Laws and regulations regarding debt collection practices are changing so rapidly that the difficulty of keeping up with the changes and avoiding law suits seems to be increasing daily. Not only are there many new regulations, they are often contradictory. It is seemingly impossible to keep one regulation without breaking another. Disregard for a law is commonly used as a defense in the increasing number of collection cases. It is important for collection attorneys, debt servicers, debt collectors, and lenders to know how the laws governing debt collection apply to them and how to maintain compliance with the law among staff members.
But how? What are the most cost-effective, efficient and effective ways to keep both management and staff up-to-date and out of trouble?
Ideas for acquiring and sharing information:
Conferences: A wealth of knowledge is available at industry conferences. For example, at the upcoming NARCA Conference Oct. 22-25 in Las Vegas, you can visit the exhibit hall to learn more about new technology &/or attend sessions on:CFBP Investigations and examinations Vendor Management Developing and implementing Practical Compliance Controls & Effective Analytics Auditing Challenges Laying a Strong Foundation for Your Compliance Management System
It’s not cost-effective to send everyone to every debt collection industry conference, but it would be more cost-effective to send management or team leaders if there was a procedure in place for those who attend to share what they learn with those who have to stay behind.
Courses & Seminars: Some industry organizations and publications offer courses and seminars, either regionally or online/self-study. Some courses are free and some are offered for a fee, which may vary depending on the number of people you send. Watch the industry news for courses that are applicable to your business and that may be offered just a few miles away from your office.
Webinars: Webinars are becoming increasingly popular. Because you can participate from the comfort and convenience of your office, because often more than one person can listen in for a single fee or for free, and because most are only an hour or less, it’s easy for several members of your staff to participate. The National List is partnering with KirkpatrickPrice in a series of free CFPB Readiness webinars. After registering and signing in, webinar materials are available for further study or sharing. For more information click here, or visit the NL Website and click on Legal Resources.
Lunch & Learn: One way to share information when one or two members of a business have attended a Conference, taken a course or participated in a webinar is to invite any staff members who will benefit from the knowledge to a Lunch & Learn. Gather everyone together over lunch, perhaps provided by the company, let the person(s) who attended give a report, and then have a discussion related to how that information can help to improve company goals.
Networking: Whether you are meeting new people or old friends at a conference, arranging for staff members to get together to talk about what they’ve learned, calling a mentor who has provided valuable information in the past, or using social media sources like LinkedIn, the more you can become acquainted with others in the industry, the bigger your support group and sources of information will become.
CE Requirements: To find out the CE requirements for licensing in your state and what the approved courses or other methods for acquiring credit, check you state’s website. For example, a wealth of information for ND is available here. When signing up for training and certification programs, do your homework and find out which ones are legitimate and truly helpful.
Industry Resources: Industry-related businesses, organizations and publications offer a wealth of free information for their members and followers. The National List prides itself in being an information provider to the industry. Check out our website at www.nationallist.com and follow our blog. ACA International is an example of a well-respected organization in the collection industry that offers a variety of learning opportunities, including their annual conference. I recently received and email from www.insideARM.com reminding me of all the resources they offer. You can see the list here.
Keeping up with change is now a major challenge in the debt collection industry. In order to stay successful and stay out of costly legal trouble, you need to do everything you can to ensure that you and your staff stay up-to-date with the latest technology and in sync with the most current rules, regulations, laws and governing bodies, both nationally and in your state. We at The National List hope you will become familiar with and use the resources we provide by visiting our website often.
By Marti Lythgoe, NL Editor