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Member Profile: Getting To Know David Mertz

David Mertz is not afraid to say that he thinks the industry should be acting as the driver of change and evolution, rather than the passenger. Mertz, a frequent speaker on topics related to compliance and data security, has spent the past three years at Global Debt Registry. As the administrator of the group, Mertz is frequently seen on the Credit and Collections group on LinkedIn, sharing articles and his opinions. Read below to learn more about one of the most respected members of the industry. 

Name: David Mertz, Chief Compliance Officer

Company: Global Debt Registry

Length of time at current company: Almost three years as an employee. Almost 10 years if you include time spent as a consultant to the company.

Length of time in industry: 10 years

How did you get your start in the industry? Started my own consulting firm in compliance and security. Landed Global Debt Registry as a client. Started getting active in the industry a year later when I gave a talk on data security at DCS in New York City. First person I met at the conference was John McNamara. Second person I met at the conference was Don Hill who introduced my talk. John and Don are two of my favorite people in the industry.

Why have you stayed in this industry? Because I recognize the value of the industry. And, I want the industry to be successful. I want consumers to have confidence in the fairness of the collection process. We need a healthy debt collection eco-system. And, I continue to work to push for changes that I believe the industry must make in order for the eco-system to be healthy.

What is your career highlight so far? Attending a ACA Washington insight’s conference and getting into an elevator with Charles Krauthammer and talking baseball. We were talking about the impact that Kendrys Morales would have on the 2015 World Champion Kansas City Royals.

Which industry professional do you admire most? My wife Susan. I sure married up.

What is one thing you do better than everyone else? Sit between the business and technical operations of a business and translate what regulatory changes and trends mean in real terms to both constituencies.

What do you like most about this industry? The important role the industry plays in a well functioning consumer economy. You can’t have a vibrant consumer economy without a healthy debt collection eco-system. Unfortunately, the eco-system is not healthy. And, rulemaking by the CFPB will not make it any healthier.

What is one thing you wish you could change about this industry? The industry would be so much better off if it was driving change instead of the regulator. This would mean a) listening to regulators and their concerns, b) identifying systemic issues which put industry members at risk, and c) learning from experiences in the court room. Then take this information and leverage technology and industry knowledge to deliver real systemic change which balances the rights of the creditor, reduces the cost and risks associated with collections and recovery, empowers all market participants, and provides enhanced consumer protections in a way which is or is close to being cost neutral. Only the industry working in concert (nothing that violates anti-trust of course) can define and implement this kind of change. Unfortunately, the industry is allowing the CFPB to be the agent of change. The coming CFPB rules will not make the ARM eco-system any more healthy than it is now; likely it will only get worse. There is still a window for the industry to take the initiative.  But it is closing rapidly.

If you weren’t in this industry, what would you be doing? I would be still have my compliance and security consulting business, or I would be a compliance officer for a company in a totally different industry.

Describe a typical work day. There is no such thing as typical day.  However, one of the most enjoyable things I do each day is moderate the Credit and Collections LinkedIn Group.  With almost 60,000 members it is the largest ARM industry discussion group on LinkedIn. It has a worldwide audience and postings from around the globe. Love the dialogue. Love the exchange of ideas. Great place to learn everyday.

What is the best advice you’ve ever received? The best gift you can give your kids is to love their mother.

What are you currently reading? Threat Vector by Tom Clancy. Very scary how prescient his most recent books are about the world we live in. Most important books I read this year – The Big Short by Michael Lewis and Things That Matter by Charles Krauthammer

Who else would you like to see answer these questions? Todd Lansky, Jim Richards, and JR Trowbridge

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