State Legislative Activity

RMA is currently tracking more than 165 bills at the state level that impact the receivables industry in both positive and negative ways. Here are a few noteworthy bills that have had recent activity:

Massachusetts HB 1982 – This bill would require passive debt buyers to be licensed as debt collectors in Massachusetts. Currently, third party collection agencies and active debt buyers are regulated and licensed by the Massachusetts Division of Banks while passive debt buyers are regulated by the Attorney General’s Office and not required to be licensed. This bill would also exempt debt buying companies from bonding requirements and allow affiliated companies to be licensed under a single license and subject to a single examination [RMA has been advocating for uniformity and consistency in state licensing laws. Maintaining the Massachusetts bifurcated regulatory scheme does not make sense and adds to industry and consumer confusion. RMA has retained a Massachusetts lobbyist to assist us in our efforts. RMA testified in support of this bill at a legislative hearing in Boston on September 26th. There was no opposition to the bill.]

Massachusetts SB 120 – This bill among other things would: (1) reduce the statute of limitations in an action for the collection of a consumer debt from six to four years to be measured from the earlier of the date of charge-off, placement for collection, or 180 days after the last regular payment; (2) prohibit payments made prior to the limitations period expiring from tolling the statute; (3) prohibit any attempt to collect a consumer debt once the statute of limitations has expired but would allow a debt collector to accept an unsolicited voluntary consumer payment on a debt; (4) extinguish judgments after five years unless the creditor takes action to enforce the judgment; and (5) reduce the percentage that is subject to wage garnishment. [RMA lobbyist has been retained to oppose the bill in its current form.]

Oregon Rulemaking – RMA has participated in three meetings of a rulemaking task force on a recently adopted Oregon statute that would require the licensure of debt buyers. To date, RMA has been successful in advocating for reasonable program fees, safe harbor protections for early applicants, and clarity regarding in what instances a company must maintain both a debt buyer and collection agency license. Oregon has been accepting debt buyer license applications since November 1, 2017. All debt buyers holding accounts of Oregon consumers will require a license as of January 1, 2018. For additional information, please see RMA’s November 3, 2017 and November 7, 2017 member alerts.

If you are interested in obtaining a copy of the RMA state tracking list, please contact David Reid at dreid@rmaintl.org.

Court Decisions

FDCPA Limitations Period Commences on Receipt of Letter, Not Sending
Gil v. Allied Interstate, United States District Court, Eastern District of New York, No. 2:17-cv-3362 (ADS)(AYS) (Nov. 3, 2017)

A New York federal court denied a debt collector’s motion to dismiss a federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) complaint because the Defendant could not demonstrate when the plaintiff received the offending letter. In so ruling the court also rejected the Defendant’s argument that the FDCPA limitations period commences when a debt collector sends the offending letter.

The Defendant argued that the court should follow the rule that a letter is deemed to have been received three days after it is mailed. But to take advantage of the presumption the Defendant was required to demonstrate that “the person who mailed the document followed regular office practice and procedure or has actual knowledge of having mailed the document.”  The court refused to follow the rule here because the Defendant did not provide any proof on either point. Because the Defendant did not provide such evidence and because the Plaintiff did not state in her complaint when she received the letter, the court could not determine, as a matter of law, that the Plaintiff’s complaint was barred.

A copy of the opinion in is available at:  Gil v. Allied Interstate.

No FDCPA Violation When Using a Creditor’s Commonly Used Trade Name, instead of its Exact Business Name Holds 11th Cir.
Leonard v. Zwicker & Associates, PC, Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, No. 17-10174 (Nov. 1, 2017)

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit recently held that a debt collector did not violate FDCPA sections 1692g or 1692e when it identified the creditor as “American Express” instead of the full name of the creditor. Plaintiff alleged that the debt collector’s letter violated the FDCPA because the proper name of the creditor was either “American Express Centurion Bank,” the owner and servicer of the account or “American Express Receivable Financing Corporation III LLC,” which owned the account receivables.

Although the FDCPA requires a debt collector to identify the “name of the creditor” in a notice provided to a consumer under section 1692g, the Court found that nothing in the Act requires the use of the creditors “full business name” or its “name of incorporation.” Imposing such a requirement, the Court added, “would elevate form over substance.” Further, such a requirement “would not always result in greater clarity to a naïve consumer, who may be more familiar with a commonly used trade name . . .”

