RMA Update February 2018

/RMA Update February 2018

2018 After-Conference Buzz

February 6-8, 2018 was one of RMA’s most successful conferences yet. With over 1,100 attendees, we focused on providing a variety of networking opportunities, specialized meeting spaces, and an education lineup of relevant and engaging topics. See our press release for more details on the popular events and education.

Thank you to our sponsors, exhibitors, speakers, volunteers, and attendees who came together to make this a one-of-a-kind ARM-industry experience!

If you attended the conference, check your inbox for our survey. Your feedback helps us improve your conference experience.

Directors Elected to Lead

The election was finalized at the Annual Conference, wherein members selected their 2018 Directors and Officers. Of the ten-member Board, nine are continuing service from the previous year (some in new roles) and one is serving his first term. Mark Naiman, President and CEO of Absolute Resolutions Corp. in San Diego, California, will serve another year as Board President. Read our press release for more information.

RMA Honors Outstanding Members

Irwin Kirschenbaum, owner of Kirschenbaum & Phillips, P.C., received the Bud Reitzel Lifetime Commitment Award for his dedication to the receivables management industry. Mark Naiman, President of RMA, presented Kirschenbaum with the award on Wednesday, February 7 at the opening conference address.

Michael Lagana, Vice President of Maryland Portfolios, received the President’s Award for his engagement at both the state and federal level and for his overall championship of RMA.

Read this press release for details on each award and their meaning.

The Federal Legislative and Regulatory Committee has started 2018 with a bang.  Upon invitation, the committee submitted a package to the US  Treasury to provide industry information for their upcoming report required by the Executive Order.

We were pleased to have the OCC and the FTC lead sessions at the RMA Annual Conference and have three representatives from the CFPB in attendance.

Looking ahead, the committee will be submitting comments on the CFPB Request for Information (RFIs) on CIDs and will evaluate other RFIs as they are released.

RMA is currently tracking more than 180 bills at the state level that impact the receivables industry in both positive and negative ways. Here are a few noteworthy bills that have had recent activity:

District of Columbia Bill 71 – This bill would amend the District of Columbia’s Debt Collect Law to: (1) expand the definition of debt collector to include debt buyers; (2) require specific data and documents concerning the debt to be in the possession of the debt collector; (3) limit the frequency of consumer contact using a reasonableness standard; (4) require pre-charge-off itemization of interest and fees; (5) prohibit bringing suit when the debt is beyond the statute of limitations and reviving the statute through payment; and (6) remove “willful” from intent for purposes of determining if a violation occurred. In addition, the following provisions in the bill would only apply to debt buyers: (1) expunges the debt after the statute of limitations expires; (2) requires 11 months of account statements; (3) requires a consumer notice detailing the consumer’s right to obtain copies of all the data and documents required by the act; (4) requires a copy of any payment schedule or settlement agreement to be provided to the consumer within 15 days; (5) when bringing suit, requires all of the data and documents to be attached to the complaint; (6) requires authenticated business records; (7) makes debt buyers liable for actual damages, attorney’s fees, punitive damages, and an “additional penalty” of between $500 and $4,000 per violation of the act (including for minor clerical errors); and (8) indicates that any violation of the act by a debt buyer is an automatic ban on future collection activity on the account by anyone. [A public hearing on the bill is anticipated to take place in February or March 2018 at which time RMA members will be encouraged to testify in opposition. More information will be forthcoming.]

Maryland HB 1642 (SB 1012) – This bill would license “student loan servicers” in Maryland. The concern for the collection industry is how the bill defines student loan servicer to include “a person conducting debt collection activities in the state.” RMA believes the intention was for the bill to apply to student loan debt collection and not any type of debt collection. Additionally, since debt collectors are already licensed in Maryland, RMA believes there should be an exemption placed in the bill for those licensees so as to prevent debt collectors that might collect on student loans from having to maintain two licenses. [RMA will testify on the bill in committee and has issued a memo of opposition on the bill based on RMA’s concerns.]

Massachusetts HB 1982 – This bill would require passive debt buyers to be licensed as debt collectors in Massachusetts. Currently, third party collection agencies and active debt buyers are regulated and licensed by the Massachusetts Division of Banks while passive debt buyers are regulated by the Attorney General’s Office and not required to be licensed. This bill would also exempt debt buying companies from bonding requirements and allow affiliated companies to be licensed under a single license and subject to a single examination [RMA has been advocating for uniformity and consistency in state licensing laws. Maintaining the Massachusetts bifurcated regulatory scheme does not make sense and adds to industry and consumer confusion. RMA has retained a Massachusetts lobbyist to assist us in our efforts. RMA testified in support of this bill at a legislative hearing in Boston on September 26th. There was no opposition to the bill. The bill was unanimously reported out of committee with the recommendation to pass on 2/7/18.]

