There was an informative meeting last night for credit and collection professionals at the Washington, DC offices of ACA International as agency executives prepared for scheduled meetings today with their representatives on Capitol Hill.
At a reception welcoming the Fly-In participants, speakers included Rob Jesmer — Executive Director of the National Republican Senatorial Committee — who broke down state Congressional races (I should add that he did this without notes), and Republican Senator Jim DeMint from South Carolina (thank you Gary Williams).
The ACA Government Affairs staff addressed mounting legislative and regulatory challenges the ARM industry faces, including the following important topics which they summarized very well:
FDCPA Modernization – efforts to amend the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act to correct the inherent “Catch 22” when leaving voicemail messages
TCPA Modernization – attempts to enact common sense revisions so collectors can communicate with mobile devices while protecting consumers from unwanted telemarketing calls
CFPB – proposed ruling for supervision fails to spell out basic information and conflicts with SBA’s proposed definition of a small business. Also when will large market participants be defined? The latest timeframe is “the fall.”
Medical Debt Responsibility Act – Amend the FCRA from reporting any medical debts of $2,500 or less
Treasury/IRS – Requires hospitals to determine if patients qualify for financial assistance before collecting medical debt.
Proactive attempts are being made by agency owners, executives, and association leaders to educate decision makers about the need for collection efforts and appropriate supervision. It continues to be an uphill battle, especially during an election year.
U.S. citizens are always welcomed in their elected officials’ offices in Washington, but there really is no better opportunity than ACA’s DC Fly-In events for individual professionals in the ARM to influence federal laws and regulations. If you haven’t participated before, I highly recommend coming to the next one.