The Receivables Management Industry’s Commitment to Fair and Balanced Legislation and Regulation: A State Legislative Year-End Recap

The transition of power in the White House prompted a record level of state consumer-protection bills. The advocacy strategy of Receivables Management Association International (RMA) included lobbying efforts, closely working with members, introducing pro-active bills, and meeting with lawmakers. Here’s a glimpse of what we achieved in 2017.

Oregon became the first state in the nation to adopt a stand-alone licensure requirement for debt buyers. At the request of RMA, the Oregon Division of Consumer and Business Services (DCBS) issued written guidance on the difference between a “debt buyer” and “debt collector”, extended a safe harbor notice on enforcement actions for companies who submitted an application by the deadline, and reduced the annual license fee.

Colorado updated its state FDCPA. Due to RMA’s efforts, the revised FDCPA is friendlier to receivables management companies, as it removed bonding requirements for debt buyers and specified data and documents required to collect and litigate on debt.

In Maine, a debt buyer bill was significantly modified after intensive lobbying by RMA to remove a number of harmful provisions from the bill, as well as aligning the bill’s requirements with the RMA Certification Program. As a result, RMA does not expect this law to result in any major compliance concerns for RMA Certified debt buying companies.

A pro-active bill was introduced in Massachusetts to require passive debt buyers to be licensed as debt collectors, exempt debt buying companies from bonding requirements, and allow affiliated companies to be licensed under a single license. RMA submitted a memo of support for this bill, which is likely to be adopted in 2018. Passage of this legislation may put an end to the ongoing class action lawsuits against passive debt buyers.

RMA was also active in Texas, where a bill was introduced that would expunge debt after the statute of limitation had run. RMA closely worked with a member who testified against the bill, and the bill was ultimately defeated.

RMA is proud of its advocacy efforts in 2017, and recognizes that it is unlikely for 2018 to be any easier: with a new business-friendly director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau we anticipate more pre-emptive legislation from both blue and red states. Please consider a contribution to RMA’s Legislative Fund so we may continue the crucial work of advocating for fair and balanced legislation and regulations.