CFPB Field Hearing about Debt Collection – Notes & Observations

DISCLAIMER – this is not a legal interpretation nor advice – just notes and observations

On Thursday July 28, 2016 the CFPB held a Field Hearing about Debt Collection in Sacramento, CA. The following are notes and observations, including comments from a “post hearing” reception BillingTree asked attendees to voluntarily and anonymously supply using a feedback from.

Overview

The field hearing was held at McClellan Conference Center, and was live streamed as well. About 200 people were in attendance. The BillingTree reception was right after the hearing concluded and about 35 guests attended.

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Observations

  • The in-person audience was a mix of collection agency representatives, debt buyer representatives, attorneys, consumer advocacy groups, media, and government staff (CFPB).
  • The mood of the hearing was civil, however it was clear there were some who were pleased with the proposals and others who see them as potentially having a detrimental impact to their well-being.
  • One commonality evident from those who spoke was the desire for clarity and definition of rules.

Comments supplied at the Reception
A form was circulated at the reception asking for top observations, top concerns and additional comments. Each category is aggregated below and the comments are from the attendees – not BillingTree.

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Top Observations from today’s hearing:

  • Everyone in attendance share the same core values – treating consumers with dignity and ensuring compliance with the law.
  • The consumer bar is focused on the bad acts of some minor players and the CFPB is catering to those concerns – more attention need to be placed to the players who play by the rules.
  • Consumer protection does not equal consumer education
  • Great to hear from so many industry professionals, especially the collectors
  • Mark Ellis was fantastic! He was brave. Hope the CFPB listens.
  • June Coleman is always a champion of this industry.
  • I wanted to participate in the public comments but it was closed at the location – I had registered to participate.
  • Didn’t understand the contribution the three consumer “project” people brought other than to restate how consumers are victims
  • CFPB says regulations that are fair for business and consumer, but shows they are leaning on the consumer side
  • Needs to be clear guidelines on litigation
  • Use of automatic dialing systems and adopting technology today needs to happen
  • No original creditor responsibility
  • No consumer responsibility
  • No concern for cost of business
  • The consumer’s responsibility seems to go overlooked
  • Good to see rule will be more defined
  • The focus seems to be on stronger rules to correct behavior that I believe only comes from a few “bad Apples”
  • I didn’t see or hear any acknowledgment from the CFPB about frivolous lawsuits, complaints and disputes or that they even know or think it’s a problem
  • When are they going to address our major problems right now on TCPA, HIPAA, etc.
  • Of course this focuses on the consumers however, I feel like there was a lot of frustration from reps like me who are in the collection industry

Top Concerns from today’s hearing:

  • The laws current and proposed laws are so focused on limiting contact and empowering consumers to not communicate. They are creating a stalemate that will result in more default judgements and more complaints. They should be encouraging communications!
  • The original creditors need more accountability
  • The CFPB shut its ears to all the wonderful thoughtful comments
  • The CFPB is out of control
  • Need balance of communication process
  • Full data should be a collections priority. It is the right thing to do to make sure we collect from the right party
  • Who pays money to sue the wrong party -where is the economic sense?
  • Not hearing on the use of automatic dialing systems
  • No putting any responsibility in the hands of the consumer
  • Validity and documentation needs to stem from creditor – not the other way around
  • Spoke of “Bad Actors” – none of which were present
  • No mention of consumer attorney’s frivolous suits being penalized
  • No accountability for consumers or at least any mention of it
  • No mention of clarity for those of us that have to comply with multiple rules, i.e. hospital debt, etc.
  • It seems to be very one sided and for the consumer
  • Again the focus to protect the consumer but hindering the collection agencies more and more

Additional Comments:

  • Thanks for hosting lunch {post hearing reception}
  • Thank you for lunch {post hearing reception}
  • Collectors are professional - Criminals are the scammers – The 2 are not the same
  • It’s great that the CFPB is out there to get rid of the “Bad” agencies who don’t follow laws and regulations. However, they need to focus on the true clarity for “Good” agencies doing the right thing.

   KMTG_logo_with_txt_rgb  Special thanks to Kronick for sponsoring the Beverages at the reception