RISC launches the CARS – Texas and Rhode Island state-specific Certification Courses for repossession agents.

NEWS RELEASE

TAMPA, FL 5/28/2020 – RISC, a compliance services company, is excited to launch two additional state -specific collateral recovery training courses as part of their growing CARS National Certification Program. Continually providing up-to-date training on state/federal regulations is a RISC goal.  This is achieved through our alliance with Hudson Cook LLP. Texas is a large market for collateral recovery and has very specific state guidelines. “It’s important that recovery agencies in Texas and Rhode Island have the detailed knowledge of what can affect their day-to-day operations and keep them safe,” said RISC President Holly Balogh.

Recently, a survey conducted by CUCollector.com shows that 60% of repossession agencies hold CARS Certifications in the industry. Taken by over 200 recovery agent respondents across the U.S., the survey demonstrates RISC’s foothold as the #1 provider of compliance training and services by a significant margin. Also, recovery agents noted that VTS (Vendor Transparency Solutions) Compliance Training, coming in at a distant second to CARS, was used by 19% in the industry. In early 2020, VTS compliance service training programs combined with the CARS program on MBSi’s VendorConnect platform, effectively giving RISC’s CARS program 79% of the industry market share.

The CARS certification is accepted by all domestic lending institutions and is completed by over 4,000 people annually. The courses are available on RISC’s Education Platform for purchase at  https://www.riscus.com/Education/EcomCars.  RISC Pro members are able to take any education program available for their small monthly membership fee including these new state specific courses.

About RISC

RISC is an organization dedicated to providing compliance oversight and training services to the collateral recovery industry and beyond. RISC advocates on behalf of all practitioners within the industry. For more information, visit www.RISCus.com or call (813) 712-7535.

RISC extends its waiver of RISC Pro membership/education subscription fees through July 1, 2020.

RISC extends its waiver of RISC Pro membership/education subscription fees through July 1, 2020.

After nearly two months of COVID-19 related ordinances and regulations, the repossession industry has not opened up in all areas.  This continues to financially pressure recovery agency owners and their staff.  RISC is here to help support agents during this crisis by waiving membership and education fees for current and any new RISC Pro members.  RISC is the only compliance company that has waived membership and education fees for its members.

RISC’s waiver of fees allows members to update their CARS certifications and train any new employees to prepare for assignments to come. The RISC Pro platform is also an excellent tool for agencies to organize their compliance documentation and market their compliance status to clients. Our belief is that we’re all in this together and RISC will continue to assist agents in these challenging times.

What is RISC Pro?

RISC Pro is a membership for Agents that provides the ability to:

  • Manage and store compliance documentation on the MBSi VendorConnect platform.
  • Showcase your compliance profile and company listing in front of 40+ Lenders and Forwarders that are on the RISC Pro/MBSi VendorConnect platform.
  • Quickly share a compliance profile directly with Lenders
  • Have unlimited employee access to the CARS National Certification, Continuing Education, and Drivers Safety Certification for a small monthly “pay as you go” subscription rather than the full upfront certification cost.
  • And more…

Membership billing is currently on hold and will not begin until we are confident agents are back to work.  We currently forecast this will not go beyond July. There is NO cancellation fee should you choose not to keep RISC Pro membership.  However, if you cancel, any CARS certification completed between now and then will require you to pay in full to retain a valid CARS certificate. Maintaining your certification allows you to pay as you go for each employee. More details can be found in the RISC Pro Service Agreement at Registration.

Learn More and Register for RISC Pro

Also, on behalf of Alex Price and RISC, all proceeds from sales of RISC’s Skip Tracer Certification will be donated to RABF through the end of June. Register today here.

About RISC

RISC is an organization dedicated to providing compliance oversight and training services to the collateral recovery industry and beyond. RISC advocates on behalf of all practitioners within the industry. For more information, visit www.RISCus.com or call (813) 712-7535.

RISC and Alex “Skipguru” Price will be donating Skip Tracer Certification course proceeds to RABF.

