At this writing, 140,122 people have watched this short video about a collection agency so “exceptional” that it made the CBS Evening News in Steve Hartman’s 10/4/13 “On the Road” segment. In a nutshell, Bill Bartmann, owner of a collection agency in Tulsa, OK, says he makes 200 percent more than the competition “just by being nice.” His collectors probably are somewhat exceptional, if only because of what their pay is based on. However, many people who really know the industry might not find Bartmann’s philosophy of being nice that unusual. The video is a “must see” for anyone in the debt collection industry.
After working in the industry for more than 20 years, my Comment on the Video’s page would not be one quite so full of surprise and even disbelief as the many that appear there. One commenter actually did research on Bartmann. “Never mind that he is the epitome of a self-made man, or that he is well known in the industry for his impossible successes and consumer centered approach. He is also making some noticeable changes in the debt collection laws, both federal and state. That said, his company obviously helps people recover to the point where they will be in the position to repay their debts, instead of wringing last juices out of them. It’s just smart.”
Those of us who know the industry know that the majority of debt collectors, whether in agencies or law firms, are “smart” in the same way. They know that debts can be collected through kindness. And they are also compliant with all the laws and regulations that govern what they can and cannot do in the process of collecting a debt.
At many industry conventions and in their exhibit halls, in collection agencies observing collectors, as the host of more than 20 smaller conferences for users of industry-related technology, and in phone interviews for NL’s State Law white papers, I have met some of the nicest people I know, and I have heard from them first-hand that they do whatever they can to help people pay their debts. My son, an attorney with a debt collection law firm, told me he quickly learned that he was much more successful when he was kind and understanding toward the debtors he works with.
At The National List, we are proud to represent and refer to happy clients member attorneys who are compliant with industry laws and very successful at collecting debt. Share your stories with us by commenting below or via firstname.lastname@example.org, and help us change—one story at a time—the negative image of the industry as portrayed in most of the media.
by Marti Lythgoe, National List Editor
If the above link doesn’t work for you, paste this address in your browser: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SrON4uh6T1k