While I certainly don’t claim to have a crystal ball, based on projected economic reports, we can expect the auto recovery and auto sales industries will have a slow 2010. Unemployment is still at a record high and economic uncertainty still exists.As a result, many people are holding on to the cars they have. From our perspective, this means the pipeline of auto loans from the subprime boom are getting older and thus are less likely to fail. Hence, there will be less recovery work for our businesses. To capitalize on new business opportunities, become a better partner to lenders and secure our industry’s future, I believe in two things – unity and technology.
Joining forces and forming one association, a cohesive industry, would allow us to form a stronger relationship with lenders and have a collective power to lobby for appropriate legislation. The possibilities of a single, strong association could bring value beyond belief to the businesses of its members. Doing so would help ensure our livelihoods against multi-conglomerates that are moving to put our small businesses out of work completely. 2009 saw a handful of “false starts” toward industry unification. I encourage all of us not to get discouraged and continue these discussions in 2010.
Technology is another area that will be key for our industry in 2010. I strongly believe License Plate Recognition technology will help us recapture control of our businesses. Historically, our industry has been slow to adopt technology. Our businesses were doing just fine without technology and the upfront investment is substantial. That said being said, times have changed. One of the goals the American Recovery Association has for 2010 is to work to make all recovery agents understand the importance of keeping up with technology. The 2010 North American Repossessors Summit will have several sessions dedicated to all facets of technology – from office operations to technology that supports drivers out in the field.
Our jobs were always hard. In this economic climate, they are incredibly difficult. Now is the time to buck the status quo, to challenge our businesses, and ourselves, and secure the industry we, and our forefather and brother repossessors, built before us. We are standing at a time when unity and knowledge of current technology are our best weapons to keep from losing our industry to a monster conglomerate.