Reflections of AFA/RSIG 2013

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The first joint convention for Allied Financial Adjusters and RSIG is officially in the history books, and what a show it was! 400-plus recovery agents landed in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, from all corners of the United States. The mood of the event was upbeat from the moment it started to the final bell. The sunny beach location reflected the positive outlook for the industry’s future. The comfort and amenities offered by the Hyatt Regency Pier Sixty-Six added to the enjoyment. The Following are some highlights of the event.

Day one:

Most of the day’s events were focused on CFPB compliance and training.  This topic currently dominates the industry, so it is only natural that it would be given a top spot.  All of the national associations have consistently devoted great effort and resources to continuing education and training in all forms, from data management to personal issues in he past.  Now that third-party vendor compliance is a government mandate, the need for training and the access to it has changed the focus for those running the events and for the attendees. I believe the professionals in the industry will have a far easier time transitioning to the coming changes thanks to the preparations made available through gatherings of this magnitude and the combined resources that the national associations are able to bring to the table.

My perspective on whether the CFPB will sustain the bulldozing effect that it currently has on the industry is somewhat tinged by the known events of recent history.  As with any new regulation that is as broad-reaching and fundamentally impacting to an industry, challenges and subsequent changes (minor or otherwise) are usually to be expected.  I recall not long ago when the government went to battle in the software industry with Microsoft. Everyone expected the outcome to change the face of the industry forever. No one inside the beltway fully anticipated Microsoft being equally prepared, and better funded for that matter.  Yes, Capitalism won that battle.  While I acknowledge and adhere to the mandated guidelines, I’m also adopting a wait and see attitude, despite the fact that no one has yet drawn that line in the sand to raise a challenge.

Day two:

We were treated to many great speakers and seminars: “Laws, Regulations & Current Case” by Michael Howk, “Analytics & LPR Performance” by Chris Metaxas, “Keeping Your Clients Based on Service” by Keith Petit, and “The Affordable Healthcare Act” by Sean McGuire. The highlight of the day, at least for this writer, was the class taught by former FBI Special Agent Joe Navarro:  “Non-Verbal Communication”. During this two-hour class not one cellphone rang, and no one left their seat.  Mr. Navarro is the premier expert when it comes to body language, and the author of over twenty books.  The most recent: “What Every Body is Saying”. His books and seminars should be mandatory for anyone in the auto recovery world!  Putting into practice his methods and teachings will save lives and make anyone more effective in our field.

As always I am looking for ways to improve my skiptracing abilities and bring that knowledge to my fellow brother and sister tracers.  I had a few moments at the end of the day to spend some time with Mr. Navarro.  I have been following his writings in all formats from his books to his blog at www.jnforensics.com. He often teaches about non-verbal ‘tells’—the subconsciously driven clues that present themselves through body movement.

When I spoke one-on-one with Mr. Navarro, I explained to him that skip-tracers never actually have direct contact with our subjects.  For that matter, at the end of an investigation that is handled correctly, the subject does not even know they have been located.  So we naturally rely on our listening skills, carefully noting any audible ‘tell’ such as a pause, a stutter, noise in the background, anything to give us an edge during an interview.

I asked Mr. Navarro if he had done any studies on verbal tells.  He recommended two books by a retired FBI Agent, John Schafer Ph.D., who had done a great deal of work in the area:  “Advanced Interviewing Techniques: Proven Strategies for Law Enforcement, Military, and Security Personnel”, and “Psychological Narrative Analysis: A Professional Method to Detect Deception in Written and Oral Communications”. I have already finished reading the first of his books, and can’t wait to read it again and really dig into it this time and take some notes. Only then will I begin working on soaking everything up on the second book. Both of these books should be in every skip-tracers library! If you ever have the opportunity to see Mr. Navarro in person, please do so.  You will learn more in a couple of hours than most will in a lifetime on this subject.

Day Three:

We were all treated to a four hour seminar on Open Source Investigations by my dear friend Michele Stuart of Jag Investigations.  Ms. Stuart has no equal in the field of Internet Profiling and is always a joy to hear.  Even after my 27 years as a skip-tracer I learn something new each and every time she teaches.  Make it a point to go to one of her live classes, or at the very least attend one of her online webinars.   You can learn more about her webinars at RSIG.com.

In Summary:

Everything about this event was a success in my opinion, from learning new techniques to seeing old friends and meeting new ones! I would like to thank the board of AFA and RSIG and its members for allowing me to be a small part of the event.  Now it is on to Dallas, Texas for the NARS conference. I can’t wait to see what they have in store for the industry. This week certainly proves that even though business is slow and many are hurting we will overcome and prosper “RECOVERY NATION” is alive and well and is ready to be stronger than ever before!

 

Until Next Time… Be Safe, Be Blessed and Happy Hunting!

Alex Price

alex_price_1

 

Alex Price is a nationally-recognized expert on the Art of Skip Tracing and author of Skip Tracers National Certification Program with over 25+ years of experience in skip-tracing, collections and public speaking.  Alex began his career with Barnett Bank as a field representative collecting past-due accounts. He then moved to World Omni Finance, where over the next ten years he worked in all aspects of collections and handling the nationwide charge-off skip portfolio.

 

Contact Info:  alex.price@masterfiles.com , Office: (972) 735-2353, Fax: (972) 735-2354         

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