News & Resources

Debt collectors benefit economy

Mar 26, 2012 Mike Garretson

A new study commissioned by Ernst & Young using 2010 data found that the actions of debt recovery services have a positive effect on the national, state and local economies of the United States. The study reported that in 2010, debt collectors recovered around $55 billion for their clients, which in turn benefited American families. Collections made by recovery agencies represented $396 dollars in savings on average per household, because by giving money back to client companies, the prices of goods and services were lowered. The states with the highest amount of debt recovered were Texas, New York, California, Florida and Illinois. Additionally, the report found that late healthcare payments were the most recovered form of debt, totalling more than half of all money repaid to businesses by debt collectors in 2010. Credit card and financial debt accounted for 20 percent of recoveries. Unemployment has skyrocketed since the advent of the United States recession. Yet the report found that debt collection agencies have had a hand in reversing the problem, employing nearly 150,000 on a payroll of $5 billion, and indirectly influencing the creation of over 300,000 positions. Taxes paid by debt collectors are a large boon to the U.S. economy, the survey detailed, with a total of $495 million being paid to the federal government and $509 million put toward state and local taxes. On a state government level, debt collectors have particularly revamped the economy of Texas, the Kingwood Observer claims. Citing the Ernst & Young survey, the source backed their point by indicating that collectors recovered $5.3 billion for Texas businesses and employed nearly 19,000 Texans, though they had a hand in indirectly creating almost 42,000 new jobs. ACA of Texas president Bruce Cummings told the Kingwood Observer that "third-party collectors are actively engaged in Texas communities as employers, volunteers, philanthropists and taxpayers." The Ernst & Young survey explained that debt collection agencies are often involved in their communities. In 2010, agencies and their employees gave $85.2 million to charity and volunteered 652,000 hours of their time for community projects. The Birmingham News notes that repayment of any type of loan to businesses is a catalyst to a prosperous American economy. They detailed the effects of not paying off a debt, saying that when businesses are not paid, they inherently lose money, which prompts the need to raise costs and lower available credit. The situation, the source reported, then snowballs into higher taxes and a raised rate of failed businesses.