Mike Ginsberg: First Quarter ARM Legal, Legislative and Regulatory Climate Summed Up

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Mike Ginsberg

Legal, legislative and regulatory issues at the federal, state, and judicial levels continue to plague the Accounts Receivable Management (ARM) industry, having a dramatic impact on executives’ ability to make decisions about the future of their business. But nearly everyone feels it is extremely important to keep up with developments on these fronts.

The mood at industry conferences is palpably somber as information is spoon-fed to the industry about increased enforcement action by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and state regulatory agencies, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) advances to regulate the industry and the relentless onslaught of consumer driven litigation.

I am thrilled to have my friend Rozanne Andersen, industry expert and the foremost authority on the regulatory climate, share her perspective in our latest quarterly report.  Some of her findings include:

  1. On February 28, 2012, Rep. Barney Frank introduced H.R. 4101, The Fair Debt Collection Practices Clarification Act of 2012. This bill seeks to amend the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act to exempt a debt collector from liability when leaving certain voice mail messages for a consumer with respect to a debt.
  2. This past quarter, senate republicans launched an effort to oppose the current organizational structure of the CFPB. Echoing House-passed legislation which originally called for a five person commission, the senators sought three major structural changes to the Bureau which Rozanne investigates.
  3. As non-bank entities, the larger participants in the collection, asset purchasing and credit reporting industries fall subject to the oversight and supervision of the CFPB. The CFPB is required to release its definition of larger participant on or before July 21, 2012. It is expected the CFPB will define larger participant for the ARM industry as debt collectors with more than $10 million in annual receipts from debt collection activities.
  4. On the heels of releasing the proposed rule regarding the definition of larger participant, the CFPB released is first report to Congress on March 20 summarizing plans for administering the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA).
  5. On February 15, 2012 the FCC unanimously approved a report concerning autodialed or prerecorded calls. The report and order was a clear win for the ARM industry and a loss for telemarketers.

Rozanne visits with representatives from federal agencies such as the CFPB, Department of Education, the U.S. Treasury and the U.S. Treasury’s Department of Financial Management Services to glean their insight about the future of the industry and to identify areas of risk and concern. These conversations give her valuable insight into the issues that keep agency owners and senior leaders up at night. She  identified the top 10 list of Hot Topics for the industry. As a preventive measure, agency executives may want to investigate exactly how their teams are addressing each of these issues within their organizations as a means to avoid costly litigation, consumer complaints and government enforcement actions.  The list is available in our latest report.

 

Continuing the Discussion

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