At ACA International’s Conference, two organizations’ comments and actions particularly caught my attention: ACA International and the newest industry regulating body, the CFPB.
CFPB Representatives’ Remarks Reaffirm my Budding Optimism
I eagerly awaited the CFPB updates session and, I’m very pleased to say, was not disappointed with what I heard. It definitely appears the CFPB is working with and listening to ACA International. When you talk with ACA leadership and listen to CFPB representatives you readily recognize both sides know each other personally, meet regularly and discuss our industry’s story and concerns.
I know many people are still skeptical of the CFPB’s intentions and its impact on the ARM industry. In the end, the skeptics may be proved right; however, my opinion is beginning to sway in the opposite direction. I believe the CFPB can be a help to our industry. While I certainly don’t like the idea of another government entity declaring rules, investigating challenges and imposing penalties, IF they clarify current ambiguities—Foti disclosure type problems, calling patterns, etc.—the industry will understand the rules and abide by them. That is better than our current catch-22 situation, where almost whatever you do you’re breaking a rule.
ACA Leadership’s Actions and Achievements are Impressive
In my opinion, Tom Stockton, did an excellent job last year as ACA President. He successfully guided us through a year of change. ACA successfully implemented the new governance structure for our Association. They carefully studied and revised the due structure, creating a fund ACA can use to fight negative regulatory attacks and educate consumers about our industry. As Mr. Stockton reminded us in the opening session, the ARM industry puts millions and millions of dollars back into the U.S. economy, and contributes tremendously to local communities through philanthropic activities. Now there’s a fund started allowing ACA to better communicate those positive impacts with consumers.
One thing ACA International CEO Patrick Morris said particularly resonated with me: “The members of our industry are not the enemy of the consumer.” AGREED! He stated that on average, 400 legislative bills threaten our industry each year. Our industry does help consumers and definitely helps the economy. Fortunately we have associations like ACA lobbying on our behalf. (Richard Cordray, Director of the CFPB, in previous meetings has also indicated that debt collection is important and needs to be done in “the right way.”)
I look forward to working with the leadership of our new ACA President, Leslie Bender. She has been trained to lead our association through years and years of excellent experience running her own business. I believe she has the insight and knowledge to forge an even tighter working relationship with the CFPB and other government entities. I’m glad that she is collaborating even more with our friends in NARCA and DBA International to tell the industry’s story.
Thanks ACA International! It was a great conference and you are leading us successfully to a brighter future. And thank you CFPB for being willing to listen to our industry and help us be better businesses. Please don’t disappoint us!