The “Getting to Know” series is sponsored by Applied Innovation. Applied Innovation is helping to shape the future of accounts receivable management. Product development is driven by customer feedback, agency profitability and compliance and includes platforms addressing client portal access, document management, payment negotiation, Regulation E focused electronic payment authorizations and TCPA communication authorization platforms. Partner with a company who understands your business challenges and evolves to provide cutting edge technology to overcome those challenges and achieve success.
When asked what they do better than anyone else, few people have the hardware to back it up. Matthew Berumen is one of those people. Perhaps missing his calling as a chili cook, Matthew has instead found a home in the accounts receivable management industry. Read on to learn more about Matthew, his deep love of comedy, and the unique routine he follows to start his day.
Name: Matthew Berumen
Job Title: Corporate Counsel & Chief Compliance Officer
Company: Credit Service Company, Inc.
Length of Time at Current Company: Almost three years, but I represented CSC for five years prior to that while as an attorney at Greenberg Sada & Moody PC.
Length of Time in Industry: It is hard to pinpoint because a law firm I worked in did some litigation for a few payday lenders in the middle ’00s, but I started to take debt-collection seriously in 2009.
How did you get your start in the industry?
I had dipped my toe into this industry but was practicing in a general-practice law firm. I remember being disillusioned as a lawyer and was hoping to get out of the profession altogether. I was in the Denver County Courthouse lamenting with a lawyer that was recently bought out of his partnership and was a few days away from retiring. His ex-partner, Jerry Vargo, called me that day and took me to lunch that week with his new partner, Yosy Jason. I would consider working at Vargo & Jason PC as my starting point. One of Vargo & Jason’s clients was a debt-buyer operated by Mike Sexton. Jerry and Mike are great humans, and I could not imagine where my career would be without their mentorship.
What is your career highlight so far?
Being asked to be CSC’s first Corporate Counsel and its second Chief Compliance Officer. I’m really excited about the direction the company is going and love being on a great team of good people. I’ve been drinking out of a fire hose while waking up a 45-degree hill ever since.
When or how are you most productive?
I have not figured this out yet, but I listen to my sympathetic nervous system. I always know when to roll up the sleeves and fight through a project or when to fly into a daydream about fishing.
Which industry professional do you admire most?
I couldn’t pick just one. So… Alan Greenberg, Makyla Moody, and Tom Romola. I’m becoming a big fan of Kevin Crocker too. I cannot imagine being a debt collector in Colorado without the help these people provide to our industry.
What is one thing you do better than everyone else?
I make the best Pueblo-style green chili in the world. I won a gigantic trophy in a cooking contest the second time I ever made the dish. If you are ever lucky enough to meet my wife, Antoinette, please ask her about this.
What do you like most about this industry?
I believe that debt is one of the most important inventions/concepts in human history. When the meek inherit the earth, there will still be a character telling a vendor, “I’d gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today.” I like that our industry keeps the incentive to hand over that hamburger viable.
What is one thing you wish you could change about this industry?
15 U.S.C. §1692k. I would like to change statutory damages into actual damages and attorney fees to the winner. The perverse incentives in 1692k have created the grossest cottage industry I can think of.
Describe a typical work day.
Once I get to the office, I read, “John Henry An American Legend,” by Ezra Jack Keats. I turn on the wall-mounted television in my office and press play on the movie, “Groundhog Day,” which I play on a loop for white noise. I open AccountsRecovery.net to see what is new in our industry, then try to help CSC become a better company than it was the day before.
If you weren’t in this industry, what would you be doing?
I would be in the Tamarisk and Russian Olive tree removal business.
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What is your guilty pleasure?
Comedy — of any kind. In fact, reading the book, “Right Ho, Jeeves” in a courtroom and laughing out loud at whatever Bertie Wooster was up to is the proximate cause of me becoming CSC’s Corporate Counsel. I won’t try to prove my case here, but I never would have befriended Alan Greenberg if not for reading that book in a jury box waiting for Judge Romano to take the bench. Not kidding.
What is the best advice you have ever received?
You can’t polish a turd.
What are you currently reading?
“The Emerald Mile” by Kevin Fedarko. My family did a float trip on the Colorado River the whole length of Grand Canyon last summer. This book tells of the fastest ever boat trip through the canyon during the flood of 1983.
What is one fact you’d like everyone in the industry to know about you?
I love a parade.
Who else would you like to see answer these questions?
The most interesting debt-collector/attorney I’ve ever met — Alan Greenberg.
The “Getting to Know” series is sponsored by Applied Innovation. Applied Innovation is helping to shape the future of accounts receivable management. Product development is driven by customer feedback, agency profitability and compliance and includes platforms addressing client portal access, document management, payment negotiation, Regulation E focused electronic payment authorizations and TCPA communication authorization platforms. Partner with a company who understands your business challenges and evolves to provide cutting edge technology to overcome those challenges and achieve success