemented changes in just about every area of collection technology in the last couple of years which in all honesty we neglected because of the old adage “if it ain’t broke.” For us, the most significant switch was telephonic. Phone systems can last for years! For a mid-sized agency, a 50K investment in phone system and recording software on a five-year lease should last at least twice that time, and it did (perhaps longer but time flies). Admittedly, this was a neglected area and systematically we were using four or five tools to come up with metrics, call logs, recording logs, dialing campaigns, interoffice messaging, and manually analyzing data to determine call times, etc.

Yes, it lasted for years and actually still works (currently for sale on eBay). As a collection professional, focus was on revenue generating changes; therefore, the phone system just wasn’t on the radar. Who knew that soft phones would be so much easier for our younger staffers and that dialing out would improve by 10%? Who knew that with one cloud software I could reroute calls while at a conference or when stuck at home in a snowstorm? Who knew that my phone vendor (Vaspian) could offer support and compliance for a per seat cost? I finally paid attention and now my fastest dialers are even faster, my recordings are much easier to locate.

Training software like Balto (another technology you should investigate) can be attached and give live analysis on calls to monitor compliance and train in the moment. A cloud solution means I don’t have to deal with four servers and an overheating server room. So for me, I realized that my focus on revenue generating collection changes missed the mark for years and perhaps limited our growth in ways I didn’t even conceptualize. Attending the national conferences and paying attention to vendors there and at our local unit meetings made the difference with simple knowledge of what is available in our industry. Often at these conferences the face-to-face with our vendors affords better pricing opportunities.

Pauline Kussart

As old fashioned as it sounds, we all still need to send collection notices at some point during our normal course of business. We need to pay attention to what our letter vendors can offer in terms of integration with texting, emailing, etc. I think letter vendors have more to offer than some of us are taking advantage of.

Frank Tramontano

Clients are requiring that their collection firms maintain security as a high priority. As data breaches are on the rise, potent and modern security tools are required to safeguard consumer data against today’s ever-increasing technical vulnerabilities, exploits and breaches. Proven detection tools which collect and examine active network data then utilize machine learning with forensic analytics to validate potential network security events should be added to firms’ respective IT security infrastructure. To remain competitive collection firms’ data centers must be adequately equipped to prevent breaches and insure consumer data remains safe.

20 Most Powerful Women in Collections

Making the collection industry the best it can be requires continuing influence from the best and brightest collection professionals. Those who wield this power of change must not only maintain it but utilize their wisdom to determine what is best for their peers and consumers.

Of the 140,000 professionals in collections, nearly 70% are women. Therefore Collection Advisor presents the Most Powerful Women in Collections, a list of collection professionals who have found success in their organizations and used that in uence to create positive waves of change that ripple through the industry.

becket alaneAlane A. Becket Managing Partner | Becket & Lee LLP
President-elect | American Bankruptcy Institute

What would you like people to get involved with to improve the collection industry?
People in the collection industry need to hold each other accountable for their actions. There are too many instances of regulators and lawsuits calling out questionable practices. To rid ourselves of the negative reputation we carry, we must first clean up our own houses.

What new technology helped improve the collection industry in the past year?
Technology is invaluable and necessary, but it cannot replace knowledge, experience and reputation. These are hard earned qualities that turn an average participant into a standout.

 

im lisa1Lisa Im Board Chair and CEO | Performant Financial Corporation

What would you like people to get involved with to improve the collction industry?
Our industry has an incredibly diverse workforce with women making up 70%, and racial and ethnic minorities accounting for 40% of the total collections workforce. I’d love to see the industry lead in more diversity-focused philanthropic causes to help showcase the positive impact our employees have on the world.

What new technology helped improve the collection industry in the past year?
The utilization of AI and advanced decisioning solutions within potential self-cure channels has allowed for improved customer experience and overall efficiency gains within many businesses—consumers can dictate the “how, when, where” of communication and resolution.

 

manghisi anitaAnita M. Manghisi, IFCCE President | Independent Recovery Resources

What would you like people to get involved with to improve the collection industry?
The debt collection industry has such passionate and dedicated people. With the sheer masses in our numbers and the resources at our disposal, if people got more involved with our advocacy and education initiatives we would make a real impact to our image and with our legislators.

What new technology helped improve the collection industry in the past year?
The old method of communicating is simply not effective any more. Between “do not call lists”, “blocked calls” and “robo calls” being a target for the industry, call analytics has become a necessity. We need to hone in on more profitable accounts and offer full automation for payment and communication.

 

reynaud courtneyCourtney Reynaud President/CEO | Creditors Bureau USA
CFO | California Association of Collectors

What would you like people to get involved with to improve the collection industry?
Industry activity is key to the success of the collection industry. Industry participants should get involved with their state/local units and national associations, participate in the lobbying and legislative efforts pursued at the federal/state level, and take advantage of educational events and networking opportunities provided by the national/state associations.

What new technology helped improve the collection industry in the past year?
Agentless collections is the wave of the future. Providing options for consumers to communicate, dispute or pay an account via their preferred communication method has been shown to improve consumer satisfaction and decrease agency overhead costs and liabilities.

 

dempsey leahLeah Dempsey Vice President and Senior Counsel, Federal Advocacy | ACA International

What would you like people to get involved with to improve the collection industry?
The next year is perhaps the most critical time ever for federal advocacy for the collections industry as the BCFP moves forward with rules and the FCC reexamines TCPA interpretations. We need the industry to be telling their personal stories about the services they provide to consumers and the thousands of Americans they employ, which are critical to our advocacy efforts at the FCC, BCFP, SBA Office of Advocacy, and in Congress.

What new technology helped improve the collection industry in the past year?
From an advocacy perspective, I would say that just over the past several years the use of social media to tell your story to Congress and regulators has become increasingly more important. As we have seen even from the President, social media gives us the opportunity to tell our side of the story in an unfiltered way. Lawmakers and their staffs are being educated through mediums such as Twitter and Facebook.

 

ciskey debra jDebra J. Ciskey Chief Compliance Officer | Wakefield and Associates Inc.

What would you like people to get involved with to improve the collection industry?
I am a firm believer in “knowledge is power.” I would like to see more people get involved with the education programs offered by ACA International, Inc. and seek to achieve the professional designations that are available. Other organizations offer programs as well, but I am most intimately knowledgeable about the Campus ACA programs.

What new technology helped improve the collection industry in the past year?
New technology that I started using is a learning management system called Eterna, offered by Learn.net. We use it to deliver training and testing to our employees twice a week, providing them with skills and knowledge, and the confidence to use them.

 

stief donna nicholsonDonna Nicholson Stief Executive Director and Shief Compliance Officer | Credit Bureau of Lancaster County, Inc.

What would you like people to get involved with to improve the collection industry?
There truly is power in numbers. We should be storming the “Hill” in droves at Washington Insights. This conference has increased in participation greatly over the years; however, comparatively, we are the few representing the masses. Our voice will be heard more effectively and exponentially when more ACA members participate. It is a fantastic conference!

What new technology helped improve the collection industry in the past year?
We have greatly benefited by using a litigious debtor scrub. This technology has been around for a while and I can’t imagine not having it! Also, ringless voicemail drops is effective and in our experience, well received by the consumer.

 

hoheusle ireneIrene Hoheusle, IFCCE, CCCO Vice President of Collections and Education | Account Recovery Specialists, Inc.
President | Kansas Collector's Association

What would you like people to get involved with to improve the collection industry?
Become involved legislatively. At ACA Washington Insights, BCFP’s Acting Director Mick Mulvaney was surprised so few responded to RFIs on topics for our industry. I know it’s partially due to our faith in ACA to represent us, which they did wonderfully. But it’s not enough. We all should get involved!

What new technology helped improve the collection industry in the past year?
Though not new, call analytic software is the new pink. Every agency can improve training, compliance and bottom line when they can pinpoint issues on all calls quickly. Also, compliance management systems that keep track of compliance concerns and how they are handled and used to improve daily workflow.

 

stieger janJan Stieger, CAE, CMP, CRCP Executive Director | Receivables Management Association International

What would you like people to get involved with to improve the collection industry?
Community activities and local press. The overall industry reputation will be improved if each participant is proactive in their business community representing the industry in a professional and ethical manner and being good corporate citizens. We need 10 positive stories for every one sensational negative story or scam involving the debt collection industry - think globally, act locally!

