Debt Collection Australia - Changes With Global Impacts by:Neil Wood
The industry of Debt Collection industry in Australia ratified the formation of anew and very pro active industry association to be called Australian Collection & Debt Buyers Association (ACDBA) during the annual conference of the Institute of Mercantile Agents, held in Melbourne May 14 - 16.
This has enabled the industry to bring together the large national companies as well as the SME members of the industry in a positive way, and overcoming the lack of liaison prevalent in previous years.
The significance of the industry coming together could not be overstated with proposed legislation from the new Rudd Labour Federal Government (National Consumer Protection Bill 2009) about to be introduced, bringing further regulatory legislation competing with existing State and Federal law and causing higher costs to the industry as a whole just to remain compliant.
In addition to the compliancy costs, the act will also lead to increasing controls on how collection agencies may act, and whilst it is said this is aimed at providing protection to consumers from those companies who adopt overbearing and harassing tactics, its flow on effect is likely to lead to responsible and ethical collection agencies being impacted to the point they will reduce staff due to the increasing compliancy costs.
The ACDBA has sent a detailed professional submission May 22, 2009, to Geoff Miller, General Manager, Corporations and Financial Services Division, Department of the Treasury, pointing out the proposed legislation was prepared targeting finance brokers, finance companies and credit providers, and has the flow on effect of including the collection industry.
The move by the Rudd Government reflects a growing and justifiable concern by the Australian collection industry as to why the proposed legislation is necessary, when the industry has been working with state and (other) Federal Governments for more than two years to ensure the industry remains compliant with ethical, legal and community expectations, and begs the question " What's in it for politicians".
The collection industry can be, and has been for many years a whipping post for media and politicians who know full well the industry will never be popular with the community at large, and will use one off incidents of rogue actions by collectors (whether by finance company, banks staff and not collection agencies) to create sensational headlines, and not take into consideration the millions of contacts made by the industry on an annual basis.
There is growing concern amongst the global collection industry that legislation like above, will be adopted by other Governments around the world unless the collection industry associations remain active and vigilant in lobbying against legislation that is based on political or media driven, and often ill informed, small groups of lobbyists driving a hidden agenda.
Research over the past year has confirmed that in Australian alone over twenty (20) million calls alone were made to debtors during 2008, in a population of twenty two (22)million, with less than fifteen hundred complaints made to regulatory authorities, whilst the industry was responsible for returning over $60 billion to the Australian community.
About the author
Neil Wood is a leading expert in the field of Debt collection Australia. With over forty years experience he has built Global Credit Solutions Limited into a partner network operating in eighty one countries.
Neil travels extensively visiting GCS offices, conducting training and acting in key speaker roles to credit, finance, banking and business seminars and conferences.