Finally, the Court found support for its holding in guidance issued by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) concerning section 1692e(14) which prohibits a debt collector from using any name other than the “true name of the debt collector’s business, company or organization.” The FTC guidance provides that a debt collector complies with section 1692e(14) when it “use[s] its full business name, the name under which it usually transacts business, or a commonly-used acronym.”

Likewise, the use of “American Express” as opposed to the full name of the creditor, was not false or misleading under 1692e because a naïve consumer, not familiar with the corporate structure of the creditor, “would be no more confused as to the identity of the creditor” by the commonly used name.

A copy of the opinion is available at:  Leonard v. Zwicker & Associates, PC.

Asset Acceptance Consent Decree Language Does Not Shield Debt Collector When Collecting “Time-Barred” Debt Holds Illinois Federal Court
Richardson v. LVNV Funding, LLC, United States District Court, Northern District of Illinois, No. 16-9600 (Oct. 31, 2017)

In 2012 the Federal Trade Commission and Asset Acceptance, LLC entered into a consent decree which provided that when collecting “time-barred” debt not subject to credit reporting, Asset would provide the consumer with the following disclosure:

The law limits how long you can be sued on a debt. Because of the age of your debt, we will not sue you for it, and we will not report it to any credit reporting agency.

In 2016, a debt collector used substantially the same disclosure in a letter to the Plaintiff. The Plaintiff’s complaint alleged that the disclosure itself is misleading because it gives the impression that the debt collector chose not to sue him instead of stating that it was barred from filing a lawsuit. The court held that a debt collector’s use of the disclosure has “the potential to mislead the unsophisticated consumer” into believing that the debt was “legally enforceable.”

Whether or not the use of the disclosure is an FDCPA violation remains to be determined, but the Plaintiff is permitted to move forward with his case.

A copy of the opinion in is available at:  Richardson v. LVNV Funding, LLC.

Education

Need re-certification credits? Working toward becoming a Certified Receivables Compliance Professional (CRCP)? Want the latest information in the Chief Compliance Officer world? RMA has all this and more with live and pre-recorded webinars and in-person education at the 2018 Annual Conference in Las Vegas.

UPCOMING WEBINARS

RECORDED WEBINARS: Did you miss a live webinar? All recorded monthly webinars are FREE to our members. Special series and select required courses for certification are paid at member rate.

CURRENT ISSUES IN DEBT BUYING (RE-CERTIFICATION ONLY): In addition to the two (2) hour education session at the Annual Conference and Executive Summit, RMA has identified the following recorded webinars which qualify for one (1) credit out of the four (4) credits of Current Issues in Debt Buying required for re-certification. Click to register.

Certification

Congratulations to our new and renewed companies and individuals!

Renewed Companies

Absolute Resolutions Corporation
Autovest, LLC
Encore Capital Group
Frontline Asset Strategies
JH Capital Group
Troy Capital, LLC

New Individuals

Virginia Martinez, President, Your Choice Logistics
Saprina Allen
Michael Johnson
Lisa Parker

Renewed Individuals

Celeste Anderson, Director Debt Management, Verification Services, Equifax, Inc.
Thomas Balcerzak, President, American Alliance of Creditor Attorneys
Michael Boyle, Managing Partner/ Chief Compliance Officer, C&E Acquisition Group, LLC
David Cotter, Chief Compliance Officer, Absolute Resolutions Corp.
Anthony D’Elia, President, Acumen Solutions Group
Joseph Fejes, Chief Compliance Officer, Jefferson Capital Systems, LLC
David Hameroff, President/CCO/CEO, Hameroff Law Group, P.C.
Brett Soldevila, Chief Compliance Officer, Security Credits Services, LLC
Tina Suppa, Director of Compliance, CKS Financial
Rance Willey, CEO/CCO, Troy Capital, LLC

View all certified companies and certified individuals on our website.

For help with certification,  contact Michelle Wren at (916) 482-2462 or mwren@rmaintl.org.

New Members

Welcome new RMA members!
The RMA membership continues to grow. Welcome to our newest members:

Scott Carruthers – California – Associate Debt Buyer
ExpertSource Global Services Private Ltd. – Mumbai, India – Associate Collection Agency

Read more about these members and other members on the Member Search page

Membership Renewals … December 31, 2017 is the deadline to renew!

  • Does your AP department know that DBA is now RMA, the Receivables Management Association?
    If not, let them know we can send a new W-9 for your 2018 renewal to be paid.
  • Has your company moved in 2017?
    If so, please contact bsouza@rmaintl.org with your new mail address.
  • Do you work remotely and haven’t seen your renewal?
    Chances are your renewal invoice was mailed to the corporate office.
  • The renewal deadline
    December 31, 2017 is the deadline … avoid a $100 late fee!

