Those of us who have been working in and around collections for many years may take for granted our basic knowledge of industry terms and concepts.
New collectors generally get the benefit of structured training, at least about the laws that govern collections work. I wonder, though, whether other employees stumble around for a while trying to pick up terminology and fundamentals, perhaps avoiding what they think must be “stupid” questions.
When I joined Kaulkin Ginsberg (the strategic advisory firm and sister company to insideARM.com) 11 years ago, my stepfather, Marvin Kaulkin, would constantly mention the term “credit grantor.” I honestly had no idea what he was talking about. I was not a kid right out of school. I was 34. I had an MBA. I had lots of credit. But regular people don’t tend to use the term “credit grantor” in conversation and as I suggest above, I didn’t want to ask Marvin what I felt must have been a dumb question. As a result it took me quite a while to truly get my head around the basic dynamics of the industry.
Even though my job was not to be a collector, a primer of some sort would have definitely been helpful. What’s the difference between first-party and third-party collections? What is the relationship between/among grantors, collection agencies, and debt buyers (this last group didn’t really exist back then)? How can I best sort out the alphabet soup of collection laws and regulations, like FDCPA, FCRA, TCPA, etc.? And how do all of these things relate to my job? Throw in an introduction to some of the current hot issues or challenges facing the industry, and that’s a document I would have found invaluable.
I think this applies to industry suppliers too, given that it’s critical to understand your clients’ business – even if your job isn’t sales. No doubt some companies are on top of this. For those who assume this basic education is happening but have no real mechanism for it, I encourage you to think about it.
If you’d like some quick and convenient help, we’ve put together an ARM Industry Primer that you can provide to new (or existing) employees to help give them a decent grounding on how the industry works.