Collector - May 2018 - 26
She notes that while both the CFPB and
Federal Trade Commission are reevaluating
their policies and some of their critical
regulations, debt collectors who aren't
incentivized to do right by the consumer-
or who are incentivized solely based on
money collected-expose themselves to
consumer lawsuits as well as the scrutiny
of consumer protection agencies, including
attorneys general, who are not bound by
changes in Washington, D.C.
"Discovery in consumer financial
protection litigation continues to delve into a
collection agency's compliance management
system and related documentation, and
knowing and testing compensation
strategies to determine an agency's 'intent'
to protect (or the opposite) consumers
would be well within the scope of discovery
in FDCPA, FCRA or TCPA litigation
matters," Bender said. "From a compliance
management standpoint, whether or not the
CFPB uses the regulatory or enforcement
arrows in its quiver, litigation and regulation
at the state level will continue to be
important reasons to maintain and evolve
compliance management systems and to
keep an eye on the impact of incentives
and compensation programs on compliant
In fact, Mulvaney himself has stated that
the bureau will be relying on state attorneys
general to lead the way regarding conduct
evaluation and enforcement actions.
Now that we know why you should still be
focusing on promoting compliant behavior,
the next question is: How can you do it most
INCENTIVES VS. CONSEQUENCES:
WHICH IS A STRONGER
Rewarding compliant actions and handing
out punishments for repeated policy
violations are both commonly used
approaches to achieve desired behaviors on
the collection floor.
Incentives are a no-brainer, starting with a
simple, "You did a great job!" when you hear
a good call all the way up to lucrative
bonuses for consistently superior
Rewards work best when they
are tailored to your staff. Some
people are motivated by extra
vacation days while others
may prefer a free lunch.
To figure out what you
should be doing, send out
a quick employee survey
through a program like
SurveyMonkey or ask staff
to submit a list of their
favorite retail shops and
restaurants to make sure you're getting
desirable gift cards and other rewards.
Nonmonetary rewards are also valuable.
You could recognize employees with the
top compliance scores that month in your
company newsletter, in a staff meeting or on
a special board on the collection floor.
However, as Dennis Barton III, Esq.,
managing attorney with the Barton Law
Group, noted, "You must tie some level
of discipline or negative consequence for
a policy and procedure violation to their
bonus. You cannot just focus on and reward
Your quality assurance scorecard should
include a compliance section listing your
requirements for each call: Did the collector
identify the consumer? State the client
name? Give the call recording disclosure?
Some agencies opt to make the compliance
section on a scorecard all or nothing: if you
fail any piece of the compliance section, you
fail the whole scorecard.
In an education session at ACA
International's 2017 Convention & Expo,
Barton and Beth Conklin, account executive
at State Collection Services Inc., asked
audience members about the penalties they
impose for compliance violations.
One audience member said if his agents
fail more than half of their call reviews, the
company withholds half of the employee's
monthly bonus. Another noted that he
fined collectors $5 for every failed call
calibration, which worked to improve their
behavior for a long time-until it didn't,
and now instead when collectors score less
than 85 percent on their call calibrations,
they forfeit their entire monthly bonus.
Don't forget about your managers, who
should be actively working to ensure their
team is adhering to compliance expectations.
Consider how you will include them in
your incentive and/or disincentive program.
For example, managers might be docked a
certain percent of their incentive or bonus
if a collector on their team doesn't make the
minimum compliance score.
"It's very interesting when you start tying
compensation to good behavior-you'll
see your staff really start to pay attention to