Massachusetts SB 120 – This bill among other things would: (1) reduce the statute of limitations in an action for the collection of a consumer debt from six to four years to be measured from the earlier of the date of charge-off, placement for collection, or 180 days after the last regular payment; (2) prohibit payments made prior to the limitations period expiring from tolling the statute; (3) prohibit any attempt to collect a consumer debt once the statute of limitations has expired but would allow a debt collector to accept an unsolicited voluntary consumer payment on a debt; (4) extinguish judgments after five years unless the creditor takes action to enforce the judgment; and (5) reduce the percentage that is subject to wage garnishment. [RMA lobbyist has been retained to oppose the bill in its current form. RMA testified in opposition of this bill at a legislative hearing in Boston on September 25th. The bill was reported out of committee to the Ways & Means Committee on 12/18/17.]

Vermont HB 482 (text not yet available on VT legislative website) – This bill is being amended in committee to, among other things: (1) prohibit debt collectors from contacting consumers after the statute of limitations expires on any asset class; (2) reduce the statute of limitations from six to three years on credit card debts; (3) adopt some fairly basic prohibited debt collection practices; and (4) establish a new civil penalty of $500.00 for a first violation and $1,000.00 for each subsequent violation. [RMA will testify in opposition to the bill and is exploring the retention of a Vermont lobbying firm.]

Vermont HB 596 – This bill would make it an unfair and deceptive act to attempt to collect a consumer debt that is six years or longer from: (1) the date the consumer defaults on the debt; (2) the date the consumer through a writing signed by the consumer acknowledges that he or she is obligated to pay the debt in part or in full; or (3) the date the consumer last makes a payment on the debt. [RMA will testify in opposition to the bill and is exploring the retention of a Vermont lobbying firm.]

If you are interested in obtaining a copy of the RMA state tracking list, please contact David Reid at dreid@rmassociation.org.

7th Cir. Holds Debt Collector Violated FDCPA Despite Using Miller Safe Harbor Language

Boucher v. Finance System of Green Bay, Inc., Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, No. 17-2308 (Jan. 17, 2018)

The use of the Miller “safe harbor” language does not immunize a debt collector from Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) liability when the use of the safe harbor language itself renders the communication deceptive, according to a recent decision from the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. The safe harbor language was created by the Seventh Circuit in its 2000 decision Miller v. McCalla, Raymar, Padrick, Cobb, Nichols, & Clark, LLC and reads:

“As of the date of this letter, you owe $[a stated amount].  Because of interest, late charges, and other charges that may vary from day to day, the amount due on the day you pay may be greater.  Hence, if you pay the amount shown above, an adjustment may be necessary after we receive your check.  For further information, write to the above address or call [phone number].”

The safe harbor language was proposed by the court to allow debt collectors to comply with the FDCPA when sending a letter where interest, fees or other charges were accruing. In Boucher a collection agency sent a letter using the Miller safe harbor language to collect upon an account which the plaintiff alleged, could not charge “late charges, and other charges.” The trial court dismissed the action on the basis that even if these other charges could not be lawfully imposed, the reference to them in the safe harbor language was not materially misleading.

The Seventh Circuit reversed ruling that “an unsophisticated consumer understands that these additional charges could further increase the amount of debt owed, thus potentially making it ‘more costly’ for the consumer to hold off on payment.”  Thus, “it is plausible that the fear of ‘late charges and other charges’ might influence these consumers’ choices,” and therefore the statement is material.

A copy of the decision is available here.

Defendant Liquidating Itself to Avoid Paying Class Action Settlement is Not Contemptuous

Gascho v. Global Fitness Holdings, LLC, Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, Nos. 17-3577, et al (Nov. 15, 2017)

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals recently concluded that distributing all a company’s cash to its owners after a class action settlement was reached but before the court’s order to pay became final, thus leaving the company without the ability to pay class counsel’s fees or administration costs as required under the settlement agreement, did not constitute contempt.

The trial court had originally determined that the distribution of the money constituted contempt because the defendant had knowingly violated the court’s order to pay class counsel’s fees. The Sixth Circuit, however, concluded that a finding of contempt is limited to the violation of a definite and specific court order.  Although the court order was specific, it was not definite because it was conditioned on the settlement agreement being affirmed by the highest court from which any party sought review.

Accordingly, the Sixth Circuit reversed the trial court’s ruling.

