Collector - July 2017 - 23

With more and more people working
from home across a variety of fields and
professions, the question of whether a debt
collector can work off-site is becoming
increasingly important. Most state licensing
laws still do not address the potential for a
debt collector to work from home, but this
may be changing. Recently, a few states have
amended their licensing laws to provide
specific exemptions from licensing for
home-based collectors: North Dakota, North
Carolina and Wisconsin.
North Dakota was the earliest state to
specifically allow a collector to work in a
home-based office. In 2011, North Dakota
law was amended to expressly provide an
exemption for a "virtual office" in its branch
office licensing requirements.
Under the statute, a "virtual office" means
a "remote location from which employees
can work under the full control and
monitoring of the collection agency through
telecommunications and computer links."
The law states that home-based collectors
do not have to obtain a separate license as
they would be working from a "virtual office."
In order for the exemption to be applicable,
however, records cannot be maintained at the
virtual office and the office cannot be held
open to the public as a place of business.
More recently, North Carolina updated
its law to clarify how its licensing
provisions apply to debt collection
employees working remotely.
The state's statute requiring a permit
for a collection agency provides that every
location must secure a permit. However,
the law was recently amended and now
states that the permit requirements shall
not be "construed to require that a person,
firm, corporation, or association secure
a permit for a remote location from
which a single employee works under the
control and monitoring of a collection
agency through telecommunications
and computer links," so long as certain
conditions are met. The amendment
allowing a remote employee went into
effect July 1, 2017.
Wisconsin has also taken steps to facilitate
the feasibility of a home-based collection
staff. After recent amendments to the law,

COLLECTOR 07.17

Wisconsin's licensing provisions define a
"collector" or "solicitor" to mean "any person
employed by a collection agency to collect
or receive payment or to solicit the receiving
or collecting of payment for others of any
account, bill or other indebtedness outside of
the office or the person's home."
The law also provides that a license is not
assignable and only permits operation at
or from the location specified in the license
"except that an employee of a licensed
collection agency may work from the
employee's home if the employee complies with
all of the same requirements under this section
and the division's rules that would apply if the
employee were working within the licensed
office and except that a licensed collector or
solicitor may work outside the licensed office of
a collection agency." The change to Wisconsin
law became effective in March 2016.
For states that have not specifically
addressed this issue, collection agencies should
carefully evaluate state licensing and branch
office requirements to determine the feasibility
of employing home-based collectors, and
agencies should also contact state authorities
as to the permissibility of remotely located
collectors or other off-site staff.
State laws are constantly changing, and
debt collectors should stay abreast of changes
as they occur and adjust their business
practices accordingly. It's also important for
debt collectors to monitor legislative trends
in order to anticipate changes in other states'
laws that may be coming down the line.
Keeping up with these regulatory trends
can help agencies make proactive operational
adjustments, allowing for smoother transitions
as new business practices emerge. ACA will
continue to monitor developments at the state
and federal level, advocate for the interests of
the debt collection and credit industry, and
report legislative changes to our members.
Andrew Pavlik is ACA International's senior
compliance analyst.
For more detailed information on state
licenses and other state laws, ACA's Guide
to State Collection Laws and Practices is
available for purchase in the ACA Store at
www.acainternational.org/products/sg.

KEYNOTES

1

Since 2015, California,
Connecticut and the
District of Columbia have all
passed student loan servicer
licensing requirements.

2

Recently, Kansas and
Montana published
clarification on whether a
particular servicer license
applies to debt collectors
either in the statute itself or
regulatory guidance.

3

Three states have
amended their licensing
laws to provide exemptions
for home-based collectors.
23


http://www.acainternational.org/products/sg

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Collector - July 2017

Upfront
Industry News
Best Practices
FYI
Collection Tips
What’s in Your Policy?
State Licensing Laws: What’s New and Trending
The Question of Rule 68
Calendar
Honor Roll
Healthcare Data at Risk
ACA Members Meet in D.C. to Advocate on Behalf of Industry
Fixing What’s Broken
Credit Listening Considerations
U.S. Supreme Court Hands Collection Industry a Win in ACA-Supported Case
Compliance
ACA SearchPoint
Last Word
Collector - July 2017 - Cover1
Collector - July 2017 - Cover2
Collector - July 2017 - 1
Collector - July 2017 - 2
Collector - July 2017 - Upfront
Collector - July 2017 - Industry News
Collector - July 2017 - 5
Collector - July 2017 - 6
Collector - July 2017 - 7
Collector - July 2017 - Best Practices
Collector - July 2017 - 9
Collector - July 2017 - FYI
Collector - July 2017 - 11
Collector - July 2017 - Collection Tips
Collector - July 2017 - 13
Collector - July 2017 - What’s in Your Policy?
Collector - July 2017 - 15
Collector - July 2017 - 16
Collector - July 2017 - 17
Collector - July 2017 - 18
Collector - July 2017 - 19
Collector - July 2017 - State Licensing Laws: What’s New and Trending
Collector - July 2017 - 21
Collector - July 2017 - 22
Collector - July 2017 - 23
Collector - July 2017 - The Question of Rule 68
Collector - July 2017 - 25
Collector - July 2017 - 26
Collector - July 2017 - 27
Collector - July 2017 - Calendar
Collector - July 2017 - Honor Roll
Collector - July 2017 - Healthcare Data at Risk
Collector - July 2017 - 31
Collector - July 2017 - ACA Members Meet in D.C. to Advocate on Behalf of Industry
Collector - July 2017 - 33
Collector - July 2017 - 34
Collector - July 2017 - 35
Collector - July 2017 - Fixing What’s Broken
Collector - July 2017 - 37
Collector - July 2017 - 38
Collector - July 2017 - 39
Collector - July 2017 - Credit Listening Considerations
Collector - July 2017 - 41
Collector - July 2017 - U.S. Supreme Court Hands Collection Industry a Win in ACA-Supported Case
Collector - July 2017 - 43
Collector - July 2017 - Compliance
Collector - July 2017 - 45
Collector - July 2017 - ACA SearchPoint
Collector - July 2017 - 47
Collector - July 2017 - Last Word
Collector - July 2017 - Cover3
Collector - July 2017 - Cover4
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