The Certified Asset Recovery Specialist (C.A.R.S.) National Certification Program

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A History

In 1995, Joe and Elizabeth Taylor established Matrix Educational Systems as an educational facility dedicated exclusively to the development of professional training curriculums for the collateral recovery industry. Matrix is licensed (number R 9500001) by the State of Florida, Division of Licensing and approved by the Florida Department of Education. According to such licensing, Matrix is required to abide by the strict guidelines as set forth by those State Agencies.

Matrix Educational Systems is a "tuition" based educational facility rather than a "fee" based facility. Unlike Matrix, fee based educational entities are usually schools that offer curriculums on multiple subjects and are usually more expensive since they charge separate fees for tuition, cost of training materials, final examination, etc. As a single subject based educational facility, Matrix's tuition cost insures that the student receives the very latest course materials on the specific subject offered and includes final testing, issuing of the Certificate of Completion, etc.

In the event of litigation, tuition based certification insures that a Plaintiff's attorney cannot accuse a C.A.R.S. certified collateral recovery specialist of simply "buying a test" since a tuition based training program includes all the elements of certification, including the latest course materials, final testing and issuance of the Certificate of Completion.

Joe Taylor, author of the C.A.R.S. Certification Program has, and continues to provide expert opinions in law suits involving the self-help repossession process and has witnessed, first hand the value of tuition based professional certification. .

Matrix Educational Systems remains unique in that it is the only licensed educational entity in the country that develops educational curriculums exclusively for the collateral recovery industry.

Matrix initially developed a forty (40) hour curriculum for the Florida Statutorily mandated forty (40) hour classroom training program for recovery agent license applicants.

In early1999, based on a request from Empire Fire & Marine Insurance Company and AEON Insurance Group, Matrix began the development of a professional certification program for collateral recovery specialists that would be nationally accepted by the collateral recovery industry and that would meet the strict criteria requirements of Empire Fire & Marine.

Approximately 500 hours of extensive legal research went into the legal aspects of the program including both federal and state laws that affect the self-help repossession process. In addition to the legal aspects that affect the process other areas had to be added to the program including the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC), Contracts, The Recovery Process, Office Procedures, Pre and Post Recovery procedures, Skip Tracing, Ethics and Professional Conduct, Defensive Driving, Insurance and Forms, and other areas specific to the self-help repossession process. All areas covered in the C.A.R.S. National Certification Program are displayed in the Table of Contents.

In late 1999, the C.A.R.S. Program was "born" and submitted to Empire Fire & Marine, AEON, many leaders in the collateral recovery industry and to attorney, Bogden Rentea, one of the foremost legal authorities on the self-help repossession process. Letters of endorsement from many of those who reviewed the original C.A.R.S. Program can be viewed at The C.A.R.S. program was created as a college level, professional certification course that covers all aspects of the self-help repossession process. Joe Taylor, Stamatis Ferarolis and Brian Taylor are licensed (Florida), certified instructors for the C.A.R.S. program.

The C.A.R.S. National Certification Program is accepted in all fifty states as the premier professional certification program for collateral recovery specialists. The C.A.R.S. program is also accepted by law in those states (and the City of Chicago) that mandate independent, professional certification for those who provide self-help repossession services. Currently, Matrix has graduated over 4,000 collateral recovery specialists through the C.A.R.S. program

Most professions require Continuing Education courses to insure that practitioners maintain their professional competency. In keeping with that concept, Matrix Educational Systems has developed seven Continuing Educational courses to compliment the C.A.R.S. Certification. As with other professions, practitioners usually complete one Continuing Education course each year. Without question, courts view Continuing Education as an essential element in proving continued proficiency and competency. In addition, we have now added to the C.A.R.S. program state specific, predominant case law for each state. This addition gives the student important information on how the courts in their respective state(s) of operation have ruled on alleged violations involving the self-help repossession process. It also teaches that state courts sometimes use rulings by courts in other states to reach their decisions.

In 2009, Matrix Educational Systems became a subsidiary of Recovery Industry Services Company (RISC). RISC is a national, independent organization that provides an array of professional services to the collateral recovery industry with those various services listed on our website. As a national organization, RISC has generated much greater exposure for the C.A.R.S. program and Continuing Educational courses, and the need for professional certification as an invaluable tool in managing the "inherent" risks associated with the self-help repossession process.

Matrix Educational Systems remains committed exclusively to the collateral recovery industry and the continued efforts to provide the unique educational tools to make the work place safer for professional practitioners and to elevate the image of the industry and those professionals who serve the lending community.

C.A.R.S. Testing

When research began on the C.A.R.S. program we also immediately began research on creating our testing model for the final examination. Our goal was to create a testing model that would also enhance the student's ability to be able to refer back to the specific Sections of the program quickly which also enhances their research abilities.

The testing model we finally created follows the tabbed Sections in the C.A.R.S. program and we made the final examination an on-line, open book test, similar to many other public and state licensed educational entities throughout the country. Our research indicated that this method would enhance the student's ability to not only research the C.A.R.S. program but also to increase their ability to comprehend the contents of the various field assignments they were responsible for completing. This, in turn has made the field recovery specialist more competent in managing the "inherent" risks associated with self-help repossessions and expeditious in completing his/her assignments in the field. However, some collateral recovery business owners prefer that their employees to complete the exam by closed book, and that is at the sole discretion of the business owner.

Proper monitoring of the final exam is of critical importance, especially in the event of litigation. If it is an employee who is testing, monitoring should be done by either the business owner or a qualified supervisor. If it is the business owner testing the testing should be monitored by a qualified supervisor or individual such as a Notary Public or other independent, third party.

In Section 13; Forms, we have created an Affidavit of Final Testing Form attesting that the final exam was properly monitored, with signatures of both the individual who tested and the monitor. It is important that this document be placed in the permanent personnel file of the individual who tested. In the event the individual who tested becomes involved in litigation this is an important document to present to the Court as proof that this individual was properly monitored.

Neither RISC or Matrix Education Systems assumes any responsibility or liability for the monitoring of the final exam. However, it is our responsibility to keep accurate records of individuals who have tested and the final score on the test

This testing method has proven very effective since the inception of the program in 1999, not only for the field agent but also for the office employee who goes through the C.A.R.S. certification program. From our research and responses we have received from our graduates our testing model achieves the goals Matrix intended. Matrix also uses the C.A.R.S. Testing model for all Continuing Education courses.

For those states that have no specific statutory regulation of the licensure and activities of collateral recovery specialists the C.A.R.S. final examination consists of one hundred (100) questions. For those states that do have specific regulations, there are one hundred, twenty five (125) questions, with the additional twenty five questions specific to that state's statutory regulation. Both examinations have a two (2) hour time limit. All Continuing Education courses are twenty five (25) questions and have a one (1) hour time limit.

Joe Taylor
Director of Education