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Do Trade Associations Matter? A Letter From the President

Oct 22, 2019 • NewsNo Comments

 

Do Trade Associations Matter?

As I write to you all in this season of change, ARA is preparing to launch serval major initiatives in this ever-changing industry. We have seen the chatter and the questions of late: Why do trade associations such as ARA even exist anymore? What is their place in this competitive climate?

Well, fellow members of the repossession industry, I argue to you that our association is more crucial now than ever. Beyond being one united voice for your interests, ARA is actively involved in legislative issues, compliance training and bringing money-saving insurance benefits to its members.

ARA’s latest insurance benefit, Worker’s Compensation, has received an outpouring of praise from those who have taken advantage of these savings. On the Hook Towing and Recovery, Indiana Recovery and Ideal Recovery have saved at minimum 15% on their yearly cost and most notably, Done Rite Recovery and Greenwood Recovery have saved more than 40% on their yearly cost!

Mike Peplinski at Harding Brooks, the dedicated ARA vendor member behind this initiative, let us know that he deeply appreciates and credits ARA’s new training programs for giving him leverage to broker deals and get ARA members the most affordable insurance programs.

The recent Worker’s Compensation initiative is just one in a growing roster of exciting announcements that will come out of ARA in the next few months. We encourage everyone in our industry to stay as involved as possible as ARA continues to build positive synergy and help establish universally accepted industry standards.

ARA is inviting all repossession agency owners to an in-person meeting in Dallas, Texas on Tuesday, November 5, where we will give an in-depth presentation that will outline current ARA initiatives. For those not able to attend in person, we will be holding webinars on Thursday November 14 at 3 p.m. EST/12 p.m. PST and Friday November 15 at 12 p.m. EST/9 a.m. PST to communicate these initiatives and answer additional questions.

I look forward to your participation and want to thank all of our members for your continued support and belief in our vision for the future of the industry.

Warmly,

Dave Kennedy

October Webinar – Creating a Culture of Safety: Taking Care of Yourself and Others On the Job

Oct 21, 2019 • NewsNo Comments

New Webinar – Taking Care of Yourself and Others On the Job

In Part 3 of our Creating a Culture of Safety series, we’re going to teach you how to take care of yourself and others on the job. In this webinar, you’ll:
  • Learn the basic first aid principles
  • Find out how to properly assess and help someone in need (i.e. when they’re bleeding, not breathing, poisoned, shock, etc.)
  • Tips to care for yourself
In our profession, because we often work alone, it’s critical to know how to take care of ourselves first and how to properly assist someone in need. To register for this webinar, click the button below!

Tuesday, October 29, 2019
1 P.M. CST

ARA is Recognized as a Training School in the State of Florida

Oct 17, 2019 • NewsComments Off on ARA is Recognized as a Training School in the State of Florida

The American Recovery Association (ARA) is pleased to announce that the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has approved ARA as a licensed Recovery Agent School and Training Facility. This recognition allows all future recovery professionals to gain the training required to receive a Florida license through ARA.

Along with the recently introduced ARA/RDN real-time compliance solution, this recognition from the state of Florida will allow ARA to offer all recovery industry stakeholders the ability to streamline how licensing and compliance are engaged and verified.

“It is an honor for Florida to acknowledge the strength of the ARA Field Agent Training Program and accept it as a viable choice for the training required to receive a repossession license,” said ARA President Dave Kennedy. “Through our continuing efforts to create an industry-wide solution for training, licensing and compliance, we believe that all industry participants will benefit.”

To build positive synergy and help establish universally accepted industry standards, ARA is inviting all repossession agency owners to an in-person meeting in Dallas, Texas on Tuesday, November 5, from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. CST, where an in-depth presentation will outline current ARA initiatives.

The meeting will be held at the Westin Dallas Fort Worth Airport, 4545 W John Carpenter Freeway, Irving, TX 75063. For those not able to attend in person, ARA will be holding webinars on Thursday November 14 at 3 p.m. EST/12 p.m. PST and Friday November 15 at 12 p.m. EST/9 a.m. PST to communicate and answer additional questions.