RISC and Alex “Skipguru” Price announced they will be donating all proceeds they receive from April, May, and June sales of the Skip Tracer Certification course to the Recovery Agents Benefit Fund (RABF). “In these challenging times, I needed a way to help support the agents in the trenches. This COVID-19 crisis will not be easy for the agents and their families, so every little bit counts”, says Alex Price.

RABF is a non-profit fund set up to support repossession agents and their families in times of need. It is available to anyone in the industry regardless of their trade group affiliation or insurance provider.

RISC’s Skip Tracer Certification was authored by Alex Price, who is the leading expert on skip tracing for collateral recovery and beyond. Register for the course HERE. RISC has also committed industry support by waiving all fees for the RISC Pro Membership to all new and current members, which includes unlimited CARS Certification training. For more information, visit the RISC Pro webpage HERE.

RISC wishes the industry all the best as we help each other get through these unprecedented times.

About RISC

RISC is an organization dedicated to providing compliance oversight and training services to the collateral recovery industry and beyond. RISC advocates on behalf of all practitioners within the industry. For more information, visit www.RISCus.com or call (813) 712-7535.

RISC waives RISC Pro membership/education subscription fees through the end of May 2020 to support collateral agents during the COVID-19 crisis.

We cannot avoid the news about COVID-19 and the uncertainty it is bringing to our lives. This virus has caused disruptions to not only our daily lives but, most certainly, the collateral recovery industry. In these challenging times, the compliance team at RISC would like to do our part and help support the industry agents on the frontlines. We realize that the pandemic and its economic impacts will slow assignments significantly. However, it is important to remember that this will not last for long. If we can find ways to weather the storm then we know there is going to be a significant workload in the near future. In fact, it is realistic to say there will be more work than we all can handle. As an industry, we need to help each other survive, prepare, and be ready for the favorable times to come.

To support the agent community, RISC will waive all membership fees including the CARS education subscription fees within the membership for current and new RISC Pro Members starting immediately through the end of May. Billing will resume the first week of June 2020. Our hope is that this will give some financial relief to agents and the chance to use the downtime to get staff trained and ready for when business turns back on.

What is RISC Pro?

RISC Pro is a membership for Agents that provides the ability to:

To manage and store compliance documentation on the MBSi VendorConnect platform. Lenders can see the status and assign more efficiently using RecoveryConncect.
Showcase a compliance profile and company listing in front of 40+ Lenders and Forwarders that are on the MBSi VendorConnect / RISC Pro platform.
Quickly share a compliance profile direct with the Lenders on the platform or outside the MBSi platform.
Have unlimited staff access to the CARS National Certification, Continuing Education, and Drivers Safety Certification for a small monthly “pay as you go” subscription rather than the full upfront certification cost.
And more…
Membership billing is currently on hold and will begin again the first week of June. There is NO cancellation fee. If agencies decide to cancel the RISC Pro Membership, any

CARS certification completed between now and then will require you to pay in full to retain a valid CARS certificate. More details can be found in the RISC Pro Service Agreement at Registration.

Learn More and Register for RISC Pro

About RISC

RISC is an organization dedicated to providing compliance oversight and training services to the collateral recovery industry and beyond. RISC advocates on behalf of all practitioners within the industry. For more information, visit www.RISCus.com or call (813) 712-7535.

RISC launches the CARS – Massachusetts Certification Course, the #1 Massachusetts-specific training for repossession agents.

TAMPA, FL 1/29/2020 – RISC, a compliance services company, is pleased to launch the Massachusetts-specific collateral recovery training course as part of their CARS National Certification Program. Continually providing up to date training on state-mandated regulations is the goal of RISC, the leader in compliance services and education. “It’s crucial to let the industry know about updated regulations and provide comprehensive training for collateral recovery in Massachusetts and beyond,” says RISC CEO, Stamatis Ferarolis. “We are committed to providing these updates and have hired the prestigious law firm, Hudson Cook, to help design the most current training programs in the nation,” says Ferarolis. RISC will continue to evolve with the industry and look towards always building courses that will provide value to both clients and recovery agents.

“The overview of Massachusetts regulations is very informative. It’s another great addition to RISC’s current CARS program to keep my recovery staff safe and knowledgable,” says Steve Digantgikis, owner of New England Adjustment Bureau. Digantgikis is the first to become certified in this MA-specific CARS Program and focuses on having one of the most skilled teams to support his lending clients.

