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posted on 2009-07-22 by Allen Harkleroad
You just gotta love New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo. He is a
living legend after my own heart. Too bad the Federal Trade Commission (FTC
refuses to do what Mr. Cuomo is doing, namely protecting US consumers
from illegal and predatory debt collectors. No wonder why President
Obama is so gung-ho about creating a new consumer agency, mainly
because FTC employees sit around collecting government (tax payer
funded) paychecks and lets abusive debt collection companies abuse
One hundred thousand New Yorkers were scammed and almost 7,000 are
from the Rochester area. Now, Attorney General Andrew Cuomo is doing
something about it.
Cuomo says it's the largest debt collection scam he's ever seen and starting today, the victims are being notified.
Cuomo says his office has sued 35 different law firms and two debt
collectors in New York State alone in relation to this scam. Three of
those firms are in the Rochester area. The firms were led by a company
called American Legal Process (ALP) which illegally placing leans and
repossessing people's assets. Read the full story on WHEC-TV
I personally hope President Obama, snatches consumer law issues away
from the Federal Trade Commission and hands it over to an agency that
might actually protect consumers. The FTC has failed consumers time and
time again. Hey, Federal Trade Commission, want to keep your consumer
law enforcement privileges? Then try protecting consumers from abusive
debt collectors. Another words stop resting on your laurels and get
your a$$ to work protecting consumers.
posted on 2009-07-10 by Jerry Greenblatt
Open Letter to All Members
of ACA, International
Fellow ACA Member,
it the role of ACA International to act as an advocate of the Collection
Industry, or to regulate the Collection Industry? Is ACA leadership spending
our money wisely?
am writing this letter as an individual dues paying member of ACA,
International and not as a member of any other association or board, in order
to convey my concerns and questions as to the direction our association is
am concerned with several recent initiatives undertaken by the ACA Executive Committee,
including the association’s recent dues increase, change of fiscal year and
attempt to force individual state units to change their membership year,
reluctance to limit budgetary votes by its Board of Directors to in person
meetings, and its attempt to regulate the collection industry through its own
Dispute Resolution Program and SRO turned Debt Collector Registry.
must first question the dues increase. Last year at the Annual Board of
Directors meeting the budget was presented by ACA Staffand included the $1M purchase and $300K in
refurbishing costs to purchase a office condo in Washington D.C..
60 days of the BOD approving that budget a special telephonic meeting was
called to increase dues. I am quite concerned as to why this increase was not
addressed in an open forum at the in person meeting of the BOD, where members
could have been made aware of the proposed increase and voiced their concerns.
must ask myself: did staff know at that time that the increase was necessary?
If they did not know at that time, why didn’t they know? Most of all, if the
BOD knew a dues increase was necessary, would they have voted for the $1M cash
purchase of the D.C. Condo?
have been unable to ascertain as to where the increased revenue from the dues
increase will be spent. It has been cited that the dues increase is necessary
to bolster reserves, which have not been in compliance since enacted by the
BOD. It appears ACA would have had adequate reserves had they not purchased the
condo. Shouldn’t this have been considered prior to making the purchase in
D.C.? Did ACA consider other alternatives to purchasing the condo for cash?
ACA Leadership Committee has cancelled the Association’s Unit Leadership
Conference citing “financial pressures of the current economy”. Leadership is
already cutting programs while raising dues, due to the economy. Perhaps they
should consider what effect this dues increase will have on us as members.
is a motion to be brought before the BOD next week to roll back the dues
increase. This is not water under the bridge, but an opportunity to correct an
ill informed decision. I encourage you
to contact your National Director and urge them to vote in favor of rolling
back the dues increase.
now move on to the Fiscal Year/Membership Year change, cited by ACA leadership
as necessary because we as members are too confused in dealing with a calendar
and membership year. Leadership also states this will help with approval of the
budget and will alleviate the need for the BOD to take up time considering and
debating the budget at the annual meeting.
my opinion, the primary and most important fiduciary responsibility of the BOD
is the consideration and debate of the annual budget which is approximately $8M
the fiscal year accelerates dues and results in, us as members, paying 19 months of dues in a seven month time
period. What’s worse is paying our dues in December, the worst month for
revenues in our industry.
