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Inside the latest debt collection discussions in Washington

Jan 07, 2014 Philip Burgess

The debt collection industry has come under scrutiny from several federal and state regulators in recent years, while officials continue to work to develop more modernized compliance requirements given the advancement of technology. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has been the point guard for many of these activities, and recently participated at the Consumer Federation of America's (CFA) annual conference.

InsideARM recently explained some of the more important discussion points that surfaced during the CFA's 2013 Financial Services Conference, including how certain CFPB leaders are beginning to approach critical aspects of the debt collection industry. According to the news provider, one official, Tom Pahl, who is the managing counsel for regulations of the bureau, stated that neither he nor his colleagues view the industry as in crisis.

He did, however, state that the sector is in need of refinement and modernization. The source explained that Pahl was also actively engaged in discussions about information governance in both the collection and financial services industries, and that more progressive methodologies need to surface soon to protect privacy and ensure integrity among these firms.

This has been a major topic in recent months, as data indicates debt collectors will sometimes lose sight of proper records management practices, and will in turn compromise their credibility with debtors.

InsideARM added that the CFPB seems to be most interested in strengthening enforcement measures to eradicate shoddy, fraudulent or illegal collection practices.

Collection agencies can reduce their risk of fines, sanctions and lost face by following the guidelines of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, and regularly evaluating internal policies to ensure they reflect new regulatory compliance statutes. Between employee training and a commitment to exceptional customer service, collectors can begin to improve the image of their industry.