What new technology helped improve the collection industry in the past year?
I’m not sure that any specific new technology has improved the industry this year, but I do think that the creation of best practices and recognition in a few states and federally that the industry needs clarity on how the new technologies that are available can be used lawfully has been helpful.

 

manghisi anitaAnita M. Manghisi, IFCCE President | Independent Recovery Resources

What would you like people to get involved with to improve the collection industry?
The debt collection industry has such passionate and dedicated people. With the sheer masses in our numbers and the resources at our disposal, if people got more involved with our advocacy and education initiatives we would make a real impact to our image and with our legislators.

What new technology helped improve the collection industry in the past year?
The old method of communicating is simply not effective any more. Between “do not call lists”, “blocked calls” and “robo calls” being a target for the industry, call analytics has become a necessity. We need to hone in on more profitable accounts and offer full automation for payment and communication.

 

laspada judyJudy La Spada Chief Executive Officer/Founder | Virtuoso Sourcing Group, LLC

What would you like people to get involved with to improve the collection industry?
I would like to see industry professionals work harder to change the outside perception of our business. Most companies in our field are compliant, friendly and far more analytical than what is perceived by average consumers. Traditional media looks to publish the occasional horror story vs. communicating an authentic view of our business. By leveraging YouTube, Instagram, social media in general and our webpages with realistic portrayals of our work we can change the consumer’s perception of the experience and potentially receive a better response to our recruiting efforts and to our attempts to reach people.

What new technology helped improve the collection industry in the past year?
We have been very impressed by the variety of business intelligence tools that are available to us and the associated cost which has been driven down significantly through consolidation of suppliers and new competition.

 

simes julieJulie Simes President | Zealandia Capital, Inc.

What would you like people to get involved with to improve the collection industry?
Pay it forward. We help the economy but it’s important to realize we can have an even greater impact. Give back to your communities and share the positive role we play. Take time to reflect and realize how fortunate we are and give back to those are less fortunate.

What new technology helped improve the collection industry in the past year?
While technology has evolved over the last year and allowed us to grow, expand, and help the bottom line – reality is we are plagued with new technology allowing consumers to avoid and evade their responsibilities. It is pertinent that we do not let this prevent new technology from improving the industry.

 

stephens kellyKelly Knepper-Stephens General Counsel and CCO | Stoneleigh Recovery Associates, LLC

What would you like people to get involved with to improve the collection industry?
The debt collection rulemaking. Now is our chance to help the BCFP draft rules that would help bring clarity to many issues that currently prohibit the industry as a whole from efficiently communicating with consumers. Write the BCFP or join and donate to any of the organizations that lobby on our behalf so that they have the means to help bring about some positive changes.

What new technology helped improve the collection industry in the past year?
Without naming one particular vendor or product, as there are many out there, the technologies that help agencies reach consumers in nonintrusive ways as the modern consumer requests that at the same time comply with consumer protection laws and regulations – this would include efficient message delivery whether by website, email, text, direct drop, phone apps, etc.

 

hamilton kelsiKelsi Hamilton Compliance and Legislative Affairs | Dynamic Collectors, Inc.
Legislative Chair | Washington Collectors Assocation

What would you like people to get involved with to improve the collection industry?
I would like to see more people involved in grassroots advocacy. We provide an important and necessary service and should not be made to feel ashamed. We need to speak up to promote our industry and get rid of the negative stigma that often comes with it. It takes all of us being proactive to make it happen.

What new technology helped improve the collection industry in the past year?
I am not sure that it is new but I think an existing tool that is still under utilized is the website www.collectthetruth.org. This tool provides a platform to tell our story and share our truths. I have been using this site as one tool to help engage with my state’s lawmakers. Technologies to help with collections won’t matter if we are regulated out of business.

 

bender leslie2Leslie Bender, CIPP/US, CCCO, CCCA, IFCCE Chief Strategy Officer and General Counsel | BCA Financial Servies

What would you like people to get involved with to improve the collection industry?
To improve the collection industry there are two types of activities that are helpful. First, the business of folks from various industry related trade associations, creditors as well as credit/collections folks, mingling and exchanging ideas is fantastic. Second, reaching out and having conversations with consumer advocacy groups to share perspectives and information is invaluable.

What new technology helped improve the collection industry in the past year?
Many of the technologies that support “agent-less” and self-service options for consumers 24/7 are enormously helpful to our industry. I look forward to seeing how blockchain and some of the aspects of it may have an impact on our industry.

 

thomas anneAnne Thomas Chief Compliance Officer | Cavalry Portfolio Services, LLC



What would you like people to get involved with to improve the collection industry?
Being actively involved in industry trade associations is a great benefit to those involved in collections.

What new technology helped improve the collection industry in the past year?
The collection industry continuously makes improvements to systemic controls, specifically regarding call monitoring. These technological enhancements are a great asset to a compliance management system because they provide broader coverage.

 

strickler nicoleNicole M. Strickler Shareholder | Messer Strickelr, Ltd.

What would you like people to get involved with to improve the collection industry?
My personal feeling is that it is important to assist, participate in, and support our industry’s trade organizations. Many of these groups work tirelessly not only to help improve our industry’s image but also to truly educate members of our industry on the importance of legal compliance. Building and maintaining a mindful group that values our place in the business ecosystem is key to our future success.

What new technology helped improve the collection industry in the past year?
Improvements to dialing platforms in the past few years have been a great improvement to our industry. Reductions in dropped calls, dead air, and call queuing controls have taken away a lot of the past frustration both from consumers and collectors, alike. Further, from my perspective as a consumer financial defense litigator, these changes have resulted in more industryfriendly court opinions concerning the use of dialing technology.

 

kirchner pam1Pam Kirchner CEO | BCA Financial Services, Inc.

What would you like people to get involved with to improve the collection industry?
Advocating on behalf of our industry and developing relationships with lawmakers. There has never been a more appropriate time to meet lawmakers face to face and tell real-world stories about the impact of legislation and regulation on our businesses, employees, and consumers.

What new technology helped improve the collection industry in the past year?
All technological products or services that assist our industry in our attempts to compliantly communicate with consumers on their cellular phones.


 

malone robbie1Robbie Malone Trial Attorney | Malone Akerly Martin PLLC

What would you like people to get involved with to improve the collection industry?
As a trial attorney, I would like to see the industry be aggressive in taking positions that advance the industry’s position. I would like to see people use what we learn in the litigation world as a basis of their employee training and quality control.

What new technology helped improve the collection industry in the past year?
I think the use of human intervention in telephony has had the biggest impact in the industry within the last year.



 

dauchot shannon1Shannon Dauchot CEO | Parallon Revenue Cycle Point Solutions Division

What would you like people to get involved with to improve the collection industry?
Two things – drive sweeping, frequent updates to TCPA with the prominence of mobile phones and number portability, and the predatory, costly plaintiffs’ litigation impact. Second, eliminate the stigma of collector roles for recruitment of top talent, particularly within healthcare which focuses on having empathy and finding options for balance resolution.

What new technology helped improve the collection industry in the past year?
“Gamification” is the latest technology we plan to test in limited areas to evaluate effectiveness in motivating staff and recruiting younger workforce. I remain cautious, to avoid demotivating or distracting some staff and because our current engagement activities are successful. Need to ensure we don’t lose sight of our purpose.

Top Compliance Gurus of 2015

Guru BadgeCompliance today is maintaining professional zen in a turbulent sea of lawsuits and government regulation. Those who truly aspire for such mastery do it not only for their own companies but also for the industry as a whole. The proactivity of these compliance gurus can include teaching compliance courses, working with trade organizations to develop guidelines, and influencing regulators. The collection professionals recognized in this issue have put these ideals into practice. Collection Advisor presents the Top Compliance Gurus of 2015 and their views on compliance.

 

 

HansonTINA M. HANSON, IFCCE, CCCO
Protocol Financial Service, LLC | CEO

What is your personal creed when it comes to compliance?
I believe compliance is at the heart of our business service delivery today. Have good process and change management systems in place with audits to finish it off and know it is done correctly. Not only do it right, but know you are doing it right.