CARS-Massachusetts course is an example of RISC’s commitment to educating the industry to keep both the consumer and the recovery agent safe. The CARS certification is accepted by all domestic lending institutions and is completed by over 4,000 people annually. The course is available on RISC’s Education Platform for purchase on the RISC website.

About RISC

RISC is an organization dedicated to providing compliance oversight and training services to the collateral recovery industry and beyond. RISC advocates on behalf of all practitioners within the industry. For more information, visit www.RISCus.com or call (813) 712-7535.

Mark Lacek speaks at the American Towman Expo on the Untapped Potential of Commercial Repossessions.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

TAMPA, FL 12/19/2019 – The American Towman Exposition was hosted in Atlantic City, NJ earlier this month where Mark Lacek took the opportunity to speak on the profitable options in the commercial repossessions field. Lacek, the author of RISC’s Certified Commercial Recovery Agent national certification program (CCRA), spoke to a full room on the highlights of his 40-year commercial repossession career experience. As the owner of Commercial Asset Solutions, he has repossessed commercial trucks and equipment for the nation’s commercial lenders day in and day out. He sees everything in the field and will never be seen behind a desk. During the presentation, attendees were educated on the veteran recovery agent’s approach to commercial account repossession, including how to fine-tune their skills, make more money and reduce their overhead costs.

During his 90-minute session, Lacek advised on many of the most important stages and categories of the commercial repossession business. Some of the various topics included how to identify and locate a client in need of commercial repossession services; what kinds of collateral are associated with this type of portfolio; what are the various steps involved when receiving an assignment of this nature and what job-specific tools and resources are needed; insight on some of the lenders and forwarders who operate in this landscape; and appropriate charges for services rendered, as well as additional revenue streams within this industry.

According to Brent Woods, owner of Recovery Associates out of Houston, TX, ”I’ve always wanted to hear Mark’s presentation as I’m always looking into new revenue streams for my company. I traveled over 1,600 miles to attend the American Towman Expo and I was certainly not disappointed with his session. I felt that I was not the only one to find value in his presentation, as several other attendees in the class were given answers to their questions on the topic.”

“This was the second event I’ve presented at this year and even though my presentation was scheduled for 90 minutes, I wound up fielding questions from the packed meeting room well beyond that allotted time. It’s great to see more people in the industry beginning to recognize the profit potential that is available in commercial repossessions. As important as it is to secure new avenues for revenue, it’s equally important to make sure these types of accounts are handled the proper way. I honestly feel the most valuable information on commercial repossessions is within the CCRA Certification Course”, said Lacek. He went on to add, “Several attendees mentioned they were already CCRA certified, while others advised they were looking forward to signing up for the course once they returned home. I’m excited to see associates in the industry realizing the value of commercial repossession while also recognizing the importance of being compliant.”

Mark Lacek is the founder of Professional Repossessor Magazine, owner of Commercial Asset Solutions (CAS), and former president of Florida Association of Licensed Repossessors. Lacek is considered one of the nation’s leading expert witnesses on professional standards and the repossession industry. The full CCRA program is an online certification offered through RISC (Recovery Industry Services Company) and available at www.riscus.com.

About RISC

RISC is an organization dedicated to providing services specific to the collateral recovery industry and advocate on behalf of all professional practitioners with the industry. RISC is dedicated to the professional training and certification of collateral recovery specialists. For more information visit www.RISCus.com or contact us at [email protected], (866) 996-7472 or (813) 712-7535

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Repossession Agents Need to Continue Vigilance on FDCPA Compliance

Re: Nov. 6, 2019 – The letter to the Repossession Industry from ARA president, David Kennedy, about the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling of Obduskey v. McCarthy & Holthus.  STORY LINK

I recently read the letter from the American Recovery Association (ARA) president, David Kennedy, in regard to his opinions on the March 2019 Supreme Court case decision of Obduskey v. McCarthy & Holthus. As I re-read it a few times, I realized that something did not add up. It appeared that there was some misinformation being disseminated to the industry that was a bit concerning. With help from Hudson Cook, LLP, a law firm whose regulatory compliance practice includes work on the subject of automotive repossession, we were able to come to a more precise conclusion that may contradict ARA.

