New DBA President Shares Agenda, Objectives

While debt buyers remain in a wait-and-see mode with respect to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s proposed rule governing the debt collection process, Patricia Baxter, the new president of DBA International, has set an ambitious plan for her term, including working with state and federal regulators to utilize certification as a component of any proposal that would affect the industry.

Baxter’s term as president began at DBA’s annual conference last month in Las Vegas and she, along with Jan Stieger, executive director of DBA International, talked about her goals and objectives for her one-year term.

Expanding the member and company certification process will be a big plank in Baxter’s platform, as certification helps rid the industry of individuals and companies whose motives are less than professional. DBA’s Receivables Management Certification Program is the only self-regulatory program of its kind, Baxter said, and it has been widely supported by the debt-buying industry and regulators.

Baxter, who is also president of Recovery Management Systems Corp., would like certification to be “adopted as a standard of participation in the industry,” she said. “When a new law or regulation is proposed, it’s important that certification is a requirement whenever appropriate. We have made a lot of progress there.”

The debt buying industry has been the subject of several recent actions by the CFPB, and those actions have generated concern that the bureau will continue to impose restrictions on buying and selling debt portfolios, especially by the larger participants in the industry. Activity at the state level is also an area of concern. Baxter pointed out that the growth rate of debt-buying bills introduced at the state level has increased between 50 and 100 percent year over year.

“We want to make sure our voices continue to be heard and we appreciate the lawmakers who have worked with us,” Baxter said.

Baxter said she expects the CFPB to issue its proposed debt collection rule during her tenure as DBA president.

Baxter also wants to continue to expand partnerships that DBA has built with other trade groups, such as the National Automotive Finance Association and the National Alliance of Buy Here, Pay Here Dealers.

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