We can debate whether tomorrow is the actual end of the decade or whether it begins a year-long countdown to the end of the decade, but regardless of that formality, the turning of the calendar from one year to the next and to a nice, round even number like 2020 offers the opportunity to look back and remember how much has changed and how much has stayed the same.
For example – a decade ago there was no Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. A year ago, there was no proposed debt collection rule from the CFPB. A decade ago, there were about 1,000 lawsuits filed a month against collection agencies alleging violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Today, there are about 750 filed every month. A decade ago, the Federal Trade Commission stopped a rogue debt collector from impersonating a law enforcement agency. That’s happened once or twice since then.
But for all the things that make it look like the industry has not changed in the past decade, there are plenty of signs that it has. Debt collectors that communicated via text messaging, email, and DirectDrop voicemails? That was unheard of a decade ago. Deploying machine learning and artificial intelligence? That was science fiction in the collection industry 10 years ago.
A lot has changed in the past 10 years. And a lot will continue to change. Think of how the debt collection industry will look a decade from now. Even a year from now. We may have a final debt collection rule. A rule that defines what an automated telephone dialing system is and an update to the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. A ruling on whether the CFPB leadership structure is constitutional and what that could mean. This is a tremendously exciting time to be a part of this industry. And I look forward to sharing it with all of you.