must ask ourselves, is changing the fiscal year really in our best interest as
members? We will have an opportunity to question this Fiscal/Membership Year
change and why it is really necessary, at the General Membership Meeting next
week. I encourage a no vote on this change.
am equally confused as to why ACA Leadership would be opposed to the idea of
limiting votes and approval of budgetary and fiscal matters to in person
meetings of the BOD, wherefair and open
discussion and consideration can take place, with the benefit of the input of
members like us.
am equally concerned with ACA undertaking the endeavor of administering a
mandatory Dispute Resolution Program/Collector Registry and must question how well
thought out these programs are and how they will affect our industry.
year the dispute resolution program went from being administered by the National
BBB to being administered by a separate entity to be formed by ACA. As
presented it would require an agency’s to consent to a conciliation period and
I as understood it mandatory arbitration to be paid by the collection agency.
The program does not guarantee that it would eliminate traditional remedies such
as law suits available to the consumer but would only add a layer to the mix.
The program also did not guarantee the protection of information acquired
within the Dispute Resolution process which could later be used against the
with the Dispute Resolution Program, the BOD was presented a brief summary of a
proposed Self Regulatory Organization (SRO). It is important to remember that
only a presentation took place and no action was taken by the BOD on the SRO.
a task force was formed and met approximately ten times by telephone conference
and just recently, citing the fear of President Obama’s formation of a new
government entity to protect the financial rights of consumers, theyturned the SRO into a mandatory Debt
Collector Registry. This Registry, to be formed by ACA with our money, will be considered and voted on by the BOD at
the annual meeting next week.
registry as I understand it would require all agencies to register each
collector, and may include finger printing, background checks, testing and on-going
have heard that this registry could add upwards of $10M to ACA International’s
already $8M annual revenues and will not preempt any local or state regulatory
agencies, but will instead only add another layer of government and expense to our
already challenged industry.
many of us do background checks, finger printingand training we are able to do this within a
competitive market and are not limited in doing our pre-employment screening
through ACA, International or some subsidiary it will form.
read an AP article today, Frank backs plan for a consumer protection
agency By ANNE FLAHERTY which it appears the majority of
lawmakers are resistant to the idea and have doubts as to its success.
many of us thought the sky was falling with the enactment of the FDCPA, FCRA,
GLBA, HIPPAA,and other acts and laws
that govern us. We are already regulated by a federal agency, and those of us
that work within the law will most likely not be affected by a new federal
agency if it is even formed to regulate us.
item has been put on the BOD agenda through a placeholder and will be
considered with only a few minutes debate without the benefit of prior review
of its structure, mamangement, feasibility, budget, revenue or affect on the industry,
just as the $1M D.C. condo purchase was voted on last year.
fact is we do not know if and when this new government agency will be formed or
if it will change the regulation of the industry. There is no need to rush a
decision which could have devastating effects on our industry.
smart agency owner once said something to the effect, “I could be shot on the
way into my office, so maybe I should just shoot myself first, before it
happens” This seems to be the approach our leadership is taking on this issue.
have asked the national directors that represent my state unit to either table
the motion to create a National Debt Collector Registry until more information
is obtained and the proper time for debate and discussion is allotted or in turn
vote NO on its formation.
again I ask, should it be the role of ACA to advocate for us or for ACA to
is incumbent on us, as dues paying members to question our leadership and the
direction they are taking our association. Is it really in the best interest of
us as a membership body and our industry.
invite your comments as fellow association members to firstname.lastname@example.org.
663 Greenfield Dr.
El Cajon CA
posted on 2009-03-03 by Jay Gonsalves
When a bounced check for $14 ends up
costing a consumer nearly $300 to pay back and
leads to harassment and scare tactics from the company trying to recoup the
debt, somebody needs to say something.
Our trade association, ACA
International, has been doing exactly that for the past three years
in an effort to get an unwise amendment to the Fair Debt Collection Practices
Act (FDCPA) repealed.
You don’t have to be a debt
collector – as more than 3,500 of our member agencies are – to know that the
check diversion program Congress agreed to exempt from the FDCPA back in 2006
spelled trouble from the beginning. Along with forcing consumers to pay more
than $150 out of their own pocket to attend a financial management course, the
amendment essentially gave collection companies like American Corrective
Counseling Services (ACCS) a free pass when it came to adhering to the FDCPA.
