General Ideas toward Improving The DBA
Friends in the ARM industry,
As we go into the board elections for the Debt Buyers Association, I am presenting my general ideas toward improving the DBA, particularly as it involves small debt buyers.
One major change I believe we need are membership levels based on debt purchasing (or some combination of the two) and asset classes. Active buyers are what drive the debt sales market, and those who are currently involved with debt purchasing should have the significant voice, not necessarily one based on company size or collections. Currently, most board members are both buyers and third-party collection agencies, and I believe the collections practices concerns have overridden issues which are more concerned with the debt purchasing side.
Transitioning membership to a certification-based standard rather than a buying standard could be generally detrimental to the DBA membership. One of several compromises could probably be reached, but the association is for Debt Buyers – removing membership standards based on debt purchasing negates the entire meaning behind and purpose of our organization.
Another major change I think should be implemented – particularly before we get too far into the certification program (which I support on principle), is a removal of any level of certification on the individual level and only certify debt buying companies. Individual certification can lead to individual liability, and generally become expensive; companies should generally bear the weight and liability. Also, individual certification is weighted more towards collections, not debt buying.
Debt buyer standards should be mainly concerned with information security and quantifiable data, not with collections practices. Other organizations are the proper channel for training; debt buyers are just as likely – if not moreso – to be smaller shops which purchase and place debt without having much in the way of internal collections.
Finally, I believe that we should generally raise the price of membership, and allow the price increase to be the funding for any certification training. Also, certification training should be based around information security and general collections guidelines, with maximum web-based training.
Many of the changes we have seen in the past few years, I believe, have come from some genuine concerns in the collections market. I DO support a form of certification; however, the Debt Buyers Association needs to be careful to focus on the needs of debt buyers as separate from debt collectors, and understand that small debt buyers may be harmed (and may drop out of the DBA altogether, limiting its oversight) should we continue down the path of cooperation with a federal government generally adverse to our goals.
Jeffery A. Hartman