Compliance and Risk Management in the Collections Industry
Michelle Dove wears a lot of different hats as a General Counsel and Compliance Officer for IC System. She provides legal advice on many issues that might face the company. Dove shared her thoughts and experiences on compliance and risk management challenges in a collection agency setting.
The collection industry follows strict regulatory statutes, and it is Dove’s job to ensure IC System is maintaining and upholding those rules and standards.
“Regulations affect everything we do,” Dove said. “They affect how we talk with consumers, the letters we send to consumers, and how we train our new hires and ongoing training.
We are licensed in every state that requires licensing, so complying with regulations, whether it be municipal, a city, a state’s, or federal regulations, is critically important.”
Regulations may hold collection agencies to a high standard, but Dove believes this only serves to make IC System a more vital organization.
“We work very hard to do the right thing and to be in compliance,” Dove said. “While the regulations are a lot to keep up with, and they are very exacting with no room for error, they make us better. So, for that, it’s not entirely a bad thing.”
Is there an image collection agencies portray in consumers’ minds, and can this perception be changed into a more positive one?
“Twenty to 30 years ago, there were some bad actors and practices, and I’ve heard many horror stories about the way consumers were treated two or three decades ago. As a result, the federal government swooped in and created the FDCPA and agencies like the CFPB that are designed to protect consumers against that kind of behavior, Dove said. “People are often surprised when they get to know IC System and hear how we collect debts, communicate with consumers, and our approach to collections. We really do help consumers, whether that be by educating them or offering creative payment solutions. I think people are pleasantly surprised by how we do business.”