Improving Financial Results from Impound Recovery

Oct 16, 2019 • NewsComments Off on Improving Financial Results from Impound Recovery

Written by ALS Resolvion CEO and ARA Member, Michael Levison

Effective management of impound repossessions is challenging.  Impound yard operators are notorious for being difficult and, in many cases, unscrupulous operators.  The entire process consists of several unconnected parts and requires specialized expertise to handle effectively. If not handled properly, the process can be extremely expensive, or even worse, can result in the loss of your lien.

The article will examine the issues and highlight strategies that should increase your net recoveries on impounded vehicles.

VIN Monitoring

The first step in handling an impound is actually knowing that the vehicle that you are trying to recover has actually been impounded.  This may seem obvious but this is where most problems start.  While a party that is considering converting title is required to give the existing lien holder notice, the process is often delayed or ignored.  We also see many cases where the lender does not have clear procedures for identifying impound notifications.  All of this results in loss of time and when it comes to impounded vehicles, time is definitely big money.

To mitigate this issue, we recommend a couple of basic steps: (1) subscribe to a VIN monitoring service that has access to law enforcement information and other data that can give you early notification on potential lien losses and (2) establish clear internal procedures for acting on the information quickly.  Storage fees add up very fast so you want to establish contact with the lot immediately. Taking these basic steps to have a defined internal process and VIN monitoring system will not only reduce your storage fees but also make your impound recovery operations more efficient helping you save time and money.

Knowledge is Power

Impound lot operators have developed a pretty bad reputation for exploiting situations.  One of their favorite tactics is to charge fees that, under local regulations, they really are not allowed to charge.  This is where knowledge of local rules can be very valuable.  Admittedly, it is not always easy to find.  Rules can vary based on state, city, county, etc.  However, basic web searches can often yield the insight that you need.  Even if you don’t have the information, don’t hesitate to push back on the fees.  They are usually willing to negotiate.

If the fees are very high and you are convinced that you are being grossly overcharged, you may want to take (or threaten) a legal action known as an Interpleader Proceeding.  Under this approach, the fees demanded are placed with the court and then the court decides what is allowed.  Just the threat of going this route is often enough to persuade a bad operator to be more reasonable. Thus, in order to avoid paying higher fees for recovering impounded cars, equip yourself with knowledge of local rules or ensure you have an impound partner with expert negotiating skills.

To Pay or Not to Pay

It pretty common for impounded vehicles to have severe damage which obviously would materially reduce auction values.  Combine that with the impound fees, transport and auction-related fees and it does not take much to pull the transaction into the red.  Careful analysis should be conducted on borderline situations.  Spend a little money and send an inspector to take pictures and complete a proper condition report.  There are also multiple data sources that can give you pretty accurate estimates of value.  If it does not make sense, just let the lien go.

Rapid Impound Recovery

Speed of recovery is especially important when dealing with impounded vehicles.  Given the very high daily storage rates charged by many lots, just a few days of additional storage can make the difference when determining whether or not it makes sense to recover the unit.  Align yourself with vendors that can coordinate a pick up quickly regardless of location and who are willing to front the fees on your behalf.  Moving quickly, with the right partners, can add significantly to the net realized value.

Insurance Related Issues

Often times impounded vehicles are damaged and have active insurance coverages under which you are entitled to make a claim.  The opportunity is overlooked by many lenders.  Others attempt to pursue it but don’t really have the expertise to optimize the opportunity.  There are several firms that offer expertise in this area including our nationwide skip trace and repossession company, ALS Resolvion.

In addition to timely filing of insurance claims, it is good practice to audit the claims payment you receive.  The insurance company’s objective is to minimize payout and they have many ways to accomplish this goal.  Often times their decisions are subjective and/or made on inaccurate data.  One lender recently reported to us that simply auditing claims payments for accuracy added almost $300 in net proceeds to each impound recovery.  For a sub-prime lender, that is huge.

One last opportunity that can be pursued are excess proceeds that might be generated from a lien sale.  Legally, the party that successfully converted a lien is only entitled to the amount of the fees they claimed were owed.  If a sale of the vehicle generates amounts in excess of the amount due, it is supposed to be remitted to the lien holder.  Of course, in many cases this is not done voluntarily but some lenders monitor the issue and will pursue it when appropriate.

