Tim Bauer

Tim Bauer

A few months ago, insideARM and The iA Institute formally announced the inaugural First Party Outsourcing Summit.  The conference is scheduled for October 12-14 at the Oakridge Hotel and Conference Center outside of Minneapolis.

I know, I know.  Your first reaction was: “Not another conference!”

But, hear me out. This conference is different. To start, the subject matter is compelling — It is covering a topic that, to my knowledge, has been ignored at prior industry events. By most accounts first party outsourcing, in its many permutations, may be as much as 30% of ARM industry revenue.  Plus, that number is growing as clients look to focus on core competencies and outsource collection functions.

On May 1, 2000 the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued an Opinion Letter to attorney Richard deMayo of TSYS Total Debt Management, Inc. on first party outsourcing,  That document, is now simply known as the “deMayo Opinion.” Approximately 2 years later, on May 23, 2002 the FTC issued a slightly revised, second opinion letter.  Those two documents have been the “bible” for how to set up first party outsourcing for 15 years. To my knowledge, there have been no significant developments in the area since those letters were issued.

What is even more interesting is the fact that if you go to the FTC web site today you cannot find the opinion or any reference to the opinion anywhere on the FTC site.

It is also clear that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is interested in first party collection efforts. See this outstanding article written by Marcelo Aita for insideARM in March of this year.  It is not a huge stretch to believe that the CFPB will be interested in first party outsourcing. Yet, the deMayo Opinion is also MIA on the CFPB site.

We debated the merits of adding a new conference to the industry’s already busy schedule.  At the end of the day we decided to proceed.  But, we set some ground rules for ourselves.

  1. The conference had to be completely new, not a sequel or different version of an existing program.
  2. The conference had to be consistent with other iA events.  That meant:
    • New speakers
    • No infomercials
    • A working atmosphere with a collaborative environment for creditors and call centers/agencies
    • The conference had to be “industry agnostic” — that is to say, the topics had to be applicable across all industries

At the end of the day I believe we have met all of our objectives. I believe we are going to produce the most interesting event on the conference circuit in 2015.

The lineup of speakers and moderators is terrific. We have professionals spanning almost every business vertical; from banking to telecom to healthcare and all points in between, as well as representatives from the FTC and the CFPB.

We generally subscribed to the Noah’s Ark theory for speakers.  Almost every session is done with a pair of speaker/moderators.  In most cases a credit grantor is paired with a vendor. Yet, the session participants will be as important as the speakers/moderators.  The moderator’s job will be to start the discussion, keep the discussion moving, and get everyone involved who wants to be involved. You will have the ability to be an integral part of the conference experience.

Last thing……..I promise.  I know some of you are wondering what in the world are we doing in Minnesota in the middle of October.  My response is this:  First, I was born and raised in Minnesota.  I am guaranteeing beautiful autumn weather for the conference.  Second, we all know that my Minnesota Twins are now a lock for the MLB Playoffs.  I wanted to make certain we were in MN for a game or two.

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