Last week, NCO Group, one of the largest debt collection agencies on Wall Street got itself into a bit more trouble.
According to Minnesota Department of Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman, the company which owns and operates 49 collection agencies allegedly failed to properly screen employees and employed known felons. For their complete lack of oversight, the company was fined and forced to pay a civil penalty of$250,000.
“Turning loose convicted felons on vulnerable Minnesota consumers is a dangerous recipe for fraud and financial abuse,” said Commissioner Rothman. “That is why our investigators are thoroughly examining the hiring practices of debt collection agencies doing business in Minnesota. Employing convicted criminals to collect sensitive personal information from financially stressed consumers is against the law – and it cannot be tolerated.”
The consent order signed by the Commissioner and NCO Financial Systems, Inc. includes allegations that the company:
Did not have adequate screening procedures in place for potential collectors;
Submitted countless debt collector registrations to the Commissioner without proper screening;
Employed individuals with known criminal backgrounds;
“These allegations represent a fundamental breakdown in the internal systems and protocols meant to safeguard Minnesota consumers from predatory wrongdoing,” said Rothman. “Collection agencies must abide by the law so that the rights of Minnesota consumers are protected.”
This is a prime example of the crackdown on current collection practices. As it becomes increasingly harder for firms to practice devious and outright criminal acts such as this one, I have no doubt many of them will choose to exit the business rather than comply with the new regulations.
And that means their previous business will fall right into our lap because banks will be looking to partner with companies who will not only survive but thrive in the new regulatory environment.
Do Good and Make Money!