A copy of the opinion is available here.

Need re-certification credits? Working toward becoming a Certified Receivables Compliance Professional (CRCP)? Want the latest information in the Chief Compliance Officer world? RMA has all this and more with live monthly and pre-recorded webinars.

UPCOMING WEBINAR

Insider Perspectives on Effective Strategies for Buying and Analyzing Healthcare Debt
Wednesday, March 21, 2018

RECORDED WEBINARS:
Did you miss a live webinar? All recorded monthly webinars are FREE to our members. Special series and select required courses for certification are paid at member rate.

CURRENT ISSUES IN DEBT BUYING (RE-CERTIFICATION ONLY):
In addition to the two (2) hour education session at the Annual Conference and Executive Summit, RMA has identified the following recorded webinars which qualify for one (1) credit out of the four (4) credits of Current Issues in Debt Buying required for re-certification. Click to register.

Members who attended the 2018 Annual Conference in Las Vegas, NV had the opportunity to earn up to 14 credits towards RMA’s Certified Receivables Compliance Professional designation. The education credit certificate for the 2018 Annual Conference is available here. To learn more about how to obtain continuing credits for certification, be sure to check out the certification tab on our website.

View all certified companies and certified individuals on our website.

For help with certification,  contact Michelle Wren at (916) 482-2462 or mwren@rmassociation.org.

YOUR MEMBERSHIP INVESTMENT AT WORK

Certified Debt Buyers Leads Distribution ProgramGet Matched with Originating Creditors

RMA receives regular inquiries by originating creditors seeking remedies to non-performing accounts. Our Leads Distribution Program matches Certified debt buyers to originating creditors on asset class, geography, volume, and other parameters.

If you are a certified debt buyer and have not filled out our leads distribution form to be matched with originating creditors, contact Jason Litchney at jlitchney@rmassociation.org or (916) 482-2462 for more information or to sign up to receive leads.

Serve on a committee in 2018!

RMA seeks volunteers each year immediately following the Annual Conference in February. Consider strengthening your network and volunteer on an RMA committee! There are myriad opportunities to match your skills and interest, and leverage your network for the betterment of the industry and association. Check out our Committee Involvement page for more information or contact Barbara Souza at (916) 482-2462 or  bsouza@rmassociation.org

Online member directory
Locate business contacts and foster strong relationships on our member search page.

Communication and education
Timely information via Member Alerts, this mid-month RMA Update newsletter, live conferences, live and recorded webinars, the bi-annual print RMA magazine and, of course, the team of knowledgeable and service-oriented RMA staff.

FREE webinars!
Live and recorded monthly training. Need extra Certification credit? Take advantage of the free training.

Representation
RMA knows the layout of the legislative battlefield, responds proactively on legislative bills and retains top tier lobbying firms when needed to protect the industry and promote fair and balanced legislation.

RMA works to open new markets and promote the industry at various conferences and events—look for us at these events:

RMA Job Board

job board

The first five job posters receive 2 months free!

Looking for candidates in receivables management? Reach 1,000+ industry participants when you list a job on RMA’s Job Board.

Jobs are promoted in the monthly RMA Update, on social media, and in other publications.

$99 for 30 days (members)

$149 for 30 days (non-members)

Contact Jason Litchney for more information
jlitchney@rmassociation.org • (916) 482-2462
rmassociation.org/jobs

Contribute Now
Contribute Now

Thank you 2017-2018 Legislative Fund contributors. Your support allows us to influence threatening legislation, while also promoting and preserving the best interests of our members. Make your contribution today!

Titanium ($15,000)
Certified Debt Buyer
Cavalry Investments, LLC

Platinum ($10,000)
Certified Debt Buyer
Encore Capital Group

Associate Collection Agency
Financial Recovery Services, Inc.

Gold ($7,500)
Certified Debt Buyer
Unifund CCR LLC

Silver ($5,000)
Certified Debt Buyer
CKS Financial
Crown Asset Management, LLC
JH Capital Group
Plaza Services, LLC
Velocity Portfolio Group

Associate Debt Buyer
U.S. Equities Corp.