Summary

As this article has mentioned, there are many issues involved when it comes to recovering an impounded vehicle and different strategies to solve them.  Optimizing financial results from impounded vehicles is tricky business; however, the right processes and partners can make a big difference.

The Case for Unifying Industry Standards

May 20, 2019 • NewsComments Off on The Case for Unifying Industry Standards

 

 

People are buzzing about what’s happening at ARA. Joel Kennedy, Chief Operating Officer at TruDecision and NAF Association Board member, contributed a recent article in Non-Prime Times Magazine. This article is definitely something every Repossession Professional needs to read.

Since the partnership between NAF and ARA was formalized in 2018, the conversation around forwarders is shifting. Kennedy’s article contains important insights you need to understand regarding:

  • structural changes and technology
  • regulations
  • market changes
  • and positive signals for growth.

Read The Full Original Article Here

Letter from the Executive Director

Dec 5, 2018 • NewsComments Off on Letter from the Executive Director

We have learned a major insurance carrier servicing more than 225 agencies is leaving the space. Once again, our industry is facing a limited choice situation that will definitely create hardships for many agencies in the country.

It is important you immediately reevaluate your current coverages and carrier to be sure you will not be negatively affected in the short term.  This is especially true if you are covered by either Clear Blue or Falls Lake.  There are still a couple of options available – please be sure you have time to find the required coverages before you find yourself uninsured.  

We are aware of the need to continue to build relationships with carriers and develop programs that assure our members can find effective and affordable programs that serve their needs.  We have asked for a meeting with Harding Brooks Insurance Agency and their exclusive program through AmTrust (the carrier for ARA’s preferred insurance program).  Our conversations will be centered around discussing loss trends, what we are doing as an Industry to mitigate exposure, as well as the opportunity to strengthen this relationship.

Harding Brooks is rooted in this repossession industry and, with our united front, we will work to find insurance solutions for your business.

Sincerely,Les McCook
ARA Executive Director

ARA Compliance System: How-To

Nov 14, 2018 • News, Tools & InsightsComments Off on ARA Compliance System: How-To

It’s important you understand how to access the ARA Compliance System, as this is your portal into the critical documents, policies, and procedures you need as a repossession agent. Once inside the company or individual test portal, it’s important to review the study materials available, as each test is crafted to ensure your knowledge of the material. For your convenience, we put together a step-by-step guide to help you navigate your way through the compliance portal.

Step 1. Login Information

Do you have a login and password in order to gain access? If you don’t already have this information, please contact John Morgan by email at john@americanrecoveryassn.org or call him at (469)-212-0247. If you don’t remember your password, and yet remember the e-mail address associated with your account, you can still access your company profile.

Step 2. Gaining Access

You have one of two ways to enter your company’s compliance portal.

  1. Go to www.Repo.org. Find the top banner that reads “Compliance System”. Click the red tab to be taken to the login page.
  2. Go to www.aramembercompliance.com this will take you directly to your login page. If you previously had a login and password and have forgotten your password, simply hit the “Request Password” box. You will be directed to a second page. You will be asked for either your User ID or e-mail address. Once you provide that information, you will be emailed instructions for resetting your password to gain access.

If you still have not obtained access into your Member Dashboard, please contact John.

Step 3. Review Your Information

Before you start taking your tests, we recommend you review all of your available documents. Please ensure you have all of your needed compliance documents. Also, you may want to simply add items like your company policies and procedures manual, clean desk policy, or your W9 information.

If you need to enter more documents, please look at the top right-hand side of the member dashboard for the Document Upload box. You can pull documents from your computer and send them directly to John. No need to clip and paste.

Step 4. Review Training Topics

In the “Training” area, you will receive a comprehensive look at not only your training status, but you can review your entire company’s base of employees to see what tests they have taken. In the “Training Status” search filter, you can filter by vendor or training progress. When filtering by “training,” this will display the training you have yet to complete. When filtering by “Training log,” this will display the tests you have already taken. As an administrator who represents your company, we encourage you to take all available tests.

Step 5. View Study Guide

Let’s pretend you need to take the test on Bankruptcy, as shown above. You can start reviewing the information provided in the resources shown above. This is the same information you will be tested on later, so start by clicking “View Study Guide“. This will take you to another page, where you will see a PDF document that lays out important information.