What can a collection professional proactively do to influence the current compliance environment?
Get involved with your legislators and regulators. It starts at the grass roots to get change and education to our lawmakers and enforcers. Without our involvement, we will not have a voice in Washington helping educate lawmakers about our industry so laws being made make sense for the industry and are a balance between consumer and business needs. If you have not visited your local legislator, do so and invite them into your office to meet your staff and give them a positive experience to keep with them while they set our legislation.

What do you anticipate for the future of compliance in collections?
The collection experience is changing dramatically with recent legislation and future laws yet to be written focusing the entire collection experience on the consumer. When and how is the consumer interaction occurring? All these touch points are going to be viewed, monitored and regulated from the eyes of the consumer. We are going to be making great strides to assure those touch points are handled in the manner the consumer would like them to be handled. I see consumer scorecards becoming more important than the client scorecards we receive today.

 

EscobarSEAN M. ESCOBAR
USCB America | Senior Vice President, Compliance

What is your personal creed when it comes to compliance?
Compliance has, in the past, been viewed by the C-suite as a necessary evil; something that hovers above the company like a dense fog. CEOs dread the word as it typically offers them nothing but headache and heartache. CFOs avoid any contact with the department and refuse to pronounce the word aloud as it inevitably translates into dollars being spent on initiatives, applications, and tools that they don’t understand and can’t pencil out an ROI for. However, any business that thrives in today’s ARM industry recognized years ago that this draconian perspective of compliance is narrow-minded and an indication of a failed compliance program. Personally, I find compliance to be an opportunity to help elevate the business to embrace best practices, which is good for business. Many of the protocols and procedures I’ve implemented over the years offer a dual purpose: address the compliance gap and assist operations with improved efficiencies. In today’s turbulent environment, compliance must be viewed with a holistic approach to address the myriad of challenges and evolving regulatory restrictions, in partnership with operations to identify and implement best practices. Lastly, having an effective and comprehensive compliance management system will not only keep your company out of court but, more often than not, it can be used as a very effective public relations tool as you compete in the marketplace.

What can a collection professional proactively do to influence the current compliance environment?
Stay involved. Keep well informed. Reach out to your peers and don’t be afraid to share your war stories. Networking is a very powerful weapon that when wielded with the right intentions, can save you and your company from making costly and time consuming mistakes. Attend every webinar, seminar, and compliance related conference your budget can handle and participate. It’s good to attend, however, you will be amazed how influential one can be by simply participating.

What do you anticipate for the future of compliance in collections?
I anticipate that the CFPB, with a $670 million budget, is not going away anytime soon. I fully expect that all debt collections, including healthcare collections, will be wholly under the supervisory authority of the CFPB. I believe the audacious appetites of consumer advocacy groups and plaintiff attorneys will continue to grow with an ever-expanding diet of exploiting technical violations of laws such as the FDCPA, UDAAP, and, in the wake of the overly consumer-weighted FCC ruling, even more so the TCPA. As history has shown, this fever only serves to line the pockets of the attorneys while slowly deteriorating the fundamentals of the U.S. credit system. Compliance will become a “must do or die” for companies.

 

HaagTOM D. HAAG, IFCCE
State Collection Service Inc. | CEO

What is your personal creed when it comes to compliance?
Vince Lombardi said, “Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.” That is how we feel about compliance. Compliance is the most important element of the way we conduct business. Cutting corners is just buying trouble.

What can a collection professional proactively do to influence the current compliance environment?
The thing we must do to influence compliance is to discuss the importance with our employees, train them and then bonus them for compliance. At State Collection Service a quality bonus is paid for a perfect compliance score.

What do you anticipate for the future of compliance in collections?
In the future, perhaps even now, failure to comply will result in loss of business, additional expense and bad public relations for both us and the industry we work in.

 

BuntonDALLAS S. BUNTON, SR., IFCCE, MCE
North American Credit Services and Medical Services, Inc. | Chairman and CEO

What is your personal creed when it comes to compliance?
I believe the structure and vision of our jobs to serve our clients lends to understanding the ongoing need to protect our client’s data. None of us are above outside influences that wish to exploit and violate the integrity of our organizations; so we must be diligent at all times.

What can a collection professional proactively do to influence the current compliance environment?
Stay in tune with compliance issues, forums, alerts, security breaches and be informed. Keep your compliance team involved, informed and continually evolving in every area of operations. Compliance is never a destination but a continuing journey.

What do you anticipate for the future of compliance in collections?
Over the years we have experienced more and more client concern regarding the data provided to their vendors for collections. This concern is forcing new and innovative ways of communication, skip tracing, movement of data, verification scripts to be sure that we have the right person, sending the right communication, called the correct number, what number, and what type of number. The involvement of the CFPB and enhanced regulations of state consumer laws and broader interpretations from consumer attorneys have allowed false claims and the cost of doing business in general to rise. I believe the survival of agencies today and beyond will hinge on the strength of compliance not just in the PCI environment but in the way we do our everyday business. Compliance is here to stay.

 

BartonDENNIS J. BARTON III
Barton Law Group, LLC | Owner and Managing Attorney

What is your personal creed when it comes to compliance?
Continually educate my staff, clients, and myself as to the current consumer laws and upcoming trends to make informed business decisions that maximize profits while minimizing risk.

What can a collection professional proactively do to influence the current compliance environment?
Collection professionals should be trained to follow their company’s written policies and procedures. Too many policies and procedures are informally passed down from employee to employee by word of mouth, especially in small agencies that feel they lack the time and resources to document and train according to written policies and procedures. The writing of these policies and procedures does two things: (1) it clarifies to employees a company’s compliance expectations and what actions employees are required to take in order to meet those expectations; and (2) when drafting the policies and procedures, companies will necessarily re-evaluate the legality, effectiveness, and efficiency associated with them, which will improve both compliance and operations.

What do you anticipate for the future of compliance in collections?
The future of compliance in collections will be increased regulations and scrutiny of the industry. This development emphasizes the importance of formalizing policies and procedure, effectively training employees, and critically evaluating compliance efforts to continually improve them. Another factor collectors must consider is the ever-growing education of consumers through blogs, YouTube, fellow consumers, and interactions with bankruptcy and consumer attorneys. Whether it is bait calls or well-intended inquiries, collectors must be prepared to properly respond. That starts with collectors having clearly documented policies and procedures and the training to understand and execute them. That allows collectors to avoid violations of the law and deliver high quality service.

 

WeissROGER D. WEISS, IFCCE
CACi | Chief Operating Officer

What is your personal creed when it comes to compliance?
When it comes to compliance my personal creed is Share More Flare. What I mean by that is being compliant is a minimum standard which usually needs to be exceeded. Don’t just hit the minimums, make sure consumers, your clients, and you are overly protected. Then, share what you are doing with your clients. It is not only good practice, but gives your clients the strong reassurance that they are partnered with a true professional. With growing CFPB oversight, the term vicarious liability is going to grow real teeth, and it will become growingly important that your clients are aware of your practices.

What can a collection professional proactively do to influence the current compliance environment?
Collection professionals can do a number of things to proactively influence the current compliance environment. Remember, the seeds we plant today become the current environment tomorrow. a) Walk the walk, and talk the talk. Say what you are going to do. Do it. Tell others about it. Be the role model. b) Educate yourself and those around you. Use industry resources, as well as non-industry resources. Read books, magazines, blogs, and anything else you can get your hands on. Watch YouTube videos, TED talks, and other tools (such as the videos found at www.thecollectionscoach.com). Study consumer, plaintiff attorney, legislator, and regulator points of view; then ask how can you indoctrinate those points of view into your company and industry. c) Educate others. Share what you learn with employees, co-workers, colleagues, competitors, consumers, and nearly anyone else that will listen. d) Forge relationships with local, state, and federal legislators and regulators. Develop personal relationships with your representatives and senators (here’s a hint, most of them who even start small have higher ambitions, and some of them make it). EVERYONE in this industry regardless of position or title should do this. We need thousands of whispers to roar into a thundering voice.

What do you anticipate for the future of compliance in collections?
I anticipate continued upheaval for the compliance landscape well beyond the horizon. I believe that regulators will make regular visits to agencies for oversight and audits. I think there will be new state and federal regulations addressing the use of technology, and hopefully clarifying it as well. I think voice analytics is going to become just as standard as recording phone calls. Internally for companies, I believe that supervision, training, compliance, and quality assurance will begin to morph into a broader all encompassing role.

