Steps to Becoming More Compliant

100x100_stairsThe whistle has been blown with one second left and all are anxious to see and hear what the call will be by the new collection industry referee.  Will our current practices and procedures count and the blown whistle send us to the line with the opportunity to win the game or, is the call going to be unfavorable and the game we have become accustomed to winning is now over. Waiting to see what the result will be from our new CFPB referee seems to be what we are doing a lot of in the collection industry, but we can do more than just wait.

We do know that we can alleviate a lot of the anxiety when the CFPB ref is analyzing our people and procedures through its slow motion camera, if we have taught, tracked, and instilled the legal fundamentals of our industry in our organization.  Monitoring and tracking our practices and people now can help us significantly to ultimately winning the game of collections now and in the future.

Preparing our people and organizations as best as we can, will help to show the CFPB camera lens the correct and desired angle, so the right calls are made when they are analyzing our organizations.  There is high need for us to assess what we currently do, make sure we have everything in place to ensure legality, and then track the process with some sort of Compliance Management System (CMS).  Our inability to both train our people, and track our processes, increases the likelihood of losing the game by having our new ref make calls unfavorably.

The solution is to put a system in place that internally audits your current practices so that when the whistle is blown and the game is on the line you are ready.

Most of us have in place a mechanism of some sort to deliver the required training to our people.  As laws change and new procedures are enforced it is important to constantly update what we teach to our associates.  Instill right after an individual is hired that training is never done and, have different mediums to provide the needed training for both new employees and those that are more seasoned. A repeated issue that has been noted is the lack of individual tracking of the training that is provided.  It is very important to stay ahead of the legal game by tracking all training that occurs for your people.  This training should include everything from the laws that govern your paper and states you collect in, to the appropriate steps and skills necessary to be effective on the phone, so that no conversation can be taken as abuse.  Verbal affirmation that training has taken place is no longer sufficient.  Monitor and track your training to affirm that the right things are being taught and recorded on a collector by collector basis.

While monitoring your people is important it is only half of the equation.  We also must have a way to assure we are doing everything we can to keep the accounts that flow through our system safe as well as legal.  Monitoring accounts to see if they are bankrupt, deceased, or cell phones, can help to not only not spend dollars working accounts unnecessarily but, it can also help to maintain your organizations compliance.  The more tools you have in place to maintain compliance the more the law has the ability to get on your side.  Monitoring your accounts can save you money in not working accounts that are not able to pay as well as helping to mitigate the risk of lawsuit.

In the ACA’s Fastfax #1156 it concludes after giving several examples of court cases that “…collectors should have policies and procedures in place to avoid collecting a consumer debt that has been included in or discharged by a bankruptcy proceeding.  These procedures should be documented and reasonably adopted in order to avoid a potential FDCPA violation; as such procedures may be an invaluable piece of evidence if an error does  occur.”

Our ability to audit our people, processes, and accounts helps us to eliminate risk, improve profitability in the long run, and find the law on our side more often than not.

As an industry, it is time to confirm within our own entity’s that we are ready to play in the new game of collections, so that when the whistle blows we are ready and confident in our people, processes, and procedures.

If you would like to see what Monitoring your accounts and a Compliance Management System (CMS) can do for you, feel free to contact The Intelitech Group at 360-260-9780 or email us at consult@intelitechgroup.com

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