Collector - February 2018 - 21
officer write a letter to all our clients
explaining what we were doing-even if it
may not have impacted their receivables."
THEY KNOW HOW TO
DELIVER BAD NEWS
People are creatures of habit, and convincing
them to change can be difficult. When
regulatory shifts require you to tweak a
policy or procedure, often the hardest part is
defending your interpretation of the law at
the operational level and getting buy-in from
the people who are actually implementing
the process. This is where strong leadership
skills and the ability to stand your ground
"Any time compliance gets involved, the
typical pushback from operations is: we're
not going to be able to collect," Rainbolt said.
"You have to bridge that gap and explain
that once we make this change and adapt,
we will find our place. It's also helpful to
always look at the positive takeaway of that
situation: they just don't understand. And
the sooner I can get everyone to understand
why we're doing this, the more effective we'll
be at implementation. When collectors really
understand why you have to do something,
they tend to do it without hesitation. It's
when or what they don't know that they start
to wing it, and for an agency 'winging it'
always spells trouble."
CCOs need to have the emotional
intelligence to read people and determine the
best way to communicate process changes.
"People get justifiably frustrated when a
new law or regulation comes out and it has
the potential to significantly impact business
activities," Lindauer said. "You have to put
your thinking hat on to decide how to redirect
that frustration and to productively discuss
changes. You want to do it in a way that's as
professional and positive as possible."
THEY ARE ORGANIZED
There's so much to juggle every day that
you can't do this job without strong time
management and organizational skills.
A CCO's to-do list is always a mile long,
and every item on it is critical to your
organization's risk management strategy.
"You need a task-oriented personality
to help you get through your list," said Jack
Brown III, president of Gulf Coast Collection
Bureau. "If you start jumping from one
thing to the other you'll be in the weeds very
quickly, in my opinion. That said, you also
need to be able to prioritize-something
may need to leapfrog to the top of the list.
Sometimes it can feel like you're drinking
from a fire hydrant when dealing with
Good CCOs have experience meeting strict
deadlines and maintaining at least a façade
of calm while doing so. Creating a system to
track proposed, in progress and completed
policy or procedure changes can also help
them stay on top of initiatives and detect
THEY HAVE JOB SECURITY
While the future direction of the CFPB
is unknown, the compliance officer's
place in the credit and collection industry
seems pretty secure, thanks to increased
scrutiny at all levels.
"The agencies that don't embrace
compliance will do one of two things in the
next 10 years: they will cease to exist or they
will consolidate. Basically, they will be left
behind," Rainbolt said. "You can't be that
one agency with five collectors who thinks
you'll hide under the radar. If your practices
are unfair, deceptive, abusive or illegal
sooner or later regardless of your size, you
will answer for it."
He noted that the biggest obstacles he's
had to overcome in his career are agencies
that resist change because they haven't had
a compliance issue yet.
"I get it, a CCO is expensive and many
agencies are struggling as it is, but there are
options available," Rainbolt said. "If you're an
agency owner, my advice is this: This is your
opportunity to come out ahead. Take the
opportunity while you have it and if you need
help or don't know where to start I'm happy
to help and so is ACA. Compliance can be
complicated to navigate, but we can do it."
Anne Rosso May is editor of Collector
CCOs must be able
to translate complex
requirements to employees
at multiple levels of the
The stakes are high,
and compliance officers
need to devote a lot of
time simply to keeping up
with evolving rules and
management skills and
keen attention to detail help
CCOs stay on top of a long
list of compliance initiatives.