 

RainwaterMICHAEL K. RAINWATER, MBA, IFCCE, CCAE, CCCO
The Uptain Group Inc. | Administrator, Third Party Collection Division

What is your personal creed when it comes to compliance?
If you do your best to be as compliant as possible, you can spend much more time looking forward than over your shoulder at what you have done and worrying about the action you have taken.

What can a collection professional proactively do to influence the current compliance environment?
Be actively involved in associations like ACA International (or those specific to your industry) and respond when requested to contact legislators or provide information – there is power in numbers.

What do you anticipate for the future of compliance in collections?
There is an expression that to get some things changed takes “an Act of Congress” – in the case of compliance, that is literal, not figurative. Laws effecting compliance in the collection industry must be updated, modernized and reflective of today’s environment as opposed to when they were passed.

 

BedardJOHN H. BEDARD, JR.
Bedard Law Group, P.C. | Managing Attorney

What is your personal creed when it comes to compliance?
Errors will occur, but there is no acceptable margin of error in compliance.

What can a collection professional proactively do to influence the current compliance environment?
Compliance professionals can have the biggest influence on the current compliance environment in their organizations by doing two things, (1) always questioning processes and thinking in different ways about how those processes affect consumers, and (2) designing compliance management systems capable of preventing, detecting, and correcting consumer harm.

What do you anticipate for the future of compliance in collections?
The future of the collection industry is bright. Over the next several years the collection industry will achieve compliance success unlike any seen before. Origination and servicing functions in the credit cycle will improve and bad debt collections will transform in ways designed to positively advance the consumer experience. Creditors, collectors, and consumers alike will reap the benefits of stronger compliance practices in the marketplace.

 

StiefDONNA NICHOLSON STIEF, ACA FELLOW: 2012, ACA PROFESSIONAL COLLECTION SPECIALIST: 2013-2016, ACA SCHOLAR: 2011
Credit Bureau of Lancaster County, Inc | Executive Director, CCO

What is your personal creed when it comes to compliance?
Live and Operate “Above Reproach.” Wikipedia describes compliance and regulatory compliance: “In general, compliance means conforming to a rule, such as a specification, policy, standard or law. Regulatory compliance describes the goal that organizations aspire to achieve in their efforts to ensure that they are aware of and take steps to comply with relevant laws and regulations.” What’s interesting, the reality is, in credit and collections we are not just conforming to a rule. We know all too well that rules are often draconian, ambiguous, technologically outdated, vague, and left to the interpretation of any particular judge. Therefore, we must do more than comply by asking, “does our compliance policy fully capture the spirit and intent of the law and have we put reasonable processes in place to exceed the expectation of the law?”

What can a collection professional proactively do to influence the current compliance environment?
It frustrates our professional industry when bad actors surface and make negative headlines. Do not be that agency. If you’re reading this magazine, chances are you are not one of the rouge bad actors. Live and operate your agency above reproach. Be actively engaged in your ACA state unit and participate in ACA events, in particular the Legislative Conference in Washington DC. Otherwise, such agencies are spectators, watching others roll up their sleeves to better our livelihood. All ships rise and fall with the tide. We are in this together. Our success will be in the collaborative effort of we, the stakeholders. A stakeholder should never be a spectator.

What do you anticipate for the future of compliance in collections?
If the past is any indication of the future, we are eating, drinking, and sleeping compliance. It’s going to be tough. There is currently no balance between consumer rights and creditor rights. I am a proponent of both. After all, we are consumers as well! A healthy economy needs legislators and regulators that understand the necessary balance between the rights of consumers and creditors and implement rules that support both. We need to keep up the good fight.

 

StocktonTHOMAS A. STOCKTON, IFCCE
The CMI Group | CEO

What can a collection professional proactively do to influence the current compliance environment?
The key to the answer is in the question: proactivity. Collection professionals need to go above and beyond by proactively taking steps to create a compliance culture within their companies. The effort has to be every day and involve not only floor management but also training at every level. Everyone, the Board of Directors, the CEO, senior management, the front line manager, the supervisor, the individual agent, needs to be tuned into the compliance culture.

What do you anticipate for the future of compliance in collections?
We will continue to see increased regulation at every level. It will be more and more complicated to track local, state and federal law as they apply to revenue cycle management. This will necessitate more and more expensive technology solutions so that we stay out of trouble. Clients are already and will continue to demand compliance from their agency partners. Compliance is and will continue to be the number one priority for successful companies in the ARM business.

 

BrownRON L. BROWN, MCE, IFCCE, MPRS, CCCO, CARS, CFA, API
CSI Group | President and CEO

What is your personal creed when it comes to compliance?
When it comes to compliance in any area I live by a very simple creed, “Right is right, wrong is wrong, and there is no in between.” Today compliance has become a very serious issue in the collection industry and we must stay abreast of the ever-changing legal interpretations and follow the compliance laws in both letter and spirit.

What can a collection professional proactively do to influence the current compliance environment?
Today’s collection professional must be proactively involved not only in the collection industry but also with the lawmakers on every level of our government who are involved with the laws we must exist under. I advise people in the collection industry to not reactively move from a defensive position but rather get in the fracas early and stay on the offensive side of the relevant issues. We must always be conscious that we create the public’s perception of who and what we are and that perception is reality. Our task is to change the envisioned reality by changing the public’s perception.

 

CiskeyDEBRA J. CISKEY, IFCCE
Wakefield and Associates Inc. | Compliance Officer

What is your personal creed when it comes to compliance?
We comply with the law because it is the moral and ethical thing to do. There is no downside to compliance.

What can a collection professional proactively do to influence the current compliance environment?
Externally, compliance professionals have to be vocal advocates for their industry. Communicate with state and federal legislators to educate them about your industry. Visit them when they are in the district and make the effort to visit them at the Capitol. Contribute to industry political action committees to support the election of sympathetic legislators. Be an advocate for the industry with your state regulator – develop a working relationship and be the go-to person for their office when they have a general industry question. Be a resource, and be sure to answer complaints fully and in a timely way. Internally, be an example in your office by following company policies closely. Be positive about compliance – it is not something we are forced to do, it is a part of being a viable and leading member of the industry. Finally, be sure to encourage the heart of all employees by providing positive feedback whenever warranted, and be accessible! Smile, even when you don’t feel like it.

 

AndersenROZANNE M. ANDERSEN, ESQ.
Ontario Systems LLC | Vice President and Chief Compliance Officer

What is your personal creed when it comes to compliance?
To use my intellect, deep knowledge of the credit and collection industry, and understanding of complex legal issues to bring solutions to our clients and the industry at large in the areas of compliance and risk management.

What can a collection professional proactively do to influence the current compliance environment?
Look beyond the halls of the organization they serve to impact the broader framework. Teach the nuances of complicated and often conflicting regulatory issues to regulators and legislators and, in some instances, clients, by presenting practical, real world legislative and regulatory solutions. Support the voice of the industry by amplifying your own in simple, understandable everyday terms and never stop teaching, lobbying, and coaching. Understand that a voice that is not heard cannot affect change.

What do you anticipate for the future of compliance in collections?
I anticipate compliance will become the single most impactful role within a collections operation. Compliance is the new key performance indicator by which collections operations are measured by their creditor clients. This will only cause compliance as a function to become more valuable. Although I do not see compliance as a revenue producer, I do see compliance becoming a catalyst to reduce costs and expenses relating to litigation, damage awards, complaints, collector training, staff turnover, legal fees, remediation, and the like, within an organization. In short, compliance will move from being a cost center to a business driver and all that that implies.

 

ChernerDAVE CHERNER, ACA FELLOW
Northland Group, Inc. | Chief Compliance Officer

What is your personal creed when it comes to compliance?
Compliance should never be a top-down approach and never managed by the “compliance team.” True effective compliance is fostering a collaborative atmosphere where all employees share in a common approach to ensure business practices meet legal, client, and ethical responsibilities.

What can a collection professional proactively do to influence the current compliance environment?
The current compliance environment has already changed significantly in the last five to seven years. We should expect the next five to seven years to be even more volatile with local and state jurisdictions attempting to regulate the industry as well as the anticipated CFPB debt collection rulemaking, which will likely impact all participants in the credit lifecycle. We know many of the hot button issues that raise regulatory concern. We have an opportunity right now to try and identify the best collection strategies and approaches that can meet those challenges, but there needs to be a higher level of interaction and participation among collection professionals to identify the best ways to remain compliant but also competitive.

