What The ARM Industry Will Remember About 2020

To help summarize, encapsulate, and put a period on 2020, AccountsRecovery.net reached out to a number of industry veterans and asked them what they will remember most about 2020. Here is what they said:

Matt Kiefer, Preferred Group of Tampa

I will remember how a country disrupted a world economy by withholding and distorting information and how a media grabbed on to a crisis to drive a populace into submission by fear. I will remember graduates being robbed of celebrations, students being robbed of their education, workers and small business owners being robbed of their livelihood. I will forever remember the dumpster fire of the political arena and how agendas became transparent in certain states and cities so that it became a crime to go to church but you could protest, riot, loot, and burn down private businesses, shoot fireworks at cops, and worse. But most importantly, I will remember how the American people, for the most part, came to appreciate our true American heroes, the healthcare workers on the frontline, going to work, saving lives, putting forth exhaustive efforts for months on end (and continuing to this day), and how suddenly, nobody cared about the stars of Hollywood, the NBA, the NFL, or MLB. It is amazing what changes a bat can make in this world.


Chris Repholz, MRS BPO

Until this year, I never realized that the old proverb “May you live in interesting times,” is actually a curse and it applies perfectly to 2020. Beyond the surreal memories of wearing a facemask and not eating in a restaurant for close to a year, what I will always remember is the way that the collection industry looked the pandemic in the face and adapted to it, almost overnight. At MRS, we saw our clients and peers and competitors turn on a dime, transform a premise-based business into an almost exclusively work from home model and continue to provide our services with little interruption. I’d like to give the industry a high five, because we nailed it. And finally, I will always remember this as the year that I said “You’re on mute,” more times than I’d ever have imagined I would!


Joann Needleman, Clark Hill

While 2020 was a year we all want to forget, there were a few silver linings for the industry that should not otherwise be forgotten.

First, no industry in my opinion pivoted better than the ARM industry during this crisis. Kudos to all the businesses who transitioned thousands of employees to work from home with little to no disruption in operations. Incredible leadership was shown from the top down. Many firms report that a majority of their employees have expressed satisfaction with the work from home arrangement. More importantly, COVID enabled the industry to take a fresh look at business is done. I believe it will be unlikely that industry will go back to business as usual, even after the pandemic is over.

Second, the intersection of COVID and the Final Debt Collection Rule (Parts 1 & 2) will enable the ARM industry to further embrace technology to the benefit of all. COVID drove consumers to want to engage with debt collectors using the manner and methods they prefer, like email and text. The result was positive and the Final Rule has put forth a doable roadmap to sustain digital engagement.

Finally, industry was at its best during the pandemic. Both CFPB complaints and private actions were down. Of course that may change in 2021, but that observation will be left for next year’s article.

Happy New Year to all. A heartfelt thanks to Mike Gibb for his tireless efforts in putting forth great content and for his support of our industry.


Beth Conklin, State Collection Service

What will I remember most about 2020? I will remember 2020 as the year that although there was challenge and change, the year of the unknown, the fear and the losses – that there was also hope, compassion, adaptability and faith. The year in which I saw the industry that I am so passionate about come together as a whole to help each other adapt to new technologies, new ways of training, remote workforce, new ways to hold meetings, conferences, happy hours – whatever was needed to stay connected to each other and continue to run our businesses. The year that even though most cannot wait for it to be over, it is also the year to reflect on how strong we are and to look back at all that what we accomplished.


Todd Santa Maria, VoApps

I will remember 2020 as a very long, challenging year. I will remember how the coronavirus pandemic accelerated the pace of change in all walks of life, picking winners and losers at everything. I will remember that we were fortunate to work with many of the winners and come through it ourselves. I will remember the incredible resiliency, toughness and patience I witnessed among friends, clients, colleagues and other fine Americans.

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