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ARM Industry

Staying Current in Today’s Regulatory Environment

By Matt PridemoreMarch 3, 2020
 

“Elections have consequences.”

As we close in on another election day this November, very few would disagree with that statement.  While the statement implies a winner and a loser, that hasn’t been the case in debt collection.  We deal with CONSEQUENCES no matter the outcome of the election.  Since the 2016 election there has been a clear uptick in enforcement actions and legislative activity in blue states.  I think the perception is federal enforcement agencies are engaged differently than they were during the previous administration and the blue states are picking up the slack.

Although knowing how to license as a collection agency, collection attorney or debt buyer has always been a challenge, it isn’t getting easier.  The list of potential licenses that might apply to ARM organizations is expanding.  New and changing legislation, as well as rules and regulations written by bureaucrats that often feel the legislature is not moving fast enough have had a significant impact.  Furthermore, the plaintiff’s bar continues to pursue licensing related cases against industry participants and the courts have in some cases shockingly ignored authoritative guidance published by state regulators to provide interpretation where ambiguity created confusion.

With these layers of complexity, Cornerstone Support is uniquely positioned to help collection agencies, collection attorneys and debt buyers stay ahead of the curve in this rapidly changing and decentralized state-by-state (and sometimes city-by-city) regulatory environment.

Legislative Tracking

Cornerstone Support uses legislation tracking services in order to stay apprised of all new state and federal legislation that might impact licensing for companies in our industry.  We can track the progress of the legislation through Congress and prepare accordingly.  There are several tracking services commercially available and it is advisable for ARM companies operating in more than one state to subscribe to at least one of them.

Relationships with State Regulators

Subscribing to a tracking service, while important, is not the primary way that Cornerstone stays current.  Cornerstone represents at least half of all agencies licensed in any given state.  We filed over 30,000 individual applications in 2019 alone.  All these filings over the past 21 years have required daily communication with state regulators. That consistent communication has led to personal and professional relationships between Cornerstone licensing specialists and the state regulators they work with.  Those relationships, cultivated over time, are critical to understanding what’s next as it relates to not yet published rules/regulations or changes in application requirements.

Critical Mass of Clients

As a trusted adviser to thousands of agencies, we regularly assist in resolving regulatory and legal issues related to licensing.  Individually, the knowledge we gain through these experiences is beneficial, but the regulatory enforcement and litigation trends we are able to identify through exposure to such a critical mass is powerful.  This collective wisdom allows our clients to operate with an awareness that is otherwise unavailable in the industry.

The consequences of the 2020 election to the ARM industry won’t be fully known on the night of November 3rd. They won’t be fully known in the following month, or even in the following year. Whether the changes come from the federal or state level, change is inevitable. And as a debt collector, it can feel like there is a target on your back and the bullets are coming from all different directions.  It doesn’t have to feel that way when it comes to licensing and registrations.  In this rapidly changing and decentralized state-by-state (and sometimes city-by-city) regulatory environment, Cornerstone Support is uniquely positioned to help you stay ahead of the curve.

Debt Collection Licensing Portal

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