What do you anticipate for the future of compliance in collections?
The future of compliance in collections is going to be the rise of data analytics in the compliance and legal departments. Developing opportunities to obtain, organize, evaluate, trend, and act on various kinds of collection, financial, litigation, complaint, and quality assurance data (among other pieces of information) in a cohesive environment is going to be vital for an agency to remain compliant and competitive.

 

MurphyPAMELA A. MURPHY, ACA CERTIFIED INSTRUCTOR, ACA APPROVED PPMS INSTRUCTOR, ACA PROFESSIONAL COLLECTION SPECIALIST
ConServe | Vice President, Privacy and Compliance Officer

What is your personal creed when it comes to compliance?
I am committed not only to imparting a mindset of compliance to each and every employee, starting with their first day of training and continuing throughout their career, but also to reinforcing a comprehensive “culture of compliance” throughout the entire organization on an ongoing basis. I strive to achieve this objective by defining and executing our comprehensive compliance strategy while simultaneously providing constant coaching, mentoring and guidance in my day-to-day activities. The fundamental message that we do not forsake compliance for recoveries or vice versa is my key motivator in the adoption of a compliance-focused attitude which in turn drives success. As a role model, educator and leader of the compliance department, my goal is to have all our employees embrace our “culture of compliance” in everything they do.

What do you anticipate for the future of compliance in collections?
The future role of compliance in the collections industry will be inexplicably tied to increased regulatory legislation. In light of this trend, it will become increasingly important to confirm that the best interests of the consumer are being protected. Towards that goal, I have created an overarching Quality Improvement Program to Plan, Do, Check, and Act our practices to guarantee that we remain compliant. Additionally, continuing ongoing education and training will become a necessary priority in order to stay informed and apprised of new developments. Through internal review programs, cutting-edge technology and ongoing education, I ensure that an organizational culture of compliance continues to perform in a vibrant and effective manner.

 

JarmanNICK JARMAN
Delta Outsource Group, Inc. | President & COO

What is your personal creed when it comes to compliance?
There is only one way to do business and that is the right way. Compliance isn’t about trying to figure out how to work outside of the policies, rules, or regulations; but rather how to embrace them and turn the challenges into opportunities. Complete compliance is also the standard on how business should be conducted, nothing less can be expected.

What can a collection professional proactively do to influence the current compliance environment?
Embrace compliance. In order to succeed and sustain in the current and future landscape of the debt collection industry, you have to create a culture of compliance within the organization. Compliance has always been around. The importance of it has just been magnified with the creation of the CFPB. Compliance (policies, rules, regulations, etc.) help outline the rules of the game which establishes expectations. From there, it is up to each organization to hold everyone accountable to those compliance expectations.

What do you anticipate for the future of compliance in collections?
Clarity, at least more than today. Between the CFPB’s examination procedures, enforcement actions, lawsuits, supervisory bulletins, and ANPR (Advanced Notice of Proposed Rule Making), they appear to be casting a wide net in regard to covering all aspects of the debt collection process. During this process they have also created a lot of uncertainty as to which direction they will go. So when the time comes for the actual new debt collection rules to be enforced, the unclear and uncertain should become more clear and concise. Clear and concise will provide a foundation for everyone to understand the rules of engagement and also should help curtail the ever expanding frivolous and technical lawsuits.

 

FrostMICHAEL FROST
CBE Companies, Inc. | Chief Legal Officer & General Counsel

What can a collection professional proactively do to influence the current compliance environment?
Learn, believe, execute. Collectors are the most crucial element in any collection effort. They own the direct relationship between the company and the customer. The customer experience is premised upon the direct interaction with the collector. In order to create a positive experience for any consumer, the collector must understand and believe in the company culture and expectations and execute on each and every customer interaction to maintain a positive image of the company and industry as a whole.

What do you anticipate for the future of compliance in collections?
The future of compliance is driven by each individual industry. The debt collection industry has focused heavily on compliance in the past five years and has made significant improvement. I believe that within the collection industry, compliance has already begun to evolve to a quality assurance focus, which encompasses more than just meeting minimum regulatory compliance expectations. There will continue to be an expanded focus to include metrics, which evaluate the overall consumer experience with every consumer contact.

 

NeebMARK J. NEEB, CPA (inactive), MBA, IFCCE
neebEDU, LLC | President/CEO

What is your personal creed when it comes to compliance?
Our clients place a great deal of trust in us by allowing us to communicate directly with their customers for a very sensitive reason. I think collectors need to realize that this trust comes at a cost, which is the reasonable expectation that we will perform our work at the highest level of confidence possible. In short, do the right things and do things right.

What can a collection professional proactively do to influence the current compliance environment?
Besides making sure they are compliant themselves, they can help promote compliance among their peers. They should also take personal responsibility to continue to learn and be aware of changes happening in our marketplace regarding compliance. This could include such things as becoming a certified collector through ACA International, reading periodicals on the subject, and staying familiar with the missteps of others that are publicized. One can’t simply expect their employer to spoon-feed them everything they need to know. I believe the professional debt collector realizes this and commits to life-long learning.

 

BecraftCHRIS BECRAFT, IFCCE
RevSolve Inc. | President & CEO

What is your personal creed when it comes to compliance?
Today, compliance comes first. All other business considerations must be developed on top of a strong compliance foundation.

What can a collection professional proactively do to influence the current compliance environment?
I’ve personally given up trying to influence the compliance environment because after nearly 20 years of giving money to PACs, writing politicians, or meeting with regulators, I have nothing to show for it. As a businessperson who requires a return for my investments, our resources have been focused on building an exceptional compliance team and process internally to deal with the business realities which we are dealt. Today, our compliance program is a competitive advantage.

What do you anticipate for the future of compliance in collections?
It’s going to continue to get worse and only the larger companies will have the scale to deal with it and thus, survive. We are going to survive and even flourish.

25 Most Influential Women in Collections

The debt collection profession is wide open to influence from anyone. Fortunately there are only those who collect it but consumers who wish to resolve it. Collection Advisor salutes the women who work for this cause and present them as the Most Influential Women in Collections. Women on this list work toward the perfection of debt collection, improvement of the industry and the promotion of compliance education. Evidence of this ongoing influence canbe found in collection agencies, law firms, presentations at trade shows and their proactive efforts in trade organizations.

What is true in collections is true in many of life’s endeavors, you get out of something what you put in to it. Accordingly, the Most Influential Women in Collections provide their response to the question, “What opportunities has collections offered you?”

stief donnaDONNA NICHOLSON STIEF

Executive Director, CCO | Credit Bureau of Lancaster County, INC.
Vice President | Mid-Atlantic Collectors Association
"The opportunity to lead a team through difficult and ever-changing circumstances, while projecting a positive and hopeful outlook. I am so proud to be in debt collections, a noble career, helping the economy and consumers for the greater good.”

spiwak lisaLISA ELLEN SPIWAK, ESQ.