This is rather ironic considering the FDCPA was designed to protect consumers
from the very type of unethical and illegal harassment ACCS has been repeatedly
accused of by consumers in numerous lawsuits over the years.
CNN.com’s March 2 story, Bounced-check collection deals draw fire, is
only the latest example of why check diversion programs such as the one being
run by ACCS should never have been exempted from the FDCPA in the first place.
ACA International has stood in
accord with consumer advocacy groups and others in opposing Congress’s 2006
decision to change federal law and allow district attorney’s offices to
contract out bounced-check collections to private collection firms like ACCS.
Not only does the current
arrangement lead to mistreatment and needless financial hardship for consumers
whose only crime may have been accidentally bouncing a check for a large pizza,
but it also takes away the level playing field created by the FDCPA for ethical
Our association will continue its
efforts to ask Congress to repeal this ill-conceived amendment to the FDCPA,
and in the meantime our association is unveiling a brand new, completely free
consumer education Web site called Ask Doctor Debt. One of its many financial
literacy tools is a free financial literacy Web course that district attorneys
and companies like ACCS are currently forcing consumers to pay $160 to take.
Contrary to the negative stereotypes
so often associated with our industry, the members of ACA International –
representing thousands of agencies and tens of thousands of individual
collectors – strive to treat each consumer with dignity and respect, along with
making available – free of charge – the financial literacy and education tools
consumers need in order to make informed choices.
It is our sincere hope Congress
makes the same informed choice and repeals the check diversion program
amendment to the FDCPA before more consumers suffer the same fate as those
described in CNN’s recent story.
Gonsalves is the President of ACA International, The
Association of Credit and Collection Professionals and President of Action
Collection Agency of Boston.
posted on 2009-03-01 by Credit and Collection News
The FTC just released their report on the FDCPA. Go to:
to review their report.
What are your thoughts on the FTC's recommendations for the industry?
posted on 2008-05-12 by Michael Flock
RECENTLY, Flock Advisors spent several days in New York holding meetings with lenders and investors. Walking past the Bear Stearns building through the pouring rain, we couldn’t help but contemplate the effects of the credit crunch on the collections and debt buying industries. In the final analysis, we wondered, would the contraction of credit and the economic slowdown be good news or bad news for an industry already weakened by historically high prices?
Assuming that the slowdown and the current contraction is not deep and prolonged, Flock Advisors believes the current economic storms are good for the industry and will reignite industry growth, particularly in the world of debt buying, which has been frustratingly stagnant during the last few years due to stratospheric prices.
FIRST, THE BAD NEWS: A few large banks like Merrill and CIT are no longer financing consumer debt portfolios. Every lender we spoke with has become more cautious in the current environment. Some have decreased advance rates. Some have increased coupon rates. More want participation in the residuals.
NOW THE GOOD NEWS: All the lenders we know are very bullish about the future of the debt buying market. They all see prices falling 10% to 20% (or even more) to more conservative levels. Although liquidity is falling too, its decline is generally perceived to be slower than the price declines, thereby improving returns.
AN INDUSTRY LEADER COMMENTS: Former President of OSI Portfolio Services and current Principal at Briannaco Investments Stacey Schacter told Flock Advisors: “This is the time industry veterans have been waiting for. For those that have been patient with their capital will be rewarded with the ability to pick up a variety of assets at relatively good prices amid decreased competition. The type of shock that occurs during a recession or market turmoil is generally good for the industry unless the recessionary period is too long or unusually deep. At this point, while I don't see a quick recovery in the economy, prices should remain within a more sensible band, leading to increased profits.”
THE BOTTOM LINE: We believe that as long as there are no major bank failures or additional credit tightening, 2008 has makings of a good year for debt buyers. The convergence of price declines and flexible financing with a wider range of offerings spells opportunity and growth.
CAPITALIZE YOUR UNIQUE POSITION NOW: Timing has never been more important. If you want to leverage your debt buying investments, start shopping ... and have fun negotiating!
NOW FOR A LITTLE SELF PROMOTION: If you don’t have the resources or lender relationships to arrange financing yourself consider giving us a call to explore your options.
For additional information, please contact either Michael Flock or Don Hilbert at Flock Advisors: at 404-419-2247 or email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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