FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
As we quickly approach the arrival of our 9th anniversary of the first North American Repossessors Summit (NARS), I thought I would reflect some on where we are today as an industry.
For starters, many of the people who attended the first conference are no longer in the business, and I am concerned many who attend this year’s event won’t be in business next year. There has been a noticeable contraction in the number of agencies around the country in the past year. The increased cost and lack of availability of insurance are two of the main reasons, but not the only ones. Have you seen the price to replace and/or maintain trucks in today’s world?
In the past five years, we have seen an appreciable drop in the overall recovery rates as a percentage of the active assignments. This means we are spending more of our limited resources on accounts that will not be recovered, and we are not going to see fees to help offset this expense. The downward pressure on repossession fees and the major reduction in many ancillary fees means what profit may have been in the system is being drained.
In addition, we are facing unprecedented difficulties in hiring and retaining qualified field agents. As the revenue has dropped, so has the ability to hire, train and incentivize high quality individuals. After all, we are talking about asking someone to do work that most won’t and to do it for substandard pay. Individuals with the skills necessary to be a successful field agent aren’t easily found, but when we do find them, they are deserving of a level of compensation to match those skills; never mind that they have to learn every law and regulation that governs this occupation, and there are more than a few.
These are only a few of the issues we are facing as an industry. Ten years ago I thought it was a great idea to create a conference where we as an industry could come together with clients and find solutions to all our needs. This industry is dependent on the success of both sides of the equation (lender and agency) – one cannot be successful alone and the well-being of both is why we started NARS. I believe this is even more relevant today.
With the advent of the CFPB, the relationship between lender and agent is even more important. Compliance has become the most dominant factor in our industry and is quickly developing into the most costly. Compliance monitoring and training has added a great deal to the overhead of a truly professional operation. We know there are ways to help, but we need the cooperation of our lending partners. They must understand the challenges our side faces and we must continue to address the compliance aspect they so desperately require.
I encourage everyone to take the time while at NARS to learn more about how this strategy can be advanced. I am sure you will find speakers who will provide you with valuable information that will help your company. There will be lenders there who care enough about the industry to be a part of this discussion. I can never emphasize enough how much I appreciate them for the time they have given us.
I look forward to seeing all of you in Irving; please travel safely.
American Recovery Association