Managing Partner | Spiwak & Iezza, LLP
“For 30 years I have gotten to be a hero to my clients with unpaid receivables and defaulted loans which are seriously jeopardizing their businesses. I am able to recover their money and right the wrong done to them. My career as a collection attorney has been an amazing journey!”

sangalang marianMARIAN SANGALANG

Vice President | The Bureaus, Inc.
“The collection industry has offered me extensive personal growth as well as the opportunity to be noticed for quality performance as a collector and an executive.”

bender leslieLESLIE BENDER

Vice President/Government Affairs & General Counsel | ARS National Services Inc.
“The collections profession has afforded me the chance to work with consumers, lawmakers and credit/collections professionals by helping them navigate challenging privacy and consumer financial protection regulations and laws.”

strickler nicoleNICOLE M. STRICKLER

Shareholder | Messer, Stilp & Strickler, Ltd.
“The collection industry has off ered the opportunity to develop my legal and compliance skills while growing relationships with some of the brightest and driven professionals in consumer finance.”

stephens kellyKELLY KNEPPER-STEPHENS

General Counsel & Chief Compliance Officer | Stoneleigh Recovery Associates, LLC
“I enjoy applying my experience in legal ethics to business and the opportunity to represent and lobby on behalf of the collection industry and small business.”

jackman stefanie hSTEFANIE H. JACKMAN

Partner | Ballard Spahr LLP
“My collections work offers me opportunities to assist my clients in crafting practical, efficient solutions to address evolving regulatory expectations and increasingly complex compliance challenges.”

sinsley barbaraBARBARA A. SINSLEY

Senior V.P., Legal & Regulatory, Chief Compliance Officer Resurgent | Capital Services, LP
“It has allowed me to learn from great women, namely, Alane Becket and Joann Needleman. Without their support, it would have been a dull ride.”

ciskey debraDEBRA J. CISKEY

Chief Compliance Officer | Wakefield and Associates, Inc.
“Collaborative development of creative and immediately applicable training for compliance professionals and innovative leadership through industry governance transitions highlight opportunities I have experienced in the collection industry.”

taylor christinaCHRISTINA MCALPIN TAYLOR

Partner of Creditors’ Rights and Collections | Smith Debnam Narron Drake Saintsing & Myers, LLP
“I represent creditors, which often puts me at odds with good, decent people who are simply unable to pay their bills. I have built a positive reputation with judges, court personnel, opposing attorneys, and pro se litigants.”

needleman joannJOANN NEEDLEMAN

Member and Leader of the Consumer Financial Services Regulatory & Compliance Practice | Clark Hill
“The collections industry has allowed me to work with some of the smartest and most innovative women. Their collaboration has helped me elevate my game.”

bohling ladonnaLADONNA BOHLING

Vice President of Call Center Operations | Contract Callers, Inc.
“Collections has expanded my knowledge of our economy. Gaining collection effects and perspectives from Consumers, Creditors, and Regulators has made me a better business person.”

anuk amyAMY ANUK

SVP of Business Development, Chair of Women@Encore | Encore Capital Group
“My role in the industry enables me to act as a change agent to help consumers get back on a path to financial well-being.”

coleman juneJUNE D. COLEMAN

Shareholder | Kronick Moskovitz Tiedemann & Girard
“The collection industry has offered me the opportunity to develop my skills as a litigation strategist, especially with class actions while balancing the expense of litigation.”

becket alaneALANE A. BECKET

Managing Partner | Becket & Lee LLP
“Through my career in collections, I have met the smartest, professional and most loyal women; some of whom I consider my closest friends and advisors.”

walters alisonALISON VERGES WALTERS

Collections and Asset Recovery Partner | Kelley Kronenberg
“As a collections attorney, and a leader in NARCA, I enjoy a challenging and rewarding career that provides countless opportunities to learn, guide, and collaborate with other collections professionals.”

burnette laurenLAUREN M. BURNETTE

Managing Attorney, Florida Office | Barron &Newburger, P.C.
“Representing collection professionals in this fast-paced, constantly evolving regulatory environment has allowed me to contribute to the growth of an industry that is more compliant than ever before.”

tarkowski daraDARA CHEVLIN TARKOWSKI

Partner | Akerman LLP
“Representing ARM organizations has given me the opportunity to advocate, educate and lobby in what is now a truly evolving area of the law.”

phan kimKIM PHAN

Of Counsel | Ballard Spahr LLP
“The chance to help collection companies, that are a vital part of the economy, navigate the challenges of heightened scrutiny in the current regulatory environment.”

badger wendyWENDY BADGER

Chief Compliance Officer and Vice President, Corporate Compliance | ECMC Group
“The collection industry has provided me opportunities to impact and influence the broader discipline of compliance and work with and learn from incredible, passionate people.”

dreifuerst kayeKAYE M. DREIFUERST

President | Security Credit Services, LLC
Board of Directors, Served as President 2015-2016 | DBA International
“The collection profession has allowed me to utilize my problem solving skills and teach/coach others how to help consumers solve problems.”

hanson tinaTINA HANSON

CEO | Protocol Financial Service, LLC
“The collection industry has provided me the opportunity to meet some of the most talented people with amazing experiences and build friendships that will last a lifetime.”

cohen jenniferJENNIFER S. COHEN, ESQ.

Partner & Practice Group Chair, Mergers & Acquisitions | SLG FIRM, LLC
“Collections has given me opportunity to work with honest, ethical and smart business people and help advise them as they traverse the ever-changing regulatory environment.”

sebrell cindyCINDY L. SEBRELL

Vice President, Public Affairs | ACA International
“This industry offers me the opportunity to be a strong national-level voice for businesses often misunderstood and misrepresented in the media and on Capitol Hill.”

baker roxanneROXANNE S. BAKER

President | Coast Professional, Inc.
“Building and leading a corporate family where I am able to help them grow personally and professionally is the greatest opportunity collections has offered me.”

In summation of such a stellar group, DBA International President (2015- 2016) Kaye M. Dreifuerst was correct in stating, “Our industry provides hope and options for consumers allowing many to move forward with their lives and commitments. I’m personally proud of our profession and the paths that we continue to forge through educational programs and assistance!”

Who's Who in Collections 2014

The Who’s Who in Collections 2014 is comprised of collection professionals nominated by ACA International leaders and proactive collectors from across the country. These people not only define what it means to be a true collection professional but work every day to advance the art of debt collection both in practice and reputation. If you would like to nominate someone for Collection Advisor’s next Who’s Who, send your nomination accompanied with the reason to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

araki-regan lynnLYNN A. S. ARAKI-REGAN | Araki-Regan & Associates
What change would you like to see in the collection process?
I would like to see the passage of the Fair Debt Collection Practice Technical Clarification Act introduced by Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-Colo.) and a companion bill introduced by Sen. Patrick Toomey (R-Pa.) to exempt debt collection attorneys engaging in litigation from the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. The legislation proposes to exclude attorneys from the FDCPA when they are engaged in litigation activities that fall under supervision of the court. The FDCPA would still apply when attorneys engage in traditional collection activities (e.g., writing to consumers, calling, etc).

 

baich kevinKEVIN BAICH | Day Knight & Associates
What do you see for the future of collections? 
With the uncertainty of the CFPB and the regulations that are still settling, more consumers are abandoning landlines in favor of mobile devices thus creating additional burdens with regard to contacts. The Affordable Care Act, regarding Medical Collections, creates a collections future that is uncertain and ripe for legal liabilities due to new interpretations.

 

beck gordonGORDON BECK | Diversified Consultants Inc.
What change would you like to see in the collection process?
I would like to see all of the agencies that are currently operating in a manner that could shine our industry in a negative light to stop!There is no way we can change the image of collections when we have agencies that are operating illegally and doing things that continue to get negative press. Doing things by the book and being able to sleep at night is a great feeling and we need everyone to understand that making a lot of money for a short period of time by doing the wrong things are far outweighed by making less money, but being able to sustain a collection agency for years to come. If you own or operate a collection agency you have to remember that whether you like it or not you have the responsibility to do things the right way because what you do wrong can affect so many others. If everyone chooses to do right, this industry will one day beat the stereotype and will have the ability to be more effective for the consumers, clients and economy.

 

becraft chrisCHRIS BECRAFT | Collection Service Bureau, Inc.
What do you see for the future of collections?
Client and collection agency consolidation.

What change would you like to see in the collection process?
TCPA reform.

What is an important thing to remember when working with a client?
The client is not always right. Don’t forget your ethical, moral, and legal responsibilities when being bullied by a client to do something you know you shouldn’t do.

What must a collection professional do to make their mark in the collection industry?
I frankly never consider making a mark. I only concern myself with running an effective and profitable business for my family, my employees and my clients. If one does that effectively, I suppose some sort of mark is made with the people who matter most.

 

mugs bedardJOHN H. BEDARD, JR. Bedard Law Group, P.C.
What do you see for the future of collections?
The future of collection is very promising indeed! I see the collection process improving for consumers and industry alike. Some of these improvements include better consumer experience, better account information, better consumer identity information, better ways to communicate with consumers, and a streamlined process of meeting consumer needs when, how, and on terms agreeable to both consumers and creditors.

What is an important thing to remember when working with a client?
Clients have business needs that they have hired you to meet. Remember to always understand those needs, communicate with clients about those needs, and strive to meet them efficiently and through superior service.

