The calendar has turned and a new year is upon us which is culturally the time of year where we resolve to work out more, eat better, and cut back on other bad habits. These goals are not only something that individuals should be doing in their personal lives. New Year’s resolutions can also be professional in nature, and offer a chance to kick bad habits in favor of some good ones. This is especially true for the ARM industry, which is facing a big year of change.
Like a personal habit to eat better and get to the gym more, a similar professional habit might be to improve efficiency, identify excess spending, and commit to invest money back into the company. These are healthy corporate habits that can make a huge difference to a company’s bottom line and really add up during the course of a year.
Just like your personal New Year’s resolutions, there needs to be a plan or a commitment to making sure the changes stick beyond the first few days of the New Year. You don’t want to end up with the equivalent of brand new workout gear and sneakers at the bottom of your closet gathering dust for the next 12 months. Much like any personal habit, establishing a professional habit takes time and commitment, but the dividends can be huge in the end.
For the credit and collection industry, this has the potential to be a very important year. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (nope, that name change didn't actually happen - too much established branding) has said it is planning to release a proposed debt collection rule during the first few months of the year impacting the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Concurrently, the Federal Communications Commission is working on a new rule that would update and clarify the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. That means the two pieces of legislation that most impact collection agencies are due to be revised, which has never happened before - so join me in crossing our fingers (that's me to the right!) with uncharacteristic optimism that the two revisions will finally bring policies in line with each other instead of creating more legal limbo open to interpretation by consumer protection attorneys. Go ahead, hold your breath.
It may not happen before you turn blue in the face, but one thing is for sure — the credit and collection industry will likely look a lot different 12 months from now. How agencies adapt and react to those changes could determine the size and scope of their short- and long-term success. Now is the time to put changes into place to not only adopt better corporate habits but to get ready for what will likely be a very interesting year - you know, assuming the government gets back to work again this year...