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Accurate debt collection recordkeeping comes into question

Nov 09, 2013 Philip Burgess

One of the most critical aspects of debt collection operations is the management of all records, files and data related to debtors' accounts. When an agency cannot provide the demanded amount of specific and accurate information pertaining to the original creation of the debt or how it has shifted around since, it runs the risk of losing the account or coming under scrutiny from law enforcement officials and legislators.

The Washington Post recently reported that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has proposed a new set of rules that would adjust the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act in efforts to improve the legal structures presiding over the industry. This is the latest move in a busy several months for the CFPB, which along with the Federal Trade Commission and several other entities has worked to dramatically refine the laws governing debt collection agencies.

According to the news provider, this latest proposal is specifically targeted at the ways in which debt collectors govern their own information about debtors' accounts, and the amount of data consumers should be given during the first interaction with the agency. Like many other recent moves in Washington related to collections, this bill has been somewhat supported by advocacy groups within the sector.

"Modernization can't hinder the economic survival of public and private sector organizations, nor can it relinquish the personal responsibility of America's consumers to pay what they rightfully owe," Chief Executive of the Association of Credit and Collection Professionals Pat Morris told the source.

As the rules pertaining to debt collection practices continue to shift, agencies should ensure that their employees understand new and long-standing legislation. Training and communication between employees and leaders can help to ensure the agency does not take the wrong approach to collections.