The vibe at DBA International‘s annual conference, held last week in Las Vegas, was more optimistic and upbeat than in the previous couple of years, said those in attendance, because debt buyers, sellers, and brokers are finding new ways to try and grow their business.
There is a concerted push, for example, into new asset classes. Those include auto loans, personal loans, healthcare and medical debt, and more. DBA dedicated an entire session to sharing information about the subprime auto loan market, and the National Association of Buy Here, Pay Here dealers exhibited at the event, and the group’s executive director was a speaker as well.
Many of the sessions, and rightfully so given the current regulatory climate, were focused on the importance of compliance and provided updates on lawsuits, pending litigation, and other regulatory topics. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was a frequent topic of concern during the event, with many individuals discussing the agency’s method of “regulation through enforcement,” referring to the consent orders that have been announced recently, including those against Frederick J. Hanna & Associates, JPMorgan Chase, Encore Capital, and Portfolio Recovery Associates.
The CFPB has issues an advance notice of proposed rulemaking, looking to develop regulations for the debt collection industry, but the timeline for any such rule have consistently been pushed back. The industry is not expecting to see a proposed rule until late 2016 or even not until early next year. Many of the conversations at the event focused on the upcoming presidential election and the impact it will have on the CFPB. Some are predicting that if a Republican wins the White House, the CFPB could be dramatically overhauled and its powers significantly curtailed.
Attendance at the event was described as lower than in previous years, but some remarked that the decline may have a silver lining in that those who were less-than-reputable or those who were ill-prepared to weather the issues causing concern in the industry are no longer around to be worried about. Those who have remained are the most reputable and financially viable organizations, potentially.
Compliance and finding new sources of supply were the main topics discussed during the sessions, in the exhibit hall, and in meetings around the Aria Resort & Casino in Las Vegas.