Collector- June 2018 - 44

RISKMANAGEMENT

A Service Milestone
ACA's Licensing Unit celebrates 20 years of helping
members meet state compliance standards.
By Janis St. Martin

L

ooking back at the first 20 years
of ACA International's licensing
service, one constant stands out. As
the service evolved, we continuously asked
the same question: "What will be most
helpful to our members?" That approach
never failed to point us in the right
direction.
The licensing service was our members'
idea. It was a logical progression. Collectors
Insurance Agency, Inc. (CIA) provided
statutory bonds to a majority of ACA's
agency members-bonds needed for their
licenses. ACA's Bond Unit had established
strong working relationships with the
various state licensing authorities and
members asked for our help with the
licensing process.
For two years, ACA staff worked to
lay the groundwork for the 1998 launch
of CIA's Licensing Unit. There were so
many decisions to be made and hurdles
to clear. CIA hired experienced licensing
professionals; put escrow accounts and
powers of attorney in place; established
various levels of service; selected a
reliable vendor for registered agent and
annual report services; partnered with
in-state managers; laid out the work and
communication flow with CIA's Bond
Unit and ACA's Compliance Department;
developed tracking systems; drew up
contracts; determined jurisdictional and
service fees; and filled out hundreds of
forms.
We gathered each state's forms for
qualifications, initial licensing, renewals and
amendments. Our automation was limited
back then so we created the forms manually,
adding the fields we would need. We'd get a
form "loaded" only to discover it had been
replaced with a newer form. If ever there
was a situation where we marveled at the

44

challenges
our members
face daily, this
was it.
Over time we determined
the right approach to our services
and developed automation. There were
so many talented people who worked behind
the scenes managing this incredibly heavy
lift. It's their efforts that brought us to where
we are today.
The industry's licensing requirements
are constantly changing. At one point
we hoped that the National Mortgage
Licensing Service (NMLS) might provide
some licensing uniformity, but each state
still has its own nuances. CIA's Licensing
and Bond Units work closely with the
NMLS, managing an entirely different set of
challenges for our member clients.
Our remarkable licensing and bond
representatives, our partnership with CT
Corporation and our daily collaboration
with ACA's Compliance Department provide
the finest service available to the accounts
receivable management industry, hands down.
The Licensing Unit is staffed with
professionals that take great pride in what
they do for their member clients. Licensing
Unit Manager Angela Butera said that she

often
receives calls from
members who are struggling to navigate the
NMLS database.
"They are frustrated and sometimes
unsure of where to start," she said. "I'm able
to take them through it step by step. It is
special when I know I've really been of help
to them, like a weight has lifted."
Jennifer Cleveland, senior licensing
representative, shared a similarly rewarding
experience. "I recently completed a change
of ownership and officers for a member that
is licensed nationally," she said. "It was a
really challenging time for them, and I know
they appreciated not having to worry about
their licenses."
Securing initial licenses and maintaining
the existing licenses of so many members
is challenging for the team but worth
it knowing that what they do makes a
difference. Our members agree:

ACAINTERNATIONAL.ORG


http://www.ACAINTERNATIONAL.ORG

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