Collector - March 2021 - 30

BUSINESSOPERATIONS

Increasing Collections with Changing Regulations
Panel discusses managing remote work and communication options, compliance and regulatory changes.
By Betsy Clarke

A

panel of industry experts met
toward the end of 2020 for a
thoughtful and wide-ranging
conversation addressing the challenge
of increasing collections in the midst of
changing regulations.
Kenneth Burke, director of marketing
for Text Request, an online text messaging
service for small businesses, moderated
a conversation featuring Issa Moe, vice
president and general counsel for ACA
International; Mike Bevel, director of
education for the iA Institute; and Mike
Gibb, CEO for Canvas Business Media.
Here are some highlights from their
comments on last year's challenges and what
we might be facing going forward.

REGARDING REMOTE WORK
At the beginning of 2020, working from
home was an option available to a limited
number of debt collection agencies.
When the COVID-19 pandemic caused
companies to stop on-site operations,
agencies were suddenly faced with brandnew obstacles to maintaining profitable
operations. When some states permitted
collectors to work from home, this
impediment became an opportunity:
* Work-from-home options deepened
the available talent pool because it
opened employment to people who are
homebound due to disability.
* While many companies expected
productivity to go down, it went up.
Some workers were so grateful to have
a job, they really focused; some workers
work better in the isolated environment
of their home.
* Some states, such as Maryland, are
loosening up licensing requirements.
They realize work from home is here
to stay and they are working to address
this need.

30

However, it became more challenging to
maintain compliance with respect to some
regulations when employees are working
from home:
* Your agency must ensure it tracks work
time accurately, paying correctly for
any overtime work.
* Managers must ensure employees are
taking breaks and must also audit
that recorded work time matches
collection activity.

* Should your web camera be on
all the time to monitor staff as
opposed to just recording calls?
This practice raises legal issues,
and you need to consider general
privacy law as opposed to industryspecific rules.
* If you want to use web cameras to
monitor work activity, make sure
your work-from-home policies
address this practice. Managers

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Collector - March 2021

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