Technology and Compliance Sessions Wrap Up ACA International’s 2019 Convention & Expo

Speakers at the final day of ACA’s annual conference discussed tech issues, regulatory concerns, communication challenges and more.

7/17/2019 8:00 AM

Technology and Compliance Sessions Wrap Up ACA International’s 2019 Convention & Expo

ACA International’s 2019 Annual Convention & Expo concluded Tuesday after two days of rigorous educational sessions covering a number of hot topics. Here are some highlights from yesterday’s sessions:

Tech Newbie? Dive In Now So You’re Ready When the CFPB’s Final Rule Comes Out

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s proposed rule for the debt collection industry outlines how collectors can use newer technologies, like email and text messaging, to contact consumers.

In a morning session, Wade Isbell, chief compliance officer for Professional Credit Service, Brian Watkins, president of Southern Oregon Credit Service Inc., Tim Haag, president of State Collection Service Inc., and David Williams, president of Williams and Fudge Inc., shared if and how their companies currently use these technologies and how they think their approach might change when the CFPB’s final rule is eventually released.

Their overarching message for accounts receivable management companies? Start gearing up to use these technologies now. Isbell noted that one of the biggest challenges when onboarding new technology is not just changing company processes, but company culture as well. You have to train staff not only how to use the new tech, but how to talk about it with consumers too. Sometimes it can be hard to change collectors’ habits. It takes time, and when the CFPB’s final rule is released you want to be ready to go to keep pace with your competitors.

The speakers suggested that companies who are new to email and text messaging start small by asking consumers if they want their receipts emailed or their payment reminders texted to them. Once you’re comfortable with those relatively non-controversial functions (and the consumer has opted in), you can gradually move on to other communications.

Do You Want Me To Call This Number? Circle Y/N

In a session covering compliance hot topics, Wendy Badger, vice president, corporate compliance for ECMC, and John Bedard, owner of Bedard Law Group P.C., dug into some essential—but challenging—issues some accounts receivable management companies continue to struggle with.

One of those is consumer consent. Not only is it crucial to obtain when you want to take certain actions—the CFPB’s proposed rule specifically speaks to electronic communication consent—but the flip side, consent revocation, is just as important.

Badger noted that your collectors should be trained on how to recognize when a consumer is verbally revoking consent. (Hot tip: the consumer will most likely not use any form of the word “revoke.”)  Both speakers stressed that companies should be tracking consumer consent and revocation. Documentation is, as always, essential.

ACA International’s 2019 Convention & Expo is over, but it’s not too early to mark your calendar for next year’s convention, which will take place July 15-17, 2020, in Chicago. You won’t want to miss it.

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