Monarch Recovery Management Publishes Whitepaper on Debt Collection Agency Compliance

Monarch Recovery Management is pleased to announce the publication of our new whitepaper: Is Your Collection Agency’s Back Office Driving Compliance?

Making sure your collection agency has committed to compliance with a meaningful investment in the back office is probably one of the most important business decisions you as a credit grantor will make.

What is the most urgent threat to a debt collection agency’s perfect compliance record? A live call between a collector and a debtor. But since that interaction is the primary driver of collections, ARM executives cannot eliminate that threat altogether. Rather, they must have a deliberate and mature back office in place for before, during, and after the collection calls are made.

“The collection industry is evolving at a rapid pace, stated Bill Fuller, President  & COO.  The purpose of this white paper is to showcase the next generation collections and compliance strategies Monarch Recovery Management, Inc. leverages for our clients that contribute to our joint success.”

Get the whole story on back office compliance and learn new tips to better ensure itClick here to download our new whitepaper and learn how to put this checklist into practice with your agency partners:

  • Incentives
  • Complaint Handling
  • Call Recording

The long-term return on investment in compliance will surely outweigh any upfront costs. This is the mindset of a next generation collection agency like Monarch.

Download Monarch Recovery Management’s free whitepaper here.

For more information about Monarch Recovery Management, Inc. contact:

Bill Fuller
President & Chief Operating Officer



Monarch Recovery Management Collects School Supplies for Philly Kids

Each year beginning in July, Monarch Recovery Management collects school supplies for needy children in the Philadelphia area.

The supplies–including backpacks, pens, pencils, notebooks, crayons, folders, glue sticks and more–are donated for distribution through Grace Christian Fellowship Church located in Southwest Philadelphia. One of our Client Service Department employees is a Deacon of the church. The church distributes the supplies through an outreach program in the neighborhood during Sunday Services at the end of August. Last year we collected numerous items and very generous cash donations to outfit many students with backpacks filled with everything they would need to start the school year off right.

This is our fourth year and each year gets bigger and better.

A Cautious Win for Creditors and Debt Collectors ran a story recently about an FDCPA case that wasn’t decided in favor of the consumer.

The meat of this story is about how, exactly, the words if and unlessfunction in a collection letter.

In one case, Camacho v. Bridgeport Fin., Inc., Bridgeport Financial did not prevail in the FDCPA lawsuit brought against it by a consumer because the language in its initial contact made it sound like the consumer must dispute the debt in writing: “Unless you notify this office in writing within 30 days after receiving this notice that you dispute the validity of this debt or any portion thereof, this office will assume this debt is valid.”

In another case, Riggs v. Prober & Raphael, Prober & Raphael may have gotten lucky. The language they use isn’t quite so definitive:

“Please be advised that if you notify my office in writing within 30 days that all or a part of your obligation or judgment to FIRESIDE BANK is disputed, then I will mail to you written verification of the obligation or judgment and the amounts owed to FIRESIDE BANK. In addition, upon your written request within 30 days of receipt of this letter, I will provide you with the name and address of the original creditor, if different from the current creditor.

If I do not hear from you within 30 days, I will assume that your debt to FIRESIDE BANK is valid.”

That unless in Bridgeport’s letter sounded, at least to the Ninth Circuit Court, like it was a requirement – something that the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act actually doesn’t intend. The FDCPA does not make written communication the only communication a consumer can use to dispute a debt. Look at section 1692g(a)(3-4):

§ 809. Validation of debts

(a) Within five days after the initial communication with a consumer in connection with the collection of any debt, a debt collector shall, unless the following information is contained in the initial communication or the consumer has paid the debt, send the consumer a written notice containing—

(3) a statement that unless the consumer, within thirty days after receipt of the notice, disputes the validity of the debt, or any portion thereof, the debt will be assumed to be valid by the debt collector

(4) a statement that if the consumer notifies the debt collector in writing within the thirty-day period that the debt, or any portion thereof, is disputed, the debt collector will obtain verification of the debt or a copy of a judgment against the consumer and a copy of such verification or judgment will be mailed to the consumer by the debt collector

Pay particular attention to that if in (4). And for the Ninth Circuit Court, that’s where Prober & Raphael got it right and stayed on the right side of the FDCPA. The word if doesn’t sound like it’s dictating the terms of the communication to the consumer.

As much as possible, our communications to debtors should adhere to the FDCPA, especially when the FDCPA’s language can protect an agency. We can still be sued for following the FDCPA – being compliant isn’t a shield against lawsuits. But adhering to the FDCPA can protect us in court.

In this specific case, though… It’s too soon to tell. Basing an argument off of something as slippery as the difference between if and unlessmakes us a little anxious. What thoughts do you have?

Sending Interactive Collection Messages to Consumers

Matt Edmunds at SoundBite wrote a interesting piece about the cost benefits of voice alerts and interactive messages:

“How can companies maintain their contact rate metrics and increase collection rates in their existing campaign strategies? Design a strategy that includes channel blending as your secret sauce.”

Of course, voice alerts and interactive messages – like texts or emails – can still be a bit of a risk for collection agencies. Any agency would always want to have explicit permission from the consumer to contact her through text and/or email. But Edmunds shared a lot of interesting data points:

  • Direct mail response rates are in the low single digits.
  • Emails have higher open rates at around 20% according to the DMA.
  • SMS/Text open rates are over 98%.
  • The US is 104.6% mobile phone penetrated
  • 31.6% homes being wireless only


Attorney John Rossman on CFPB Supervision: An Interesting Take

John Rossman’s podcasts on are always informative – but his recent one on CFPB oversight of the debt collection industry is definitely worth your time. In the wake of little oversight from the FTC, we’re about to see what it’s like with the New Boss. And like any new employee, the New Guy always seems to over-perform his first few months on the job.

Are we suggesting that oversight is totally unwelcome? Not at all – and neither is Rossman. But the potential danger may cost and confusion, something we all should be mindful of.