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Recapping Top ACA Daily Articles in 2019

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Recapping Top ACA Daily Articles in 2019

2019 was a banner year for advocacy and legal accomplishments in the accounts receivable management industry and landmark news such as the release of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s proposed debt collection rule, U.S. Supreme Court decisions on the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, state laws on data privacy and consumer protections, and much more.

Here are some of this year’s most significant and well-read stories published in ACA Daily:

January 2019

New York Law Outlines Requirements for Collection of Decedents’ Debts

A state law outlining legal obligations of debt collectors working with the family of a deceased debtor took effect in March 2019. The New York State Collectors Association tracked and worked on more than 100 bills during the legislative session, including the law on decedents’ debts.

Government Shutdown: ACA Comments on Role of Industry Outlined in Letter to House Financial Services Leaders

In a letter to House Financial Services Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters, D-Calif, ACA International commented on the federal government shutdown while noting the benefits of consumer-creditor communications during times of financial hardship. Waters penned a letter to leaders at financial services industry trade associations and credit bureaus seeking information about their efforts to help consumers impacted by the shutdown. ACA urged the committee to consider the importance of an ongoing dialogue with consumers facing financial hardship.

“ACA members have long worked to engage in open communication with consumers about their financial situations to help provide solutions for resolving debts. Consumers need the information that ACA members provide them to maintain their financial health, and open communication can often lead to the most favorable outcome for them,” said CEO Mark Neeb in response to the letter.

February 2019

ACA Member Defeats FDCPA Claim Involving Medical Debt Credit Reporting in Case Supported by ACA’s Industry Advancement Program

The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals handed the accounts receivable management industry a significant win when it ruled unanimously that ACA International member Medical Business Bureau, LLC did not misrepresent the “character” of the consumer’s debt when it reported to consumer reporting agencies. The appellate court concluded that Medical Business Bureau was not liable under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act for how it treated the consumer’s indebtedness for credit-reporting purposes because the credit report was factually correct.

ACA supported its member’s initiative to obtain this important, precedent-setting FDCPA decision positively impacting ACA’s members and the accounts receivable management industry by providing Industry Advancement Funds to help defray the cost of litigation as well as filing an amicus brief.

Parties Settle Crunch San Diego LLC v. Marks

The parties in Crunch San Diego, LLC v. Marks reached an agreement to settle the case related to the definition of an autodialer. Now the U.S. Supreme Court will not consider Crunch San Diego, LLC’s request that it review the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal’s decision that the web-based platform the gym operator used to send promotional text messages to its members’ and prospective customers’ cell phones may be subject to the TCPA’s autodialer restrictions because it “stores numbers and dials them automatically to send text messages to a stored list of phone numbers.”

March 2019

U.S. Supreme Court Debates Deference to FCC TPCA Order

The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in a case focused on the Federal Communications Commission’s interpretation of an unsolicited advertisement under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act—one that could have major implications on the law. In the case, PDR Network, LLC v. Carlton & Harris Chiropractic, Inc., a chiropractic office brought a class action lawsuit against a publisher of a widely-used compendium of prescribing information for prescription drugs, alleging the publisher violated the TCPA by sending an unsolicited offer for a free e-book by fax.

Daily Decision Deep Dive: ACA Member Secures FDCPA Victory in Illinois District Court

The Northern District of Illinois issued an industry favorable decision on the issue of overshadowing. In Thompson v. Harris & Harris, the court found that the validation letter and one subsequent voicemail did not overshadow the consumer’s validation rights. Aside from being an industry win, this case illustrates the delicate balance that must be achieved between the consumer’s right to dispute the debt within the 30-day period and the debt collector’s right to demand payment. The letter discussed in this case found that balance by providing the consumer with payment options without creating a false sense of urgency that would confuse the consumer into thinking she has to pay the debt without the ability to dispute it.

April 2019

CFPB Releases Consumer Report After Reviewing 25,000 Public Comments

Following requests for information (RFIs) on complaint reporting practices and complaint inquiry handling processes, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau released an informative report showing that by the end of 2018, only 1 % of debt collection complaints were pending with the consumer and 2 % were pending with the bureau. The bureau received over 25,000 public comments on the RFIs related to reporting practices and handling processes, including comments from ACA International. ACA has long held the view that the bureau’s reporting and handling processes mischaracterize complaints against the accounts receivable management industry, particularly in reference to its failure to contextualize the number of complaints as compared to the number of contacts the debt collection industry makes to consumers over a given year.

