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Takeaways from ACA International’s Spring Forum

ACA International held its 2019 Spring Forum event in Las Vegas this week. Here are some snippets and highlights of the event, which included a significant amount of great ideas and content.


Should the compliance department have oversight or knowledge of a collection agency’s compensation plan for collectors? That question was posed by John Bedard of the Bedard Law Group during a session on understanding Unfair, Deceptive, or Abusive Acts or Practices (UDAAP).

Bedard shared a story of an agency that noted an uptick in issues with accounts where the individual was represented by an attorney. The normal process is for the collector to flag the account and change the status code so that the account is removed from the collector’s pool. But collectors were flagging the account and then not changing the status code, so that it remained in their pool, and when a payment was received, the collector was still receiving a commission for that payment.

“UDAAP is the chameleon of risk,” Bedard said. “Companies should involve compliance in drafting and maintaining their compensation policies.”


Collection agencies should have a mission statement to help them and their employees stay on course and ensure there is a common and shared goal that everyone is working toward, said Cortney Fleming, the chief personnel officer of Wilber & Associates, during a session on building high-performing teams.

To help companies build a mission statement, Fleming provided a list of five questions. The answers can be molded together to form a company’s mission statement.

  • Who Are We?
  • What Do We Do?
  • How Do We Do It?
  • For Whom Do We Do It?
  • Why Do We Do It?


In a session on hiring strategies, Irene Hoheusle of Account Recovery Specialists, Inc., shared how she puts job candidates on the spot by having them handle a mock collection call. During the interview, the phone will ring and the hiring manager will hand the phone to the candidate and say, “It’s for you.” The candidate is then expected to try and collect money from the person on the other end of the phone — usually another collector from the agency.

If the person grabs the phone enthusiastically and tries to get the person to make a payment, regardless of whether all the policies and procedures are followed, it’s a sign that the candidate will make a good collector, the woman said. If the person takes the phone and says, “Let me get someone who can help you,” the hiring manager looks at the candidate and says, “That’s you.” And, if a candidate doesn’t want to take the phone, that’s a red flag that the person might not be right for the job.


Hats off to Bedard and Dennis Barton of The Barton Law Group for portraying an auditor who believes he was victimized by an aggressive vendor manager and a vendor manager who believes she was being victimized by an aggressive auditor, during a mock mediation in a session for Credit and Collection Compliance Attorneys.

“You just can’t stop, can you,” Bedard said at one point. Said another attendee, who was representing Barton during the mediation, “I think that’s a very big girl way of looking at it.”

All of the individuals involved in the mock mediation, which was run by Leslie Bender of BCA Financial Services, deserved awards.

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