What must a collection professional do to make their mark in the collection industry?
Find a professional association with a vision that matches your interests. Meet the members, participate in the business of the organization, and give your time and expertise without any expectation of return.

 

bender leslieLESLIE BENDER | ARS National Services, Inc.
What change would you like to see in the collection process?
First I would love to see regulatory clarification of the TCPA, which validates the use of respectful computer-assisted technology to make calls accurately and offers a distinct safe harbor for how consumers can express how they wish to be communicated with on their mobile technologies. Second I would like to see FDCPA and FCRA clarification that offers clear and distinct standardized disclosures for consumers regarding credit reporting and debt collection to eliminate misunderstandings and to assure that the basics of what the laws do/do not require and restrict are explained in a uniform manner for the benefit of both consumers and debt collectors to facilitate consumer-centric opportunities to resolve outstanding accounts. Third I would like to see statutory and regulatory clarification that reforms applicable consumer financial protection laws to assure they are technology neutral – allowing for consumers to be communicated with via the technologies they have chosen to use (e.g., texting, email, mobile phones). Fourth I would love to see a common sense approach when good faith errors or omissions occur in the somewhat unpredictable flow of communications between an agency and a consumer, based upon a reliable, detailed and accurate analysis of data pertaining to whether any harm actually results from minor good faith/inadvertent technical wording errors or similar in written or spoken communications with consumers.

 

mug blittFRED N. BLITT | Blitt and Gaines, P.C.
What do you see for the future of collections?
For the immediate future, I see the continuation of a large amount of regulation in our industry. 

What change would you like to see in the collection process?
Perception. Legal debt collection provides a great service to the financial services industry by returning money the economy and aiding the issuance of credit to consumers.

What is an important thing to remember when working with a client?
As an attorney, it is important to zealously represent your client while balancing professional and regulatory expectations placed upon this area of law.

What must a collection professional do to make their mark in the collection industry?
A greatway to make a mark in the collection industry is to get involved in your state creditors bar association or national trade association such as NARCA.

 

mug brownRON BROWN | CSI Group
What do you see for the future of collections?
There is now, as there always has been, a bright future for the collection industry both nationally and internationally. As long as credit is extended there will be a certain percentage of consumers who will not pay as agreed and thus the need for professional debt collection agencies and professional debt collectors. The trade markets are growing rather than shrinking and the global economy and credit system have migrated. There is no question that bilingual collection specialists fully trained in compliance will be needed. The collection industry will continue to grow and prosper.

 

cappuccilliCHRIS CAPPUCCILLI | Brown & Joseph, Ltd.
What is an important thing to remember when working with a client?
Clients have narrowedtheir acceptable tolerances throughoutthe collection process. Recovery must bemaximized. Support must be timely. Reportingmust be robust and accurate.What must a collection professional do to maketheir mark in the collection industry? Tomeet the increased expectations in today’smarketplace, it is imperative tobecome an expert in the industries youare servicing. It is no longer acceptableto be just knowledgeable. Companies arelooking for partnerships and are requiringcollection firms to be more consultivethan ever before.We have found within our productionand sales staff that the productiveemployees are the individuals thatidentify their strength and capitalize onit, such as focusing on a particular industry.A mistake Brown & Joseph used tomake in our infancy was overloading ourtop performers. Multi-tasking doesn’talways produce results. Additionally, themost successful collection professionalsthat make a name for themselvesare the ones with strong communicationskills that are continually challengingthemselves with ongoing education.These are the people that make theirmark in our industry.

 

ciskey debra jDEBRA J. CISKEY | Afni, Inc.
What change would you like to see in the collection process?
I would like to see more flexibility to focus on the consumer experience. The flexibility sometimes needs to come from creditors who expect high returns too quickly, and pit their collection agencies against one another in competitive scorecard environments. In the long run, we could be just as, or even more productive given the opportunity to better meet consumer needs.

 

conklin elizabethELIZABETH A. CONKLIN | McCarthey, Burgess & Wolff
What change would you like to see in the collection process?
Change is inevitable and a vital part of growth. It is difficult for some people and/or organizations to adapt to change and see the benefits. I feel the most important and impacted change that is necessary, in my opinion, is within the FDCPA along with state restrictions. With so many different rules and regulations between the state and federal levels, there is quite a challenge with respect to not only HOW to comply with the many differences between the two, but remaining compliant as well. I would like to see common ground between the FDCPA and state restrictions. I would also like to see a change in technology and communication with the consumer.

What must a collection professional do to make their mark in the collection industry?
Embrace the available opportunities to grow, adapt and educate as the collection industry continues to change and evolve. We may need to re-define what “success” means, but in doing so our organizations become stronger and our own professional opportunities are enhanced.

 

digiovanni-lll nickNICK DIGIOVANNI III | RevMD Partners, LLC.
What must a collection professional do to make their mark in the collection industry?
First, as cliché as it sounds, be passionate about this industry. Have a drive to make each day better than the previous and fully embrace the need to succeed. Second,deliver on what you promise. This industry thrives on reputation and trust. The ultimate way to leave your mark is to do a great job time and time again for your clients. Finally, this is a rapidly changing industry and you must continue to educate yourself and fully understand the needs of your clients. These three things go hand-in-hand and will allow you to stay ahead of the challenges that will inevitably come your way.

 

dimatteo jeffJEFF DIMATTEO | American Profit Recovery
What do you see for the future of collections?
I believe we’ll see a continued barrage of new proposed legislation and regulations coming from many who do not fully understand the collection industry and how we operate. However, I feel that we’ll also see more collaboration with people such as consumers, agencies overseeing the industry and legislators coming up with positive solutions that benefit both the consumer and the collection industry.

What must a collection professional do to make their mark in the collection industry?
I think all collection professionals should help advocate for this industry. Educating the public about what we bring to business and the economy only strengthens our industry and helps the public understand that in fact we are a necessary part of business. Many in our industry take the time to produce educational content as well as contribute to our communities and the more we share that, the more a collection professional will rise in our industry.

 

doane richardRICHARD G. DOANE | Sunrise Credit Services, Inc.
What do you see for the future of collections?
I see a continued push on compliance coming from clients in industries that are just starting to address this concern. In addition, more Federal and State requirements will add even more pressure on agencies to remain compliant.

What is an important thing to remember when working with a client?
The old statement still rings true, “They’re always right!” However, all of our top clients tend to be open for discussion on most topics. It is extremely important to engage in discussions with your clients in an attempt to educate them about what you’re seeing and what you’re doing.

What must a collection professional do to make their mark in the collection industry?
I have always believed that being a part of ACA International has allowed me to give back to my industry. The amount of time you spend volunteering either in your state unit or at the national level is “paid” back to you in the contacts you make and the opportunities to get major ideas that you can bring back to your office and implement immediately. Cost savings and moneymaking ideas are always something I look for in every ACA meeting. I certainly get them from the vendors at the expos but just as many have come from the many friends I have made across the country. In the New York State Collectors Association (ACA’s NY Unit) I have had the pleasure of serving with some 15-20 people over the past 25 years; and I count all of them as friends. At any time anyone of them can call me and ask a question; and I am confident it goes both ways! That’s how you make your mark in the collection industry.

 

engle leslieLESLIE G. ENGLE | Team Recovery
What change would you like to see in the collection process?
It would be good if legislation seriously looked into the contradictions it has created in the processes of allowing creditors to recover their unpaid accounts. We should not lose sight of the spirit of the law or its true intentions as we apply and make necessary clarifications to the FDCPA.

What must a collection professional do to make their mark in the collection industry?
As collection professionals it should be our goal to educate consumers and facilitate the process of resolving their unpaid accounts. We must hold ourselves accountable, being certain that we are ethical and lawful in carrying out our responsibilities. In doing this, we will set ourselves apart and the results will speak for themselves.

 

frost michaelMICHAEL FROST | CBE Group
What is an important thing to remember when working with a client?
All agencies providea service to clients in the recovery of delinquentconsumer obligations. Beyondthat, and more importantly, agenciesshould provide solutions to defined problems.It is critical for agencies to identifythe right problem so that they can providea customized solution that meets clients’high-level objectives.

What must a collection professional do to make their mark in the collection industry?
Get involvedand collaborate with others so wework together to solve problems withinnovative solutions. There are manyopportunities in the industry to join initiativesand efforts that protect the best interestof the consumer, clients and agencysimultaneously.

