By Rick Doane, IFCCE
Looking for Clarity
ACA International is working hard to advance industry issues at the federal and state levels
If I have calculated this correctly, this is my second to last President’s Page. It is truly amazing how the years fly by now. My kids
talk to me about how terribly long the week is
and that all they want to do is get to the weekend.
In contrast, all I seem to think is, “How come it
is almost New Year’s again?”
When you serve as ACA president, you
quickly realize that one year
just isn’t enough time to get
everything you want done.
That being said, your Board of
Directors is actively working
on your behalf to make life
easier for all of us. Boy, is that
a statement that is easier to
type than to make happen. But
this group is tirelessly working
in that direction.
Recently I got to be a part
of the new Midwest
Collections Conference in St.
Louis, which was held by the
Arkansas, Kansas, Iowa and
Missouri Units and drew more than 90
participants. The idea for this conference came
from the Unit Study Special Committee. From
the responses I received, this is the wave of the
future for smaller units that are looking to get
more bang for their buck. Vendors were happy
with the turnout, which is just as important to the
meeting’s success as the positive comments we
heard about the lineup of speakers.
Prior to that meeting, I was in Washington,
D.C., for ACA’s Washington Insights
Conference. This was the old “fly-in” and there
was nothing old about it. Everything was new!
ACA’s staff totally revamped this conference and
made it a huge hit. We had more than double
the amount of members show up than we ever
had in the past. That alone would make it a
success, but when you added the lineup of
impressive speakers, highlighted by an hour and
a half discussion with Dr. Charles
Krauthammer, you really got a sense of what is
going on in Washington these days.
Several board members joined ACA CEO Pat
Morris, ACA Vice President and General
Counsel Robert Föehl and I at the offices of the
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, where
we discussed a number of issues. Our message
was simple: we want clarity.
We also voiced our concerns about the
consumer complaint database—specifically the
new policy of allowing the consumer’s narrative
to be made public at the option of the consumer.
We feel that is bad policy, especially because
complaints aren’t verified for actual claims of
wrongdoing. We also took the opportunity to
highlight our industry’s low resolution dispute
The CFPB advised us that it is getting ready
to head to the next phase of its debt collection
rulemaking: a small business advisory panel. This
panel is required by law, and we are preparing for
this as well. It will be an important opportunity to
highlight the effects the rules will have on the
hundreds of small agencies across the country.
We are also starting to see the success of ACA’s
Industry Advancement Fund. The U.S. Supreme
Court announced that on June 27, 2015, it will
take up the Spokeo Inc. v. Thomas Robins case. At
issue is whether a plaintiff has standing to sue for
violations of a federal statute when the plaintiff
suffers no economic loss or other tangible harm
but merely seeks statutory damages for the
alleged violation. One year ago, ACA filed an
amicus brief in support of Spokeo’s petition for writ
of certiorari. We will continue to monitor this as
well as any other cases that we feel we can make a
I hope all of you are enjoying the year so far,
and I’ll see you along the way! cm
Rick Doane, IFCCE, is president of Sunrise Credit
Services in Farmingdale, N. Y. He can be reached at
firstname.lastname@example.org or (800) 208-8565.