February 5, 2020 (Sacramento, CA) – Leaders from Receivables Management Association International (RMAI) honored outstanding members this week at the association’s 2020 Annual Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Bud Reitzel Award

RMAI awarded Walt Collins of Collins Asset Group, the Bud Reitzel Lifetime Commitment Award, the industry’s highest recognition.

RMAI created the Reitzel Award to recognize an individual for outstanding leadership and dedication in the receivables management industry who has demonstrated, over many years of service, the ideals that Bud so firmly believed in. This year, RMAI recognized and awarded Walt Collins for his outstanding leadership and dedication to the industry.

Walt Collins is the CEO of Collins Asset Group. Collins Financial was one of the earliest debt buyers in the debt purchasing space, starting in 1995. Words used by his colleagues to describe Walt include visionary, pioneer, generous, legendary, committed, professional, relentless and kind. Walt has consistently aligned himself as a supporter of RMAI, with a long commitment to the industry stretching over 25 years. He has worked with companies and clients in providing solutions across the receivables management space, while simultaneously supporting local and federal initiatives on behalf of the industry. Walt has been praised for his transparency and his willingness to help newcomers to the industry.

President’s Award

RMAI awarded the President’s Award to two recipients this year: Sonia Gibson, National Government Affairs, Encore Capital Group, and Franci Wayland, Senior Counsel, Government Relations and Public Policy, PRA Group, Inc.

RMAI created the President’s Award in 2017, which recognizes an individual or individuals for outstanding contributions and service to the association and membership. The award goes to someone who currently serves on a RMAI Committee and has been selected because of their contribution to committee goals and providing of innovative ideas to help further the success of the association.

In 2019, RMAI faced an unprecedented number of challenges to its businesses based on legislative initiates around the United States. For example, in New York, RMAI advocated to successfully defeat a proposal that would have eliminated consumer debt after the statute of limitations expired – impacting the portfolios of a significant number of member businesses and potentially starting a trend to be copied in other states.

Sonia and Franci worked tirelessly to defeat these efforts and improved the legislators’ general understanding of the credit ecosystem. These two women met with senators in the hallway at the 11th hour, after midnight just minutes before the session ended, negotiating on behalf of the industry as a whole. Their work, not only in New York but in other states as well, established a process that puts the industry on better footing in 2020 as the State Legislative Committee again returns to severalstate legislatures to advocate for members. This award is not only intended to recognize their efforts, but to thank them for their commitment and perseverance, benefiting all of RMAI’s member companies.

Integrity Award

RMAI awarded the integrity award this year to John H. Bedard Jr. of Bedard Law Group.

The Integrity Award recognizes individuals from an RMAI member company for demonstrated integrity in action, either professionally or personally. RMAI would like to formally award and recognize John for demonstrated integrity and contributing positively to the receivables management industry. Colleagues describe John as being positive, having integrity, insightful, informed, strategic, ethical, and yes, entertaining.

John is an AV rated attorney and nationally recognized authority on the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and the Fair Credit Reporting Act. He serves as counsel to several professional trade associations, including the Georgia Collectors Association. John is a published writer on industry topics.. John is recognized by Collection Advisor magazine as one of the nation’s top 50 most influential people in the collection industry. John consistently supports RMAI and the industry as a whole, developing one of the first FDCPA mobile applications, as well as always being on the forefront of an ethical approach to consumer related disputes.


About Receivables Management Association International

Receivables Management Association International (RMAI) is the nonprofit trade association that represents more than 550 companies that purchase or support the purchase of performing and nonperforming receivables on the secondary market. The Receivables Management Certification Program and Code of Ethics set the global standard within the receivables industry due to its rigorous uniform industry standards of best practice which focus on the protection of the consumer. RMAI provides its members with extensive networking, educational, and business development opportunities in asset classes that span numerous industries. The association continually sets the standard in the receivables management industry through its highly effective grassroots advocacy, conferences, committees, task forces, publications, webinars, teleconferences, and breaking news alerts. Founded in 1997 as the Debt Buyers Association, RMAI is headquartered in Sacramento, California.