Federal Court Strikes Down Exemption in TCPA for Government-Backed Debt Calls

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit ruled an amendment to the Telephone Consumer Protection Act allowing calls with autodialers for government debt is unconstitutional. The court’s ruling in American Association of Political Consultants v. FCC was issued as ACA International and the accounts receivable management industry continue to await clarity from the Federal Communications Commission on the definition of an automated telephone dialing system (ATDS.)

May 2019

CFPB Alleges Consumer Law Violations by Large Credit Repair Companies

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau took a major step toward eliminating predatory practices from the credit and collection space by filing a lawsuit against defendants operating two of the largest credit repair companies in the United States. According to the complaint, the defendants violated multiple consumer protection statutes, including the Consumer Financial Protection Act (CFPA) and the Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR), by charging consumers unlawful advance fees in connection with credit repair services and by marketing and telemarketing those services through deceptive representations.

CFPB Releases Long-Awaited Proposed Debt Collection Rule

On May 7, 2019, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau finally released its long-awaited proposed rule for the debt collection industry. The release of the proposed rule signals the biggest development in the accounts receivable management industry since passage of the FDCPA nearly 40 years ago. ACA’s CEO, Mark Neeb, and other members of the ACA executive team attended a CFPB’s field hearing. It should be noted that the proposed rule addresses a number of key issues about which ACA International has long sought clarity, including safe-harbor procedures for the use of voicemail messages, text messages and email. The proposed rule also provides more clarity on the requirements for a validation notice, including a model form for a validation notice. ACA is pleased that the CFPB chose to address the use of modern technology and communication, which have long been a source of great frustration for debt collectors.

Look for the remaining top articles of the year in ACA Daily in the coming days as well as highlights from Collector magazine in 2019.

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California’s vague new financial regulation law – Orange County Register

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Assembly Bill 1864 didn’t get much media or public attention as it zipped through both houses of the Legislature on the last day of the 2020 session.

Superficially, it appeared merely to reconfigure the state’s financial regulatory agencies into a new entity called the Department of Financial Protection and Innovation.

However, those in California’s vast financial industry were paying lots of attention because the bill creates an entirely new regulatory regime with broad powers, including fines of up to $1 million a day, to police financial players that hitherto have had little oversight.

The official rationale for the legislation is that President Donald Trump’s administration neutered the federal Dodd-Frank Wall Street Consumer Financial Protection Act of 2010, so the state must step in with an equivalent to guard against predatory financial practices that harm consumers.

The new California Consumer Financial Protection Law gives the reconstituted agency authority to go after “abusive practices” whose definition in the law is fairly vague. Thus, the agency itself will define the term as it also decides which businesses will face its scrutiny.

It appears that the new law will affect firms involved in debt settlement, credit repair, check cashing, rent-to-own contracts, payday lending, student loan servicing and financing for retail sales. However, its primary target seems to be financial services offered by non-banks, particularly what are called “fintech companies” that offer bank-like services via the Internet without maintaining physical offices.

Fintechs, many of them based in the San Francisco Bay Area, have blossomed in recent years as part of the digital economy, competing with traditional brick-and-mortar banks. Their disruptive nature is not unlike the challenge that technology-based ride services such as Uber and Lyft pose to taxicabs and buses.

Late-blooming changes in AB 1864 exempted traditional financial firms that are already regulated, such as banks and credit unions, from the new consumer protection law, leading some analysts to conclude that its unstated aim is to help them stave off competition from new kids on the financial block.

The vagueness of the new law was encapsulated in what Gov. Gavin Newsom said during a signing ceremony. The new law and the new department, he said, will “create conditions for innovation to flourish in a way where we can steward that and we can just work against its excesses. So we support risk-taking, not recklessness.”

Newsom also signed two other financial protection measures, one that requires debt collectors to be licensed beginning in 2022 and the other creating a Student Loan Borrower Bill of Rights.

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Erie Homecoming 2020 to take place virtually

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Erie Homecoming 2020: “Erie’s Economic Evolution” is happening this week.

Erie Homecoming is an event that shares the vision of where we are going as a business community and the specific projects that will be taking us there.

Yoselin Person was live outside of the Erie Regional Chamber to tell us more about what’s taking place at this year’s homecoming.

Get your favorite hot drink because Erie Homecoming is happening virtually. 

Rooms full of people just aren’t happening in the midst of a pandemic, so Erie Homecoming is an event that will inspire you from comfort of your home or office.

The purpose of homecoming is to give attendees the opportunity to learn how they can invest in the Erie community.

During this two day event, you will be able to learn how you can invest the time, talent and treasure in creating a more diverse and prosperous Erie community.

