Why Santander Chose CARS – Editorial Response from Mark Lacek


I read the recent editorial about Santander/Chrysler and I felt the need to respond from my point of view.

One of the questions in the article was why Santander/Chrysler chose the C.A.R.S. National Certification Program for ensuring that the recovery agents they hire are professionally trained. I am going to try to answer that question only.

It was 1977 when I repossessed my first automobile from one of the toughest neighborhoods in Cleveland Ohio. Since then I have repossessed thousands of autos. In 1989, I began to specialize in commercial repossessions.

There is a very considerable difference between servicing commercial repossessions and consumer repossessions and five years ago, I began the task of developing a national certification program exclusively for this unique part of the recovery industry.

There are three very critical aspects to developing any educational program; first, you must have the experience in that particular industry; secondly, you have to have the expertise to actually develop that certification program and, thirdly, you must find a source that has the expertise to promote and administer the program from promotion to final testing.  All of these steps require lots of time, effort….and money.

I have known Joe Taylor since 1985, when we worked together to create Florida’s State Recovery Agent Association. I have known Stamatis Ferarolis for about 15 years and both Joe and Stamatis have my complete trust and respect. I am a member of RISC and I am certified through the C.A.R.S. National Certification Program so I am familiar with their ability to promote educational programs and other important services to the recovery industry. And, I have seen firsthand how RISC has promoted and administered Alex Prices’ very popular Skip-Tracers National Certification Program.   I knew if I was going to create a certification program for the commercial repossession process I would need an experienced team like RISC to market my completed project.

From my experience in creating and publishing the Professional Repossessor Magazine, and as our magazine progressed in subscription, more and more “certification” programs began to be introduced to the industry, most were what I referred to as “rubber stamp” programs. Rubber stamp as in… send the money and a week later receive a diploma in the mail. Many of these certification programs were not worth the paper they were printed on. The truth is, I found absolutely no ability by these other platforms and programs to perform as RISC does. I also found that none of these programs had achieved national recognition and none of them were acceptable in Florida (where I live), or in other states that statutorily mandates certification for a recovery agent to obtain their license to service repossession assignments. I also looked at longevity and I found that the C.A.R.S. Program was introduced to the collateral recovery industry and the lending community in 1999; 17 years of vetting and success and RISC with 15 years of offering educational programs and a multitude of other products and services for the collateral recovery industry.

I am accepted as an expert in Wrongful Repossession litigation and have offered expert opinions in more than 15 Wrongful Repossession lawsuits.  As an expert witness, I have been asked to read hundreds of depositions from repossessors, lenders, debtors and others. While reading these depositions, I noticed the C.A.R.S program has been referred to as the “bible” of repossession industry standards on more than one occasion.

My experience in the field of expert witness testimony has made me very aware of the acceptance by courts across the country that the C.A.R.S. Program is, and has been for many years, accepted as proof of a recovery agent’s professional credentials.

It was an easy decision to reach out to Joe and Stamatis of RISC about promoting, administering and testing the certification program for commercial recovery agents. After reviewing the commercial recovery program, they immediately accepted my proposal. The end result is, I was able to use 30 + years of experience as a commercial recovery agent to create and author the Certified Commercial Recovery Agent National Certification Program. I am very pleased that, once I completed the program, RISC began immediately to promote, manage and offer the final testing.

My personal credentials include:  Former President of one of the largest state repossession associations with over 400 nationwide members.  Founder, editor and publisher of the most well-known repossession industry magazine.  I have been writing a monthly column titled RepoRun in the nationally respected American Towman Magazine for over four years, often promoting public safety and certification. I am a repossession agency owner and a professional recovery agent for 30+ years and am currently in the business of repossessing commercial collateral on a daily basis for my recovery agency.

I believe strongly in industry training and certification and I know that Public Safety is first and foremost in any and all service related industries, especially those industries that the courts have ruled have “inherent risks.”  In the repossession industry, the public is well served by a C.A.R.S. trained and certified recovery agent and a staff that is involved in the day to day operation of the self-help repossession process.

Many of us have been promoting training and certification for as long as we can remember and, finally lenders are mandating recovery agents and repossession agencies become professionally qualified thru the most widely proven and accepted training platform available which is the C.A.R.S. Program. Those of you who are speaking out against the Santander/Chrysler decision in choosing the C.A.R.S. Program are wrong in doing so, plain and simple.

Again, in my opinion, it was an easy and sensible decision for Santander/Chrysler to choose the C.A.R.S.  Program and RISC to ensure that the recovery agents they hire meet the professional training and compliance mandates needed to service their repossession assignments while also ensuring the public safety. At the end of the day, it is about protecting the lives of the public as well as that of the recovery agent.

In closing, my prayers go out to the recovery agents who are giving their time and compassion in helping in the aftermath of hurricane Harvey.  Their dedication to helping their fellow man should be recognized throughout the industry and a huge thanks to CUCollector in making this known.


Have a great day,

Mark Lacek

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