Associate Collection Agency
Credit Control, LLC

Affiliate
Digital Recognition Network
National Loan Exchange NLEX

Bronze ($2,500)
Certified Debt Buyer
Absolute Resolutions Corp.
Capital Alliance Financial, LLC
Cornerstone Support
First Financial Asset Management, Inc. FFAM360
Galaxy Asset Management, LLC
Integras Capital Recovery LLC
RAzOR Capital
Security Credit Services, LLC

Associate Collection Agency
Glass Mountain Capital, LLC

Associate Law Firm
Maurice Wutscher LLP

Affiliate
EZ Messenger

Brass ($1,000)

Certified Debt Buyer

Collins Asset Group
First Financial Asset Management, Inc. FFAM360
Jormandy, LLC
Mjollnir Group
National Recovery Solutions, LLC
Resurgence Capital, LLC
The Bureaus, Inc.
The Cadle Company

Certified Collection Agency
Stoneleigh Recovery Associates
Halsted Financial Services, LLC

Certified Law Firm
Peroutka, Miller, Klima & Peters, P.A.

Associate Debt Buyer
Balbec Capital
International Debt Buying Consultants, LLC dba Portfolio Management Group
Western States Financial Management, LLC

Associate Law Firm
Andreu, Palma, Lavin & Solis, PLLC
Bedard Law Group, P.C.
Mullooly, Jeffrey, Rooney & Flynn, LLP
Simmonds & Narita, LLP
The Law Offices of Ronald S. Canter, LLC
Tobin & Marohn
Vargo & Janson, P.C.

Affiliate
CMS Services
Full Circle Financial Services, LLC
Resource Management Services, Inc.
VeriFacts, Inc.

Individual / Non-members
Century Support Services, LLC
Dara Tarkowski

Other
Certified Debt Buyer
Acctcorp International, Inc.
Atlantic Credit & Finance, Inc.
Autovest, LLC
Cascade Capital, LLC
Converging Capital, LLC.
Credit Management Corporation
Gemini Capital Group, LLC
HS Financial Group, LLC
Icon Equities, LLC
Indiana Receivables, Inc.
Investment Retrievers, Inc.
Jefferson Capital Systems
NCB Management Services, Inc.
Poser Investments, Inc.
Quantum3 Group, LLC
Troy Capital, LLC
USI Solutions, Inc.
West Bay Recovery, Inc.

Certified Broker
DebtTrader.com

Certified Collection Agency
Frontline Asset Strategies, LLC

Certified Law Firm
Dobberstein Law Firm, LLC
G. Reynolds Sims & Associates, P.C.
Law Offices of Steven Cohen, LLC
Lawgix Lawyers, LLC

Associate Debt Buyer
ABC Collections LLC
Allen & Durrant Corp.
Alliance Credit Services, Inc.
Atlas Acquisitions
Convergence Acquisitions LLC
Emergent Business Group, Inc.
Fair Collections & Outsourcing, Inc.
Genesis Recovery Services
National Check Resolution, Inc.
PerSolve, LLC
Pharus Funding, LLC
Phoenix Asset Group, LLC
RIP Medical Debt
US Asset Management

Associate Collection Agency
A-1 Collection Service
Adams London & Weiss, LLC
Alpha Recovery Corp.
Apple Recovery, LLC
Capital Collection Management, LLC
Crisis Consulting and Marketing
DRS Processing, LLC
FMS, Inc.
Lockhart, Morris & Montgomery, Inc.
Midwest Recovery Systems, LLC
Nationwide Credit & Collection, Inc.
SIMM Associates, Inc.
Superlative RM
TCF & Associates
Universal Fidelity

Associate Law Firm
Butler & Associates, P.A.
Delev & Associates, LLC
Faloni & Associates, LLC
Harrington, Anderson & DeBlasio
Hinshaw & Culbertson
Hudson Cook, LLP
Hunt & Henriques
Kirschenbaum & Phillips, P.C.
Law Offices of Daniel C. Consuegra, P.L.
Malone Akerly Martin PLLC
Pressler and Pressler, LLP
Rausch, Sturm, Israel, Enerson & Hornik, LLC
Schachter Portnoy, LLC, Attorneys at Law
Venable, LLP
Winn Law Group, APC

Affiliate
Accelerated Data Systems
Acumen Solutions Group
ComplyARM, Inc.
Comtronic Systems, LLC
Convoke, Inc.
Court Appearance Professionals
Debt Sales Partners
Diversified Consultants, Inc.
FLOCK Specialty Finance
Harvest Strategy Group, Inc.
Metronome Financial, LLC
MicroBilt Corporation
MRS BPO, LLC
PCI Group Inc.
SAM, Inc. - Solutions for Account Management
TransUnion
Vertican Technologies, Inc.
Y2Payment Systems, Inc.

Individual(s) / Non-member(s)
Central Portfolio Control, Inc.
Dan Crowley
David Reid
Greenberg Advisors
Jan Stieger
Mike Colby

2018-03-27T12:14:59+00:00 February 13, 2018|RMA Update|