Erie’s Black Wall Street will be featured this year. It’s a nonprofit organization that’s known for improving black business.

“So, having it geared towards helping black businesses expand and spread their wings, I think that’s amazing,” said Alexandria Ellis, owner, She Vintage.

Ellis began her business six months ago. She says Erie Black Wall Street is a safe space where black entrepreneurs can connect and collaborate with others.

The organization also helps others with credit repair.

“They’ve helped me by connecting me with resources if someone is looking for a nail tech or a boutique that’s black owned, they have connected customers of their clients to me through their organization,” said Ellis.

Speakers from the black owned organization will speak about creating regional equity.

There will also be a discussion about Flagship Opportunity Zones and what it means in terms of tax and other investment incentives.

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RiverBend Growth Association announces new members | Business

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RiverBend Growth Association encourages use of face coverings

The RiverBend Growth Association announces its new members:

5 Diamond Campground

Brian Campbell and Matt Diamond

2 Fun Lane

Hartford IL 62048

(618) 254-1180

facebook.com/5-Diamond-Campground-103976501423687

Alton Pride Inc.

Jason Heeren, director of sponsorship

P.O. Box 662

Alton IL 62002

(618) 204-7420

https://altonpride.com

Alton Pride is a charitable and educational organization established to bring awareness, understanding, and advocacy to the LGBTQ+ community with an emphasis on the specific needs of the youth within the community. We are setting ourselves apart from other Pride organizations by focusing on giving back to our community, rather than hosting just a parade or festival. We will be depositing a majority of event proceeds into a structured account funding our goal to develop a local teen suicide prevention line and a teen resource center to help youth in need.

 

Imo’s Pizza – Bethalto

Lori Bromberg, president/treasurer and managing partner

515 N. Bellwood

Bethalto IL 62010

(618) 258-0011

www.imospizza.com

Bethalto Imo’s is owned by Charles and Barbara (Babs) Pelan. Barbara was a nurse and Charles has had a varied career but has always had an entrepreneurial spirit. He and Babs purchased the Bethalto Imo’s in 2013 and seeing the success of the brand and the store in Bethalto were anxious to purchase the Edwardsville Imo’s franchise in 2014.

Their daughter, Lori Bromberg, is the managing partner and provides leadership and daily oversight to the business. Lori has a bachelor of science degree in management and has 31-plus years in corporate leadership roles, including customer experience, supply chain, distribution strategy, change management, hr/talent management, training and safety. Lori also is a certified mentor for SCORE providing mentoring and coaching to small businesses.

While it is our goal to have a financially successful business, we believe the cornerstones to achieving success is ensuring a superior product and customer experience, investment in our employees, positive contributions to our community, while demonstrating a strong commitment to safety. We pride ourselves on our commitment to Imo’s corporate mission, “To maintain the Imo’s tradition of uncompromising quality, pride in Imo’s products, and passion for success and for customers to experience a genuine, original St. Louis pizza of the highest quality, served in a pleasant atmosphere or at home, so that they too will have reason to say: “Imo’s is my favorite pizza.”

If you frequent our Bethalto location, we will be moving down the street a little over a mile, still on 111, within the next month or so.  We will continue to have delivery and pick-up as well as offer new patio seating.

 

Lewis and Clark Community College Foundation Inc.

Mark Kratschmer, president

5800 Godfrey Road, ER 0210

Godfrey IL 62035

(618) 468-2010

www.lc.edu/About_the_Foundation/

The Lewis and Clark Community College Foundation is a nonprofit corporation organized under the laws of the state of Illinois. The foundation supports Lewis and Clark Community College and its students through scholarships, awards, and other assistance.

Piasa Body Art

Cody Hinkle, owner

560 E. Broadway

Alton IL 62002

(618) 462-1720

Alton’s best body art shop, offering tattoos and piercing services. Now with The Salon for all your hair care and barbering needs!

Prosper Credit Consultants

Jerheart Huntley, owner

525 Wyss Ave.

Alton IL 62002

(877) 503-7465

prospercreditconsultants.com

Credit repair that works! Prosper Credit Consultants uses the most innovative processes to make sure our clients are educated on how credit repair works! Prosper Credit Consultants is dedicated to educating our clients on how to get and keep good credit! We have become a one-stop shop for all things from credit repair, building credit for beginners, trade lines, putting our clients in position to purchase that new car, and home they want. Give us a call (877) 503-7465 or set up a free credit consultation.

The RiverBend Growth Association is the chamber of commerce and economic development organization for the 12 communities known as the Riverbend.  For more information about the Growth Association, visit www.growthassociation.com or call (618) 467-2280.

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