Dave Rudd, DialerFan: IAT Smartdial Solutions

Dave Rudd,
DialerFan: IAT Smartdial Solutions

The problem with attending a conference in a breathtaking location is you’re tempted to skip the sessions and go outside. Fortunately, I pulled myself away from the window—the stunningly beautiful Adirondack Mountains, the deep blue of Lake George and the surrounding beauty—and learned some fantastic information at the 2013 DBA International Executive Summit. In case you don’t believe me, below is some helpful information from a few sessions I particularly liked.

An Interview with the CFPB

This was a very informal Q&A session. Tom Pahl, CFPB Managing Regulatory Counsel was interviewed by Rich Munroe, DBA President. In addition to Mr. Munroe’s prepared questions, attendees asked questions throughout the interview.

I liked the frank way Mr. Pahl answered the questions—even the tough ones. I especially took note when Mr. Pahl said the CFPB recognizes there is value in having consumers communicate with debt collectors. He said they are attempting to not overlap enforcement with other government entities to avoid going after the same agency for the same violation. Mr. Pahl also said that while the CFPB doesn’t want to make it more difficult for agencies to collect, their new rules might unintentionally make it more challenging in some cases.

An Interview with the FTC

With the same format as the CFPB interview session, Christopher Koegel FTC Assistant Director in the Division of Financial Practices was interviewed by Kaye Dreifuerst, Treasurer, DBA Board of Directors.

Mr. Koegel discussed what the FTC looks at when they’re determining whether to pursue enforcement action against debt buyers or collection agencies:

  • Past Violations

  • Egregious nature of reported violations

  • Apparent willful violations

  • Responsible and timely responses to FTC requests

  • Continued “bad action” during the initial investigation

An insightful way to learn “good info” on collection activities, said Mr. Koegel, is to pay close attention to the FTC Orders. Also, pay attention to the public closing letters regarding why they decide not to pursue enforcement action against a company.

According to Mr. Koegel, the FTC is very pleased with DBA’s Certification Standard! He also mentioned that the FTC recognizes technology is important for contacting debtors and regulations need to be modernized to allow for the use of those new technologies.

Federal Update

Bryan Faliero, DBA President Elect, shared his insights from the 2012 FTC Collection Complaint database. He said the FTC, Congress, and Consumer Groups insist collection related complaints are too high. They use the sheer number of complaints to indicate that the industry in general is drifting away from the consumer good.

HOWEVER, his careful analysis of the complaint database indicates an extremely excellent level of service within our industry.  The data points to the debt collection service level as 99.3% complaint free (4 Sigma Process)!  EXCELLENT!

Next a panel discussed DBA’s federal and legislative involvement and particularly the happenings with the CFPB. Frankly, this was not a pleasant conversation about the future. Bob Belair, DBA Federal Legislative/Regulatory Counsel, stated that the next two years are critical to our industry, as the CFPB will begin a massive rule-making process. Mr. Belair suggested that as a group we need to be proactive and positive in our responses to the proposed rules. We need to look at the regulations from the eye of the consumer and propose a positive resolution. He pointed out that we are creating the landscape for how our businesses will operate in the coming years; if we only respond negatively, we won’t win friends.

I am not a fan of more rules and regulations. We have plenty already. What we need is more clarification of those regulations and the elimination of Catch-22 situations. Perhaps the CFPB rulemaking process will bring the clarity that I and others are hoping for our industry. However, if we want these positive changes, we all need to get involved, pay attention and donate money to help in industry lobbying efforts.

Thanks DBA International for bringing us together to discuss such critical items affecting our industry!

But next time, maybe make the view from my room a little less picturesque? I might not be able to resist the urge to climb the awe-inspiring mountain or try kayaking on the lake…instead of attending the sessions.

Next Article: Professional Credit Service Employees "ReachOut" to St. ...