Pioneer Credit Recovery upset Van Ru Credit Corporation to take the quarterly win among unrestricted businesses on the U.S. Department of Education (ED) private collection agency contract.

A division of student loan giant Sallie Mae, Pioneer scored 96.62 points for the quarter ended March 31, just ahead of Continental Service Group (ConServe) and Van Ru, which finished with 94.74 and 94.10 points, respectively. Van Ru was the leader among large debt collectors in the first two months of the quarter.

As a result of the quarterly win, Pioneer received the most new accounts when the education department distributed them last month.

ED’s private collections performance results are determined by a weighted average of contractors’ performance in total dollars collected; total accounts serviced, and total administrative resolutions. The department awards 70 points to the top performer in the dollars collected category. Twenty points is awarded to the top performer in the total accounts serviced category, and the top performer in administrative resolutions receives 10 points. The other agencies are scored against the top performers in each category.

It’s the first time since the 2009 contract began that the contractor that led its peer group two out of a three month period did not finish the quarter with the lead. But throughout the period, competition among the unrestricted contractors was so tight that the top finishers only managed to win one category and the winner of the dollars collected category usually prevailed.

Officially, Van Ru had a higher recovery rate to win the dollars collected category in the quarter and earn the full 70 points, while Pioneer did not win any of the three categories. But Pioneer’s performance across all three categories, especially the dollars collected category, was high enough (69.28) for it to squeeze out the come from begin victory. Through March, Pioneer has collected nearly $88 million over the life of the contract.

Collection Technology Inc. (CTI), meanwhile, has secured most of its victories among small businesses by winning at least two of the three categories. The Monterey, Calif.-based company earned its fourth consecutive quarterly performance ranking win by scoring 98.44 points during the period. Coast Professional Inc. was a close second with 97.33 points, while Immediate Credit Recovery finished third with 88.56.

Through March, the contractors (17 unrestricted, and five small contractors) have collected nearly $1.9 billion.

Performance Rankings for The First Quarter of 2011

Unrestricted (Large) Firms Score (Q1 2011) $$ Collected (Q1 2011)
Pioneer Credit Recovery (Sallie Mae) 95.62 $32,784,023
ConServe 94.74 $27,506,676
Van Ru Credit Corporation 94.1 $29,820,331
GC Services LP 88.21 $25,315,970
Diversified Collection Services 87.32 $24,045,707
NCO Group 87.12 $28,440,915
ERS 86.91 $24,701,252
Windham Professionals 84.99 $21,601,803
FMS Investment Corp. 84.53 $21,346,898
Financial Asset Management Systems 82.74 $25,875,880
Allied Interstate (iQor) 81.26 $23,612,993
Premiere Credit of North America 80.6 $21,066,019
EOS-CCA (Collecto Inc.) 79.55 $21,648,065
West Asset Management 76.34 $15,048,246
Account Control Technology 73.72 $19,480,119
Progressive Financial Services 72.42 $17,844,881
CBE Group 70.49 $18,630,815
Small Businesses Score (Q1 2011) $$ Collected (Q1 2011)
Collection Technology, Inc. 98.44 $12,528,028
Coast Professional 97.33 $11,817,059
Immediate Credit Recovery 88.58 $8,574,265
National Recoveries 86.26 $8,905,899
Delta Management Associates 76.72 $6,722,832

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