“Repos Gone Bad” – The Huffington Post Article


Dallas, TX – Mach 22, 2012 – I had just checked in at the Omni Mandalay in Las Colinas for the North American Repossessors Summit (NARS) when I received an email. The Huffington Post had just published an article about the state of the repossession industry titled “Repos Gone Bad: Are Big Lenders To Blame for Driveway Violence?” Having been one of many interviewed by Dave Jamieson, I confess some apprehension in what was to be published. Upon reading it several times, I felt that for the most, he got it right.

Read the article here!

Amongst those interviewed were myself, Mary Jane Hogan, President of the ARA, Joe Taylor of RISC, Debra Durham of Midwest Adjusters, Ed Marcum, President of RSIG and Patrick Altes of the TFA. Coming under direct fire were Lou Pizarro of “Operation Repo” and Kevin Flynn, CEO of Renovo. Despite Mr. Jamieson’s clear understanding of many of the major issues that trouble the repossession industry, I, as well as all of the others I had spoken to, admitted a similar apprehension that our words might be twisted against us. The Huffington Post is after all a notoriously left winged publication who could have painted a more negative picture of the predominantly conservative industry to satisfy their mostly liberal audience who include persons sympathetic to the National Consumer Law Center (NCLC), who had several years ago advocated the end of the self- help repossession process.

The article does paint an accurate picture of some of the problems that have plagued the industry for over a decade now. I also feel that it does a good job of illustrating the price the industry and the public have paid for the long time fragmentation of the industry and the lack of standards it has operated under nationally through the years. We all know how these have posed a danger to the public while undercutting the true and professional repossession companies, associations and men and women in the field who perform their duties safely while they struggle to maintain a decent living wage under constant financial pressure.

While he perhaps didn’t focus heavily on that point, he did point out well that not just anyone can make it as a repossessor and that it is hard and frustrating work as he found through his own experience. Take your hat off to the guy for stepping into your boots if for only couple of weeks. He did his homework.

My only disappointment was that perhaps he took the low road in highlighting the “Bill Jacobs” and “Tank Abbott” deaths, but then again, mia culpa, I’ve been fairly accused of the same by many people, so I am in no position to criticize. I can only assume this is for the general public, who were probably unaware of these incidents and maybe it does a good job of taking all of the laughter out of the Repo Reality/Tru TV shows and shows the reality of the consequences of poor employment screening and a lack of industry education.

While many of us might find it odd that a liberal publication would sympathize with the repossession industry, perhaps we are not as far apart as we might think. While long fashionable to slam the banking industry and Wall Street, it is interesting to say the least, that we find ourselves united in the observation that the price driven demands of the lenders are partially to blame for much that ills the repossession industry. When two opposing political segments recognize the same problems, there is obviously a problem and it is refreshing to share common sentiments and opinions.

With these observations in mind, we may find ourselves not only in communication with, but, in possible agreement with rumored focuses and requirements upon the lenders which could be imposed by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB.) Rumor has it that they were present at NARS in Dallas and attorney Michael Dougherty of Weltman, Weinberg & Reis Co. , LPA, has allegedly had discussions with them and provided some insight into their intentions for the repossession industry, but I’ll touch heavily on that later as it may again come as a surprise to everyone what their position is.

In closing, this has been a very busy week in repossession and collection news and I’ll do my best to get it all out to you ASAP.

Thank you,


Kevin Armstrong



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7 thoughts on ““Repos Gone Bad” – The Huffington Post Article

  1. Thanks Virginia! I’m glad to see the word is out not only in the industry, but on the streets and in teh press. This can’t be allowed to go on without rebuttal.

  2. I actually got to talk to (Lou from Operation Repo) on a radio talk show and I told him that what he is doing (is considered entertainment) but that it is also dangerous and shame on him. Loved this article on here Kevin.

  3. What is missing in the article is “Why” repossessors do what we do, rather than what we do…

    If the repossession industry ever wants to win back the hearts and minds of the lending community, they need to close the gap between us and the forwarders. Forwarders mostly sell the lenders on what they do and how much money they can save them.

    Lenders need to understand why we’re different from the forwarders. They need to know why we call ourselves professional, why we educate and train our members, why it cost so much to repossess in todays economy, and so much more.

    We need to get repossessors to understand the difference between selling lenders on the “Why” we do what we do, rather than the what we do; only then will we be able to enroll the lenders in who we are, why we work the way we do, and why they should chose us over the forwarders. This is when we will begin see the changes we all want.

  4. I’ve been in the repossession business for over 35 years and usually don’t like articles about it because they tend to be very inaccurate, but this writer seemed to really get a good feel of what’s happening today. When I got into this field in 1975, it paid very well because it was dangerous and you had to be skilled in many areas to do the job right. There was always the criminal element who wanted to get into this business because “steeling cars legally” sounded like something they would like. But the banks then (not the current mega-banks) understood that this was a dangerous and tricky business and they would not hire some under-skilled, potentially criminal agent to do their work.

    Something changed when the mega-banks came into existence. All of a sudden, repossessions were just another commodity that they worked very hard to get the absolute rock bottom price for. They talk a good game, like they are interested in their customers and everyone’s safety but they are not. Time and time again instances of violence come up, some as tragic as those mentioned in this article, which are directly traceable to the actions of these banks to not pay a professional to do the job right but instead hire people who will try to work for next to nothing and get forced into making very bad decisions. If these mega-banks don’t get their act together on this, they may find their right to self help repossession gone- and that will cost everyone a lot of money!

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