Collector - March 2018 - 40
Break It Down
How members can leverage data from ACA's new Ernst & Young
survey to support their business.
By Anne Rosso May
hird-party debt collection
has a positive impact on
America's national, state and
local economies. As a debt collection
professional, you probably already knew
that. You know who doesn't know that?
Pretty much everyone else.
In December 2017, ACA International
released the results of the new Ernst &
Young survey, The Impact of Third-Party
Debt Collection on the U.S. National and
State Economies in 2016. Based on industry
data from 2016 contributed by ACA
members, the report analyzes the industry's
impressive contribution to employment,
asset recovery and other economic and
Collector magazine talked with Josh
Adams, Ph.D., ACA International's director
of research, to find out why ACA's new
survey is so important and how it can help
advance member interests.
What is the Ernst & Young Survey
and Why Does ACA Commission
The Ernst & Young survey provides
objective data, collected and analyzed
by a third-party, that ACA can use in
response to a variety of inquiries from the
media, regulators, consumer groups and our
The Impact of Third-Party Debt Collection
on the U.S. National and State Economies in
2016 report uses data to create key metrics
that provide an overview of the third-party
debt collection industry in the U.S. ACA
International previously commissioned
Ernst & Young to conduct these surveys in
2010 and 2013.
The Ernst & Young report provides data
for two broad metrics: industry size and
economic impact. Data for industry size
provide metrics for total debt recovered,
including commissions and fees; debt returned
to creditors; average account sizes; types
of debt collected by market segment; and
overall employment within the industry. Data
for economic impact provide metrics for
jobs, compensation, and economic activity
associated with collection agencies; direct
federal, state, and local taxes generated by
debt collection agencies; and charitable giving.
What are Some of the Key
Findings From the Survey?
Key findings in the new Ernst & Young
report address the important role
the industry plays in the overall economy,
including the recovery of assets, job creation
and taxes paid by collection agencies.
The report shows that $78.5 billion in
outstanding debt was recovered in 2016.
Additionally, the collection of consumer
debt provides a valuable benefit to American
households. Based on a net value of $67.6
billion recovered and returned to creditors,
third-party debt collection efforts represent
$579 in savings on average per household by
keeping the costs of goods and services lower.
Furthermore, third-party debt collection
agencies directly employed 129,262 people,
with a payroll of $4.9 billion. Indirectly, the
industry influenced the creation of more
than 89,000 jobs. As a result of this robust
economic activity, third-party collection
agencies and their employees paid $852
million in federal taxes and $677 million in
state and local taxes.
How Does ACA Use the
The data provided by Ernst &
Young enable ACA to gain a better
understanding of the current industry
landscape and it is used extensively for
advocacy, member education, public
relations, industry research and marketing.
The data in the reports have been the
foundation of many one-pagers, reports
and white papers. All of these resources
are integral to ACA's advocacy efforts and
provide targeted and clear materials that
ACA can share with legislators, regulators,
and the media, as well as our own
How Can Members Use
In much the same way as ACA.
Members can share these findings with
their state legislators and U.S. Congressional
representatives, as well as regulators and
the media, to demonstrate the value and
contributions of the industry.
ACA also provides this data to members
so they can be informed about the overall
economic impact and current state of the
third-party debt collection industry.
Anne Rosso May is editor of Collector
To review the complete ACA/Ernst &
Young report, "The Impact of Third-Party
Debt Collection to the National and
State Economies in 2016," visit