In 2020, the Consumer Relations Consortium (CRC) launched its inaugural Legal Advisory Board (LAB), an exclusive membership group of outside counsel with expertise in the accounts receivable industry who have each pledged their time and resources to support the mission of the CRC. Throughout the year, the LAB served as a legal resource to the CRC and iA Innovation Council membership and assisted in fulfilling the mission of promoting forward-thinking approaches to the issues raised by regulatory policy and technology innovation in the accounts receivable industry.
Today's spotlight, which showcases LAB members in their own words, highlights John Rossman of Moss & Barnett.
Editor's Note: The application period for the 2021 CRC LAB is open until 10/31/2020. Learn more about the application process here.
What inspired you to become a lawyer?
When I was young, I enjoyed watching reruns of Perry Mason. While the show was named after the fictional attorney Mason, it was the clutch team of Della Street and Paul Drake who always provided Mason with the additional last-minute support and data he needed to prevail against long-odds in Court. We've found that a stellar team is likewise instrumental to the success of the 24 attorneys in our Financial Services practice here at Moss & Barnett.
We are truly blessed to practice with the best possible team of outstanding legal professionals including Pat Egdorf, Andrea Montan, Jodi Newsom, Maureen Montpetit, Linda Anderson, Mariah Sletten, Brenda Murphy, Todd Forrester, Deb Weinstock and Robin Gibson. This incredible team inspires me every day with their dedication to excellence for our clients and our law firm.
Other than the CFPB rules, what is a hot topic in legal/compliance you think industry members should be paying attention to in the next couple of months?
Since the pandemic started, we've seen a dramatic increase in State regulatory complaints and investigations against debt collectors and financial institutions. Companies must ensure that their practices comply with State requirements and also respond promptly to any correspondence, complaint or investigation from a regulator. The number one mistake I see companies make is failing to promptly respond to the inquiry from a regulator because the failure to timely respond alone is deemed a violation of the law by regulators.
We've also seen an exponential increase in Fair Credit Reporting Act lawsuits, mostly commenced by consumer bankruptcy attorneys who scrutinize debtor credit bureau reports both before and after a bankruptcy filing. I've written two articles about this issue recently:
- Wave of Federal Lawsuits Slam Furnishers for “Inaccurate” Credit Reporting of Accounts in Bankruptcy
- Credit Reporting Debts in Bankruptcy: Deluge of Recent Lawsuits Reveals Risks for Financial Industry.
Any company that furnishes data to the credit reporting agencies should review its policies regarding reporting accounts included in a bankruptcy to ensure compliance with the law.
What has been the highlight of your career thus far?
Volunteer work with the Legal Access Point free legal clinic and annually mentoring law students through the University of St. Thomas law school.
What industry behavior keeps you up at night and why?
I disconnected from all personal social media several years ago and I get 8 hours of sleep every night.
If you could give one piece of non-legal advice to the industry, what would it be?
One of my favorite quotes from Benjamin Franklin: "Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing."
About John Rossman
In his national practice dedicated to the financial services industry, John has shaped the law in numerous landmark cases that preserved and expanded the rights of financial services companies, including national banks, automobile lenders, fintech companies, collection agencies, debt buyers, mortgage lenders, creditors, and fellow lawyers.
Licensed to practice in 15 courts and jurisdictions across the country, John regularly serves as counsel nationwide, both as a lead lawyer and as a learned strategist for local counsel. He advises and counsels financial services industry clients on regulatory compliance, defends them in claims and litigation, and advises them on best practices to prevent legal action.
John also helps creditors navigate the Bankruptcy Code and courts and represents them to secure payments and collateral, make determinations for future services, and minimize preference liability.
About the Consumer Relations Consortium
The Consumer Relations Consortium (CRC) is an organization comprised of more than 60 national companies representing the diverse ecosystem of debt collection including creditors, data/technology providers and compliance-oriented debt collectors that are larger market participants. Established in 2013, CRC is evolving the debt collection paradigm by engaging stakeholders—including consumer advocates, Federal and State regulators, academic and industry thought leaders, creditors and debt collectors—and challenging them to move beyond talking points and focus on fashioning real-world solutions that actually improve the consumer experience. CRC’s collaborative and candid approach is unique in the market. CRC is managed by The iA Institute.
Learn more at www.crconsortium.org.
About the iA Innovation Council
The iA Innovation Council is a collaborative working group of product, tech, strategy, and operations thought leaders who envision the future of collections and map how to get there. Group members meet throughout the year to engage in substantive dialogue and whiteboard sessions with the creative thinkers behind the latest innovations for the industry, the regulators who audit and establish guardrails for new technology, and educators, entrepreneurs and innovators from outside the industry who inspire different thinking.
Learn more at www.iainnovationcouncil.com.