Step 6. Watch Topic Webinar

Another helpful resource are the instructional videos that go in-depth and provide additional information on each topic. By clicking, “View Webinar” you will be taken to a new web page where you can watch the webinar.

Step 7. Start Taking the Test

Once you feel prepared, you can begin testing. Once you have answered all 10 questions, you can submit your answers. You must correctly answer 8 out of 10 questions to pass each test. You may take the test as many times as you need, but on the third failure, you’ll be logged out of the CCRS system for a 24-hour period.

We hope this information was helpful. Please reach out to us if you have any further questions on the ARA Compliance System or the CCRS certification.

Registration, Theme and Speakers Announced for 11th Annual North American Repossessors Summit™

Aug 20, 2018 • NewsComments Off on Registration, Theme and Speakers Announced for 11th Annual North American Repossessors Summit™

IRVING, Texas – August 14, 2018 – The American Recovery Association (ARA), in conjunction with headline sponsor, Harding Brooks Insurance, is excited to announce the theme, secured keynote speakers and early-bird registration for the 11th annual North American Repossessors Summit set to take place at the Omni Mandalay Hotel in Irving, Texas on April 18 and 19, 2019.

Seeking to address the ever-changing business environment and to help attendees conquer the fear of change, the NARS 2019 theme has been coined: Adapt, Conquer and Overcome: Accept the Marketplace, Face your Fears and Make Money.” The NARS planning committee swiftly and unanimously chose this theme for NARS 2019, thanks to their combined experiences from the lending, recovery agent and vendor sides of the industry.

“With the way the industry is structured today, it’s truly an ‘adapt-or-die’ situation for small business owners,” said ARA president, Dave Kennedy. “The speakers and education sessions at this year’s NARS will be heavily business-focused. We want to arm recovery professionals with the tools they need to change their strategy, embrace new practices and build a business they can eventually retire from or pass on to the next generation.”

Breaking records of past summit timelines, the committee has already secured two keynote speakers: Bob Burg, motivational speaker and bestselling business author, and Mike Sarraille, a former Navy SEAL officer.

A highly acclaimed speaker and the author of The Go-Giver, a Wall Street Journal and BusinessWeek Bestseller, Bob Burg will deliver a 3-hour business workshop at NARS 2019. Through this workshop, Bob Burg will teach NARS attendees profitable, business-building skills they can immediately take back to their businesses. Bob was named one of the 30 Most Influential Leaders by the American Management Association and one of the Top 200 Most Influential Authors in the World by Richtopia.

In addition to serving 15 years as a Navy SEAL officer and 5 years as a U.S. Marine and Scout-Sniper, Mike Sarraille is a graduate of the University of Texas McCombs Business School. Not only is he a leadership instructor and strategic adviser for Echelon Front, a management and consulting firm, but he’s also a recipient of the Silver Star, six Bronze Stars, two Defense Meritorious Service Medals, and a Purple Heart. According to Echelon Front, Mike Sarraille and his fellow SEAL members in the program “creatively interweave edge-of-your-seat SEAL and Top Gun combat stories with practical leadership concepts and principles.”

Early bird registration is now open for $375, a savings of nearly 25% off the normal registration fee. You can sign up for early bird registration at reposummit.com. ARA members can also purchase tickets for up to four additional staff members at a rate of $250 per person. Registration for exhibiting and sponsorship opportunities for NARS 2019 will be announced and open to the public soon.

About North American Repossessors Summit

The North American Repossessors Summit (NARS) is a 2-day conference for professionals in the recovery and remarketing industries to come together from across the country to address key issues impacting their industries and businesses. NARS provides an open and collaborative environment for these professionals to address industry challenges and complexities as a a way to build a foundation for the future. The summit welcomes recovery and remarketing specialists belonging to every type of professional organization and association across the country. For more information, visit www.reposummit.com.

ARA and NAF Association Team Up To Find Solutions To Compliance Issues

Jun 5, 2018 • NewsComments Off on ARA and NAF Association Team Up To Find Solutions To Compliance Issues

Fort Worth, Texas, June 05, 2018 – The American Recovery Association (ARA) and the National Automotive Finance Association (NAF Association) are excited to announce the results of their first joint effort to establish a minimum compliance standard for third-party repossession vendors.

