COLLINGSWOOD, N.J. -- The Fed Cetera Network, a business development organization under 48 CFR 52.219-9, has announced it is seeking small business collection agencies to respond to its Request for Information (RFI) and compete for new business collecting Federal student loans in 2017 and beyond.  Such firms may be selected to work as Federal subcontractors on United States Department of Education (ED) Private Collection Agency (PCA) contracts. Click here to request a copy of the RFI.

A small business in the collection industry is currently defined as an entity organized for profit and generating under $15 million in average billings for the last three completed fiscal years.  Revenue from all organizational affiliates must be combined for the purposes of this calculation.  In particular, Fed Cetera seeks firms:

  • Owned by Black Americans, Hispanic Americans, Native Americans, Asian Pacific Americans, and Subcontinent Asian American that may qualify as “disadvantaged” as per Federal statutes; and/or,
  • With the principal office located within a Federal HUBZone.

Simultaneously, the organization has announced a tightening of membership requirements.  It now permits membership only if the organization believes the member or proposed member meets all statutory requirements associated with any and all assertion(s) it claims, regardless of any assertions made by the firm on  This includes assertions of small business status, as well as any assertions related to the four (4) special small business sub-categories recognized by the Federal government: Woman-Owned Small Business (WOSB), Small Disadvantaged Business (SDB), HUBZone-Certified Small Business (HUBZone), and Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB).

“There have been instances in the past of members not fully understanding the requirements of particular assertions, making casual assertions without confirming all the details, or making simple errors on the website,” said Nick Bernardo, co-operator of the organization, continuing, “Where we have been unable to have the member remedy incorrect assertions, membership has not been renewed.  Going forward, we will list a member’s assertions only where we have verified any supporting materials. We welcome anyone with questions about the requirements of particular assertions to contact us to learn more.”

Subcontractors working on the PCA contract as a result of their relationship with Fed Cetera have billed more than $60 million to date for their efforts on this long-term initiative.

As reported on ED procurement documents posted on, the procurement for PCAs that concluded with awards to seven firms in December 2016 (although blocked under numerous protests at this time) placed greater emphasis than ever before on the need for PCAs to subcontract accounts to small businesses.  A set aside contract awarded to eleven small businesses in late September of 2014 requires, for the first time, even those small businesses to farm out some of the work to other small businesses.

About Fed Cetera

Fed Cetera is a “business development organization” under 48 CFR 52.219-9 that PCAs contact when subcontracting opportunities are available in order to be fully compliant with Federal regulations requiring outreach to various sources of potential subcontractors.  The company maintains a source list of more than fifty qualified small collection firms, regularly markets to the PCA community, and provides advisory services around business development and compliance to firms operating in the federal market place. Click here to learn more.

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