While it might seem highly unusual for our “Member Highlight” to feature a sitting ARA President, we felt it was important to showcase how dedicated Dave has been to serving everyone. Not only has he committed countless hours and personal expense into continuing his education to better serve our association, but Dave has also taken a series of safety classes to improve the quality and diversity of our field agent training modules. There is no doubt that our training program is one of the best.
On top of all he is doing as our President, Dave spent considerable time playing Santa for various charitable organizations in his community. It is always heartwarming to see the pictures and hear the stories of how the children and families appreciate the way he keeps his wonderful Santa Claus figure all year. That is how committed Dave is!
We realize our members are facing challenging issues to their very existence. Our entire Board is dedicated to creating a better future for our entire industry, but Dave is working overtime behind the scenes to form new partnerships and find strategies that will directly benefit your bottom line. In fact, you will be receiving a series of emails outlining some of these plans over the next few weeks, and Dave has been instrumental in bringing them all to pass.
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.
ARA Executive Director
This month we’d like to highlight Patrick J. Altes, the newest addition to the ARA Board of Directors, after our recent merger with Time Finance Adjusters. Patrick started in the repossession business in 1974, shortly after high school, as a part-time employee at his father’s repossession business. Initially, he had planned to get a “real job” after graduation, however, as many of us know, his dad, Harvey C. Altes, was quite a legend in the industry and Patrick was quickly drawn into the family business.
Patrick was able to pick up some of his father’s skills along the way and the father-son duo worked together working for some interesting non-repo-related clients on investigation and research, including nationally-known attorneys and celebrities. For many years they worked as researchers for CBS TV’s “48 Hours” TV show.
Over the years, Patrick developed the “international” aspect of his repossession agency, Falcon International while also working with Time Finance Adjusters, helping his sister, Nicki Merthe, with the management of that great organization. Patrick’s main role there was that of an industry advocate. He has been a writer, blogger, and point-of-contact for the mainstream media, to advocate for the professional repossessor and the worth and value of their services. Patrick has fought hard against practices, like contingent repossession work, which he believes to yield dangerous, unprofessional results that don’t best serve the lender, their proxies, or the consumer. After having done this for so many years with TFA, it is especially exciting for him to now partner with the “new” ARA in being a united, single voice for the industry.
In his free time, Patrick is a musician and worship leader at his church and has been involved with the music for over 27 years. Patrick still does photography and a little video production work and has been married to his favorite person, Sharon, for 37 years. They have 5 tremendous grandchildren. They work hard to be a big part of their lives, hopefully in a positive way. Patrick believes that will be his legacy, undoubtedly more enduring, and important than whatever else he has done or will do in the world.
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 firstname.lastname@example.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.
- Go to www.Repo.org. Find the top banner that reads “Compliance System”. Click the red tab to be taken to the login page.
- 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.
For the second year in a row, Dave has been invited to speak at Used Car Week in Phoenix, AZ as part of Repo-Con. This is one of the largest events in the automobile finance, repossession, and auto remarketing markets. Sponsored by the National Automobile Finance Association and organized by the Cherokee Media Group, we are honored our President has been invited to speak once again and represent the repossession industry.
With 15 years as a collection manager and senior lending officer in the retail banking field in conjunction with 28 years in the repossession industry, Dave is uniquely qualified to address both sides of the industry. In addition, Dave is a Certified Credit and Collection Compliance Officer (CCCO) and an FDCPA trainer specialist. He has helped several National Associations and private enterprises to develop training and compliance programs.
His report on the trends in reported complaints, the new regulator, repossession portals, the face of repossessors today, and the future of the repossession industry will deliver keen insights for the collateral recovery industry and those interested in its future.
This month we want to highlight Mark and Steve Summs and their team at Summs Skip and Collateral Solutions.
With over 80 years of business and guardianship, Summs Skip and Collection Service, Inc. is now a
fourth generation company that operates under the trade name of Summs Skip and Collateral Solutions. As that fourth generation of the Summs family, Mark and Steve have been heavily involved in every aspect of this company to ensure the business continues to flourish. With a high family-focused work culture, they remain firmly grounded to their roots as a family business and are committed to the mission of providing safe, compliant, and innovative solutions for their clients in a consistently timely manner.
Summs Skip and Collateral Solutions wanted to share an upcoming work anniversary with their fellow ARA members. As the premiere skip tracer on their team, Pat Bivens is celebrating 54 years with Summs Skip and Collateral Solutions. Hired straight out of the Navy in her 20’s, Pat shows her dedication and love for the Summs Skip and Collateral Solutions family by driving over an hour to and from work every day.
Summs Skip and Collateral Solutions prove that hard work and a caring work-family make a great business.
Dear ARA Members,
We have long sought relationships with the lending community and their associations to foster a strategy of seeking mutually beneficial solutions to areas of concern that both sides face.
Clients request financial information regarding the short and long term financial health of our businesses. Does anybody actually look at this information? Poor short term decisions will insure a continuing erosion of critical third party service providers.
A reasonable profit for the supplier with a firm ceiling for the clients should be a cooperative effort to insure long term success for both entities. Decisions based on “how much can I save today” will have far reaching consequences for both client and supplier, in the future.
Accepting 35% recovery rates today, when profits are high from sectors other than auto finance, will not serve lenders well when faced with weaker profits, in the future, from these other sectors. In order for third party suppliers to provide the services necessary to continue the lending cycle, we must work together to insure the minimum financial package necessary to continue to function in a compliant and customer focused manner and maintain a viable business model for the qualified, professionally trained and educated repossessor. The long term view is optimal for both parties.