 

george howardHOWARD GEORGE | Receivables Performance Management, LLC.
What do you see for the future of collections?
I see industry consolidation in both contingency and debt buying verticals. There is a need for major reform in regulatory requirements. Agencies that are agile with strong technology and vigorous commitment to compliance and quality have a significant opportunity for growth. What must a collection professional do to make their mark in the collection industry? For a collection professional to make their mark, they must have the utmost honesty, integrity, and a passionate commitment to excellence. Additionally, you must subordinate your personal objectives in lieu of your client and employee success and their priorities.

 

haag tomTOM HAAG | State Collection Service, Inc.
What do you see for the future of collections?
I believe technology and regulation will continue to drive this industry. Agencies must leverage technology and closely manage compliance. If they do they will have a tremendous opportunity to grow and be successful. If however you just want to do business as usual both with technology and collection practices, the future I’m afraid could be trouble. I expect to see fewer agencies but those that remain will be larger and stronger.

 

jarman nickNICK JARMAN | Delta Outsource Group, Inc.
What is an important thing to remember when working with a client?
Their reputation is a byproductof your reputation. How you operateis a direct reflection and extension of your client.The most important thing to remember iseven though you may be two different companiesit is imperative that you understand theirmission and values and ensure your organizationembodies their brand.

What must a collection professional do to maketheir mark in the collection industry?
I believethere are four things a collection professionalmust to do to make their markin our industry and it comes down tofour things dealing with their collectiontechniques; being professional, respectful,firm and demanding. Those four characteristics can’t work in a singular fashion. They must all work in conjunction witheach other. The first two are obvious inthat every encounter we have with a consumerwe must remain and treat the consumer both professionally and respectfully.In addition, it must be understood that there is a debt that is owed and thereforea collector must also intertwine being firmand demanding in order to establish thatthey are in control of the conversation andthe expert when it comes to resolving delinquentdebts which will then guide theconsumer to a successful resolution of theirdelinquent account.

 

mabry timTIM MABRY | Credits, Inc.
What do you see for the future of collections?
Challenging. I think ACA International and our ACA leadership are doing a good job of stepping up to the challenge. We have a PR image problem that we have to work on and we desperately need to keep up our lobbying and governmental relations efforts or our regulators will bury us.

What change would you like to see in the collection process?
The main thing I would like to change in the collection process is solving non-compliance by market participants of the laws that are currently on the books.

What is an important thing to remember when working with a client?
Remember they are our customers and deserve all the respect and service we can muster.

 

neeb markMARK J. NEEB | The Aliated Group, Inc.
What do you see for the future of collections?
There will be fewer companies working inour industry. The demands for intellectualcapital as well as the cost of compliance willdrive smaller agencies out of the marketin my opinion. Further, the demand forever-increasing compliance measures willcontinue to increase as our creditor clientsthemselves react to more stringent audit requirementsby regulators.

What must a collection professional do to make their mark in the collection industry?
You know,I’ve never set out with that goal in mind. Ithink the accolades come as a result of doingthe right things, and doing things right.I would add one piece of advice however:get involved in your local and nationaltrade associations. Giving back to the industrythat has given us so much, to me, isa must. Paying things forward is simply theright thing to do for people who are seriousabout the future of our industry.

 

rainwater michaelMICHAEL K. RAINWATER | The Uptain Group, Inc.
What change would you like to see in the collection process?
Without a doubt, the biggestchange I would like to see is on the legislativefront. We all know that the FDCPAand collection-applicable laws havenot kept up with technology – which isprobably our greatest pain point. Reputablecollection companies want to “playby the rules” but that is very difficult to dowhen you don’t know what the rules are,the rules change or are different based oncourt rulings in various parts of the country.Even if some laws are not favorable tothe industry, we will know what they areand can follow them.

 

richards jimJIM RICHARDS | Capio Partners
What do you see for the future of collections?
What I see is obviously more regulation and compliance, along with more opportunity for those business owners of medium and large agencies. With the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, healthcare patient responsibility and delinquency will expand exponentially. In addition, the student loan market has already eclipsed the credit card and automotive markets. So the real growth industries going forward will be healthcare and student loans followed by telecommunication/utility.

 

ryalls michaelMICHAEL RYALLS | RGS Financial
What change would you like to see in the collection process?
Considering this from an industry level I would like to see educated clients consistently demanding verifiable IT data security and compliance with applicable law. A level playing field as we compete fairly with each other is only possible if the client enforces it or we internally self-police. Playing by the rules is expensive and the client should not be a benefactor of questionable practices perpetrated by a few bad actors. Additionally, I would like to see clear and reliable regulatory direction. Since the CFPB exists and is not likely to change, then one of the few benefits to the industry should be clarification of proper procedure and protocol. Conflicting case law and ambiguous regulations need to be clarified.

 

sher martinMARTIN SHER | AmSher Receivables Management
What do you see for the future of collections?
As Yogi Bera used to say, “The future ain’t what it used to be!” I believe there is a huge opportunity for those that can embrace and adjust to dramatic change. The CFPB posed 407 good questions. The entire credit and collection universe will know the answers soon. My hope is that the answers are as good as the questions.

What change would you like to see in the collection process?
100% commitment to collectingcompassionately and expanding the useof technology to communicate. Everyonewill benefit, and the credit and collectionindustry will be valued.

 

stockton tomTHOMAS A. STOCKTON | The CMI Group
What do you see for the future of collections?
I believe that the collection industry has a bright future. Debt collection will continue to be a vital ingredient to maintaining a vibrant credit economy. I do see a greater barrier to entry for new players entering the space. There will likely be much consolidation in the industry and it will be very difficult to maintain the very small mom and pop shops that have historically been the backbone of our industry.

What is an important thing to remember when working with a client?
There are several thingsthat come to mind. First and foremost weneed to always strive to create a win-winrelationship with our clients. Second weneed to remember that we are the expertson what the collection regulatory landscapeis both in the state and federal arenas.We should always strive to educate ourclients on regulatory pitfalls in their internalprocess that could cause problems inthe collection process. Finally we need tomake sure our clients are on the same pagewith us as to the importance of compliancein the collection process.

What must a collection professional do to make their mark in the collection industry?
That’seasy. Get involved in your association bothin your state or regional unit and in yournational association. Don’t sit on the sidelinesand complain about the way thingsare. Become part of the solution by beinginvolved. It is certainly possible to makemoney and build a business in this industrywithout being involved. But if youwant to make a difference you need to givesomething back and be part of creating theatmosphere where it is possible for othersto succeed after you.

 

mug strausserHARRY A. STRAUSSER III | Remit Corporation
What do you see for the future of collections?
The collection industry has changed dramatically over the past 25 years and will continue to do so. It will be a softer, more customer service oriented function. There will be fewer operators as the focus on compliance from federal, state and regional regulators places stringent mandates on industry operators. I believe there will be less direct focus on “bad debt” collections and more intensity on the front end with extended business office strategies. What change would you like to see in the collection process? I would like to see the development of enhanced methods to reach right parties. One of the biggest challenges in the collection industry is the ability to actually engage in a conversation with a consumer. Right-party contacts have plummeted in recent years thus meaningful collection conversations between consumers and collectors are at an all-time low.

 

weiss rogerROGER D. WEISS | CACi
What do you see for the future of collections?
I am an eternal optimist. I see oportunity. I do, however, that the opportunities will come in some new and unique environments. I see the landscape as we know it being flipped upside down. There is a rough road ahead for smaller agencies; and agencies reluctant to embrace change and adopt a new culture. One of my favorite quotes has always been "It's not the strongest of the species that survive, but the ones most adaptable to change." - Charles Darwin

What change would you like to see in the collection process?
The primary change I would like to see in the collection process is a modernization and standardization of collection law to eliminate conflicts and ambiguity.

What is an important thing to remember when working with a client?
To me the most important thing to remember is that you have to work with a client and develop a strong and honest relationship. This allows you to more openly discuss issues, concerns, and ideas that lead to mutual success.

What must a collection professional do to make their mark in the collection industry?
This is an ironic one. I asked this question years ago to Nick DiGiovanni. He told me if this is going to be my career, let it be my passion. I would convey the same advice forward. Work hard, work smart, work creatively, constantly think innovation, and work hard.

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