Board of Directors

Become a leader in your industry by becoming a member of RMA’s Board of Directors. The Board comprises 10 members—five officers and five directors—who are responsible for managing the affairs of the association. The number of open seats varies each year and will be determined during the first week of November. The deadline for members to declare their candidacy is December 8, 2017. For more information,
visit our website.

Annual Conference

Miss out on the silent auction at the Executive Summit? You can join in the fun at the 21st Annual Conference! You can donate to the silent auction even if you’re not attending the conference. All proceeds benefit RMA’s Legislative Fund, which finances advocacy efforts on behalf of the entire receivables management industry.

We are looking for items that are easy to pack and will attract competition by bidders! Contact Susan to donate an item. Companies who donate an item will be recognized in advanced and on-site promotions.

Are you wondering what the 21st Annual Conference is all about?  Visit our conference website here.

IDology
Contribute Now

Thank you 2017 Legislative Fund contributors. Your support allows us to influence threatening legislation, while also promoting and preserving the best interests of our members. Make your contribution today!

Titanium ($15,000)
Certified Debt Buyer
Cavalry Investments, LLC

Platinum ($10,000)
Associate Collection Agency
Financial Recovery Services, Inc.

Gold ($7,500)
Certified Debt Buyer
Unifund CCR LLC

Silver ($5,000)
Certified Debt Buyer
Plaza Services, LLC
Velocity Portfolio Group

Associate Debt Buyer
U.S. Equities Corp.

Associate Collection Agency
Credit Control, LLC

Affiliate
Digital Recognition Network
National Loan Exchange NLEX

Bronze ($2,500)
Certified Debt Buyer
Galaxy Asset Management, LLC

Affiliate
EZ Messenger

Brass ($1,000)
Certified Debt Buyer
Capital Alliance Financial, LLC
Collins Asset Group
First Financial Asset Management, Inc. FFAM360
Jormandy, LLC
Mjollnir Group
The Bureaus, Inc.

Certified Collection Agency
Halsted Financial Services, LLC

Certified Law Firm
Peroutka, Miller, Klima & Peters, P.A.

Associate Debt Buyer
International Debt Buying Consultants, LLC dba Portfolio Management Group
Western States Financial Management, LLC

Associate Law Firm
Bedard Law Group, P.C.
Maurice Wutscher LLP
Simmonds & Narita, LLP
The Law Offices of Ronald S. Canter, LLC
Vargo & Janson, P.C.

Affiliate
Full Circle Financial Services, LLC
VeriFacts, Inc.

Individual / Non-members
Century Support Services, LLC
Dara Tarkowski

Other
Certified Debt Buyer
Atlantic Credit & Finance, Inc.
Autovest, LLC
Cascade Capital, LLC
Gemini Capital Group, LLC
Investment Retrievers, Inc.
Jefferson Capital Systems
National Recovery Solutions, LLC
Troy Capital, LLC
USI Solutions, Inc.

Certified Broker
DebtTrader.com

Certified Collection Agency
Frontline Asset Strategies, LLC
Stoneleigh Recovery Associates

Certified Law Firm
G. Reynolds Sims & Associates, P.C.
Lawgix Lawyers, LLC

Associate Debt Buyer
Allen & Durrant Corp.
Alliance Credit Services, Inc.
Convergence Acquisitions LLC
National Check Resolution, Inc.
Pharus Funding, LLC
US Asset Management

Associate Collection Agency
A-1 Collection Service
Alpha Recovery Corp.
Capital Collection Management, LLC
Crisis Consulting and Marketing
DRS Processing, LLC
FMS, Inc.
Midwest Recovery Systems, LLC
Nationwide Credit & Collection, Inc.
Superlative RM
TCF & Associates

Associate Law Firm
Butler & Associates, P.A.
Faloni & Associates, LLC
Harrington, Anderson & DeBlasio
Law Offices of Daniel C. Consuegra, P.L.
Pressler and Pressler, LLP
Rausch, Sturm, Israel, Enerson & Hornik, LLC

Affiliate
Acumen Solutions Group
CMS Services
Cornerstone Support
Debt Sales Partners
FLOCK Specialty Finance
Harvest Strategy Group, Inc.
MicroBilt Corporation
PCI Group Inc.
Resource Management Services, Inc.
TransUnion
Vertican Technologies, Inc.
Y2Payment Systems, Inc.

Individual
Dan Crowley
David Reid
Jan Stieger
Mike Colby