Las Colinas, TX – March 27, 2012 – For those of you that weren’t present at this years North American Repossessors Summit (NARS), you missed the most direct and open dialogue about industry about merger and industry unification ever, and believe it or not, there was complete agreement. And the conclusions might surprise you.
As previously mentioned, the highlights of the two day seminar were the panel of industry leaders Mary Jane Hogan (ARA), George Badeen (AFA), Patrick Altes (TFA), Ed Marcum (RSIG) and Jennifer McDaniels (NFA) and their moderated and open question and answer period on the topics of “Acting on the Challenges of Our Industry – From Talk to Action” on Friday and “What Should You Expect from An Association or Industry Organization?” which was conducted on Saturday. There were some edgy moments between some of the speakers, who were otherwise very cordial and complimentary of each other, but the five leaders shared at least one new and major concept in common.
Of course there were various points of view on matters such as forwarding and as expected the topic of mergers and unification came up. George Badeen stressed the urgency of the need for unity in some manner when he said “It’s the right thing to do, if we don’t come together, we won’t have an industry.”
One major topic in question was, are the major repossession associations “trade associations” or more modeled to be “marketing associations.” After some discussion, what became clear to all and what they all agreed, was that they are not by clearest definition “trade associations” and that the “founding fathers” of these associations did not create them to be trade associations which would be needed for any meaningful united lobbying at the political level.
As Patrick Altes (TFA) read from Wikipedia “A trade association, also known as an industry trade group, business association or sector association, is an organization founded and funded by businesses that operate in a specific industry. An industry trade association participates in public relations activities such as advertising, education, political donations, lobbying and publishing, but its main focus is collaboration between companies, or standardization. Associations may offer other services, such as producing conferences, networking or charitable events or offering classes or educational materials. Many associations are non-profit organizations governed by bylaws and directed by officers who are also members.”
By day two, the reality that the current association models were not created to serve as true “trade associations” all of the speakers, while not speaking for their boards of directors, agreed that what was needed was a true “entity or congress” that all of the associations supported by not only all of the associations, but extended to others outside of the associations, which was estimated as more than 70% of the four thousand believed repossession agencies and their employees. The idea of industry unification was recognized by the speakers as one that will need to be done outside of the standing associations.
An emphatic Jennifer McDaniels stated, “You deserve an association that works to preserve, promote and protect the industry and not the individual member “You need a true industry association that that raises the bar, that creates reliable statistics in a critical way. That creates standards, definitions, and are experts in publication.” A supportive applause followed her full speech which detailed her vision.
What was also disclosed was that the four speakers from the associations on the panel had been in contact with each other before and plan to meet or speak regularly and work together to move forward with some of the ideas discussed between them at this seminar.