Jack Tracy, Executive Director of NAF Association and Dave Kennedy, President of ARA

Together with a working group of NAF Association bank and finance company members, the leadership of ARA has sought to address the lack of standardization of compliance programs by setting forth the following goals:

  1. Create a set of baseline criteria for NAF Association members to use in the oversight, management, and auditing of recovery agents.
  2. Produce a standard list of compliance requirements for recovery agents to help them satisfy all of their clients.
  3. Streamline the process of 3rd party management for recovery agents specifically, resulting in lower costs for all parties.

“We want to create a significant solution for both sides of the auto-lending and recovery industries,” said Jack Tracy, executive director of NAF Association, “I look forward to our continuing relationship and mutual problem-solving.”

The resulting baseline standards encompass the key areas of vendor compliance:

  1. Owner / Business Regulatory Reviews
  2. Training
  3. Policies & Procedures
  4. Vendor Site Visits

“Achieving efficiency in the compliance and education platforms will be a monumental accomplishment for the industry and is something we have been striving to achieve for so long,” said Dave Kennedy, president of ARA, “It will eliminate costs and enable both sides to better utilize human resources. I am confident that, by working together, our associations can develop more programs that create major cost efficiencies for both memberships.”

For more information about ARA, its partnerships, and its member benefits, please visit repo.org.

 

About National Automotive Finance Association

The National Automotive Finance Association (NAF Association) supports its members and the industry with education, research, and information. Programs include Annual Below-Prime Auto Finance Conference; workshops and webinars; annual Below-Prime Automotive Financing Survey; Standards of Financial Reporting; and Code of Responsibility for the industry.

About American Recovery Association, Inc.

American Recovery Association (ARA) is the world’s largest association of recovery and remarketing professionals. ARA members specialize in locating and repossessing collateral on behalf of lending institutions, including banks, savings institutions, finance companies, credit unions, rental/leasing companies, and auto, truck, and equipment dealers. ARA is a nonprofit association whose members serve 27,000 national and international cities. All members are certified independent business operators. For more information, call 972.755.4755 or visit the website at www.repo.org.

AMERICAN RECOVERY ASSOCIATION SELECTED FOR EXCLUSIVE PARTNERSHIP WITH BRIDGECREST

Mar 14, 2018 • NewsComments Off on AMERICAN RECOVERY ASSOCIATION SELECTED FOR EXCLUSIVE PARTNERSHIP WITH BRIDGECREST

ARA announces partnership with Bridgecrest on training, vendor vetting

Irving, Texas, March 14, 2018 – The American Recovery Association (ARA), the world’s largest association of recovery and remarketing professionals, is excited to announce a new partnership with Bridgecrest. As part of this agreement, ARA will assist Bridgecrest in their vendor vetting, training and monitoring program.

“We are honored to be chosen as the exclusive training program by Bridgecrest and are happy to help reduce the cost burden on vendors,” said Dave Kennedy, President of ARA. “We still believe repossessors should only have to choose one training service, but until our compliance program is accepted by everyone, we are determined to provide the best value.”

ARA seeks to be a viable industry solution to the high cost of vendor training. This partnership is a major benefit to Bridgecrest’s current vendor network, as it significantly reduces the financial burden placed upon them.

For more information about ARA, its partnerships, and its member benefits, please visit repo.org.

About Bridgecrest

Bridgecrest Acceptance Company is a licensed third-party servicer, servicing loans for DriveTime and other affiliated finance companies. For more information on Bridgecrest Acceptance Company, please visit bridgecrest.com.

About American Recovery Association, Inc.

American Recovery Association (ARA) is the world’s largest association of recovery and remarketing professionals. ARA members specialize in locating and repossessing collateral on behalf of lending institutions, including banks, savings institutions, finance companies, credit unions, rental/leasing companies, and auto, truck and equipment dealers. ARA is a nonprofit association whose members serve 27,000 national and international cities. All members are certified independent business operators. For more information, call 972.755.4755 or visit the website at www.repo.org.

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