The following is a guest post by Paul Kulas. The original version can be found HERE.
I recently spoke at the North American Repossessors Summit (NARS) and I couldn’t be more excited about what I see happening in the automobile repossession industry. The next generation of auto repossessors and skip tracers were in full force at NARS 2014. There were young people everywhere, the energy was great, there was real momentum towards co-opetition, Automatic License Plate Recognition (ALPR) was one of the hot topics.
A New Generation
Over the years I’ve been worried that the repossession industry wasn’t attracting any young blood. There were more and more gray hairs and not enough of the next generation coming up through the ranks. My concerns were quickly dismissed at this year’s NARS as there were a lot of young people and a lot of new faces. This is terrific and means good things to come for the industry.
Speaking of young entrepreneurs, meet Kimberly Herrington and John Russell, from Skips Financial Solutions. Kimberly and John are excited about the prospects of doing skip tracing for the repossession business. Young people should be excited about the repossession business. Last year new car sales were $588 billion. If 1% of the total sales goes to repo, that means the repossession business is worth 5.8 billion a year, excluding used cars and equipment. Repossessions is a big business and as the older generation moves on, there is plenty of room for innovation and growth from the younger entrepreneurs.
- Great turnout with over 400 attendees
- Attendees, including lenders, were able to address industry issues in an open and collaborative environment
- Very high quality speakers – attendee surveys came back and said they were very impressed with this year’s speakers
- First time a CFPB representative was featured at a recovery and remarking industry event
- More than $3,000 in raffle prizes from 30 different vendors was given away
- Over $11,000 was raised for the RABF
- $3,500 was raised for the NARS Scholarship Awards, given to 7 students – $500 scholarships.
Plenty of Energy to Change
NARS 2014 had a lot buzz and a sense of optimism. I think most of us in the industry feel like they endured enough with the crash of 2008. Most people I talked to felt generally optimistic to bullish about the next few years. There is a positive change happening in the industry and you could hear it in conversations and see it in well attended presentations, including mine, which you can view here.
One of the biggest changes I saw was with the announcement of Council of Repossession Professionals (CORP). I am impressed with the strides the industry has taken towards co-opetition. Over the years there has been plenty of talk about working together, but not a lot of execution. Now, it seems there is real momentum happening. Well done! Any big industry has co-opetition, I hope this momentum continues. If you have a beef with a colleague, settle it. If you all will work together, your business will grow and thrive — I promise you.
Watch out for Automatic License Plate Recognition Technology
I had the opportunity to do a presentation titled Privacy is Your Competitive Advantage and it couldn’t be more timely with the rise of Automatic License Plate Recognition (ALPR). Repossession companies should be way out in front of the issue, so they can demonstrate they are looking out for their clients best interest and maintaining privacy compliance. Forwarders need to understand that they are a non-bank entity and therefore could face direct examination from the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB). I’ll be writing more about ALPR from the perspective of a repossession company, client, or forwarder. Stay tuned.
NARS 2014 was a great conference and I couldn’t be more excited about connections BellesLink made with young and old in the repossessions industry. There are some great changes happening in the industry with plenty of optimistic energy behind them. It is my hope with the formation of CORP we can raise the industry to a higher, more profitable standard for everyone involved.
About Paul Kulas
Paul Kulas is the founder, and Head Belle Ringer, of Belles Camp Communications LLC and BellesLink.com. When Paul isn’t working he’s skiing or discovering his next big idea while playing in the mountains right outside Belles Camp’s door in Eagle, CO. | Connect on Linkedin