As a critical function of long term business planning, our lending partners perform risk assessments regarding the long term viability of their vendors and suppliers. Will the third party suppliers that clients depend on become extinct or still be viable, healthy, and providing the critical services that are needed in the future?
We will be redoubling our efforts in the 4th quarter of this year to educate our industry as to the seriousness of these issues and seek every opportunity to address them.
ARA Executive Director
This month we’d like to highlight Leroy Royer III and his team at Cardinal Recovery, Inc.
Cardinal Recovery is highly active in the Garner, North Carolina community, giving back to local police agencies through annual donations to the Garner PD, as well as sponsoring a Raleigh-area recreational softball team.
Leroy himself is a member and trustee of his local chapter of the Knights of Columbus Council, a fraternal society that works with a variety of charitable organizations, including the Christian Refugee Relief Fund, Disaster Relief, Ultrasound Initiative, and Coats for Kids. He also chairs their annual golf tournament and works with their youth organization.
In addition to his role as president at Cardinal Recovery, Leroy also serves on both the NARS committee and the Public Relations committee. Leroy’s service to ARA and his community are an example to us all and we’re thankful to have members like him among our ranks.
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.
This is a guest article from Mike Levison, CEO of ALS Resolvion.
Over the years, repossession and skip tracing services have come to be viewed somewhat as commodities by many in the lending community. As such, outside of compliance, the primary focus around the management of these services has been costly. After all, since these services are available through multiple providers, why pay more than what the low-cost provider is willing to accept?
This downward pressure on costs has resulted in the service providers having to reduce resource allocation, in several key areas, in order to maintain an acceptable margin on the business. In many cases, this strategy ends up costing the lender more in the form of higher charge-offs, higher priced deep skip services, etc.
However, some lenders have realized that even small differences in recovery rates can translate into big gains in net dollars recovered even if the cost of the repossession was slightly higher.
When recovery fees are driven down to rock bottom levels, the service provider (whether a direct agent or a forwarder/skip company) is typically forced to undertake one or more of the following:
- Reduce the labor allocation devoted to the portfolio
- Reduce payment to the agent/driver
- Reduce the amount and quality of the data purchased from third-party providers
Let’s look at each of these issues in a little more detail:
In the case of forwarders or skip service providers, typically administrators or skip tracers are assigned to work a specific group of cases. The labor pool allocated to these functions is a significant part of the provider’s overall cost structure. When a lender pushes for rock bottom fees, inevitably queue sizes get increased in order to reduce labor cost. The more cases an investigator has to work, the less time that can be spent on each and recovery rates usually suffer.
Repossession Agent Fees
When margins are very tight due to low fees, the forwarder/skip provider is also limited as to how much can be offered to the recovery agency. In our case, those fees range from $275 on the low end to $375 on the high end. You can bet there is a big difference in the amount of effort the agent puts into the $375 cases than the $275 cases.
The repo agency faces the same dilemma since they also work primarily on a contingent model. On low fee cases, they will inevitably have to reduce the number of times an address is run, reduce the fee to the driver….or both.
This is a real issue in today’s world where the agent ranks have thinned over the past few years due to rising costs and compliance requirements. Fewer agents, combined with rising delinquency rates, means that agents are in a good position to pick and choose where they put their resources and you can be sure that they do just that. Wouldn’t you?
Reduced Data Purchases
When it comes to locating missing cars (outside of LPR technology) it is all about finding good addresses and contact numbers. Fortunately, there are many data sources out there that provide information. The cost can be anywhere from free to several dollars per report. As you might expect, the more expensive reports often (not always) contain the better/more current information. However, the service provider must be very careful on how and when the best data sources are used. For instance, a $6.00 report on a portfolio that generates a 20% recovery rate will add $30 in cost per recovery just for that report. Combine that with a low fee schedule and it makes it very difficult to utilize that data source.
All of these “adjustments” that are required to deal with low margin business absolutely make a difference in recovery rates, charge offs, auction values, etc..
Let’s take a look at a couple of different analysis of the trade off between higher recovery costs and higher recovery rates.
The analysis below illustrates the additional “lift” in recovery rates that is required to offset a $50 difference in recovery costs.
As you can see, based on these assumptions, the service provider would only have to generate less than one additional recovery for every 100 assignments to offset the cost of paying $50 more on all recoveries. This does not even take into consideration the value of avoiding the charge off.
Note: The below analysis is designed to illustrate two issues:
- The extremely small (1/4 of 1%) additional recovery rate that would have to be achieved to offset an additional $50 recovery fee
- The additional value ALSR believes it will generate based on the higher recovery rate we believe we can achieve
Of course, the net benefit between higher costs and higher recovery rates is significantly impacted by auction values. Some portfolios deal in collateral that often has little more than scrap value when recovered and some have average values in excess of $25,000. The table below illustrates the financial gain, under different auction value scenarios, if recovery rate increases just 5%.
- 250 1st placement cases per month
- 35% vs. 45% recovery rate
- $50 increase in recovery fee
If you would like to see a more detailed analysis based on the specifics of your portfolio, just let us know and we will prepare.
Cost is an important variable in the repossession management process, but pushing costs too low can produce a diminishing return.
Mike Levison, CEO of ALS Resolvion – Mike has over 30 years of senior executive experience in the financial institution marketplace. Prior to joining ALSR in 2010, he served a CEO of Remark Americas, an international insurance brokerage firm for 8 years. Prior to ReMark, he served as CEO of Coverdell & Company from 1987 – 2002. Mike is a graduate of the University of Georgia School of Finance.