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Digital Challenges & Opportunities for Collections Letters and Payments: Insights from the ACA International 2018 Conference & Expo

Posted by Bryan TenBroek on August 8, 2018

Our first time exhibiting at the ACA International 2018 Convention & Expo, held in Nashville, was a big success. We met with clients, greeted prospective new customers, showcased our cloud-based applications for customer communications management and payments technology, and heard some thought-provoking speakers. The convention, packed with more than 1,000 attendees, was humming.

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Because the credit and collections industry is heavily regulated, a key focus at the conference was compliance, at both the federal and state levels. In fact, one of ACA’s priorities is to work with regulators to get more clarity on the rules of engagement that affect use of digital communications technologies, such as text messaging, email and chat.


Challenges with going digital

Like all industries, the collections business is moving to connect with consumers digitally and collect payments through multiple, more flexible channels. Right now, some industry leaders believe there’s too much room for interpretation. Open questions include:

  • Consumer protections. A former acting director for the Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau of Consumer Protection told the audience that when it comes to using digital technologies, compliance should focus on preventing potential consumer harm. He anticipates that the FTC will be looking at whether companies obtain the consumer’s permission to use a technology such as a text messaging or email and if how it’s being used violates a consumer’s privacy and creates harm.
  • Disclosure rules. States often have their own consumer disclosure rules, requiring companies to use specific language as the disclaimer on collections letters or even verbal conversations. Companies often cover their bases by including disclosures in collections letters for all states in which they operate, but that practice could be considered too confusing or even misleading for consumers and lead to litigation.


Technology simplifies compliance adherence

Even as regulators, policymakers and the credit and collections industry work out how to offer digital communications and payments options that many people prefer while also protecting consumers, technology can solve the disclosure dilemma. Making sure you can include the right disclosure at the right time to the right customer is made simple with software that automates this process.

Our Expresso cloud-based customer communications management platform lets clients create zoned collections letters for disclosure while also making it easy to monitor and update communications at any time when rules or requirements change. That’s one of the reasons we are getting more involved at ACA. We have solutions that will help credit and collections companies manage disclosure presentment requirements for collections letters delivered through the mail and digital channels in the future.

If we didn’t get a chance to chat at the ACA’s big event in Nashville, drop me an email at btenbroek@nordistechnologies.com. I would enjoy hearing from you. 

 

About the Author

Bryan joined Nordis Technologies in 2016 to manage and grow the company’s already-large vacation ownership client base. He also is responsible for business development and market expansion in the healthcare and financial services markets. Before joining Nordis, Bryan spent more than 21 years with Interval International, a leading global provider of vacation ownership services. Bryan graduated from Northwestern University with a bachelor of science in political science. 

 

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Bryan Ten Broek
Vice President, Business Development

Topics: consumer payment trends, customer communications, conference recaps, innovative technologies

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