“After a detailed review of Obduskey v. McCarthy & Holthus LLP, it’s clear the claim that repossessors may not be debt collectors under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1692 et seq. (the “FDCPA”) and that repossession agents are exempt from the FDCPA, is potentially misleading. Unfortunately, this is not what the U.S. Supreme Court found in this case,” says Eric Johnson, Partner at Hudson Cook, LLP.

The following is an overview of what Hudson Cook, LLP and RISC conclude:

Obduskey v. McCarthy & Holthus LLP
139 S. Ct. 1029 (March 20, 2019)

 Dennis Obduskey purchased a home with a mortgage loan from Wells Fargo. When Obduskey defaulted on the loan, Wells Fargo hired McCarthy & Holthus LLP (“McCarthy”) to carry out a nonjudicial foreclosure. McCarthy sent Obduskey an initial letter notifying Obduskey that it had been retained to commence foreclosure. Obduskey responded with a letter disputing the debt under § 1692g(b) of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”). When McCarthy continued with the foreclosure, Obduskey sued McCarthy in federal court for violating the FDCPA. The district court dismissed the suit, finding that McCarthy was not a “debt collector” under the FDCPA. After the court of appeals affirmed, the Supreme Court granted certiorari. The Supreme Court of the United States affirmed the rulings of the lower courts that McCarthy was not a “debt collector” under the FDCPA.

 The Court noted that, under the FDCPA, the definition of “debt collector” has two parts. The primary definition provides that a “debt collector” is, in relevant part, “any person … in any business the principal purpose of which is the collection of any debts, or who regularly collects or attempts to collect, directly or indirectly, debts owed or asserted to be owed or due another.” 15 U.S.C. § 1692a(6). The Court concedes that taking the primary definition by itself, a business engaged in nonjudicial foreclosures would be a “debt collector” because it is indirectly collecting debt through the foreclosure process. However, the second part of the definition states:

 For the purpose of section 1692f(6) [the] term [“debt collector”] also includes any person … in any business the principal purpose of which is the enforcement of security interests.

 Id. The Court held for several reasons that this provision means that businesses whose principal purpose is enforcing security interests are only “debt collectors” for purposes of the noted section and not for the FDCPA as a whole. First, if those enforcing security interests were “debt collectors” based on the primary definition, then the second part would be superfluous. Second, Congress appears to have broken the definition into two parts so as not to cause conflicts between the FDCPA and state nonjudicial foreclosure statutes. Finally, prior versions of the FDCPA considered by Congress took different approaches to the inclusion of businesses enforcing security interests under the definition of “debt collector.” One version subjected businesses enforcing security interests to the entirety of the FDCPA, while another completely excluded them from coverage. As a result, the second part of the definition appears to be a legislative compromise.

 Obduskey agreed that the second part would be superfluous unless it applied to some business whose principal purpose is the enforcement of security interests. However, Obduskey argued that the provision is meant to apply to repossession agents as opposed to businesses initiating nonjudicial foreclosures. According to Obduskey, repossession agents would not fall under the primary definition of “debt collector” because they only engage in limited communications with debtors.

The Court disagreed with Obduskey’s arguments, noting that the primary definition of “debt collector” turns on whether a person is collecting debts owed to another and not on whether it has communicated with the consumer. The court was unmoved by Obduskey’s argument that repossession would not fall under the primary definition because it generally involves only limited communication with the debtor. Further, as it relates to the FDCPA provisions that apply when there has been communication with a debtor, many state laws require repossession agents to communicate with debtors through notice requirements.

 Finally, and importantly, in Justice Sotomayor’s concurring opinion, she also points out that the Court makes clear that “enforcing a security interest does not grant an actor blanket immunity from the” mandates of the FDCPA. She states that “repossession agencies engage in a means of collecting debts ’indirectly.’” She further stated that the decision leaves Congress free to make clear that the FDCPA fully encompasses entities pursuing nonjudicial foreclosures and regulates security interest enforces like repossession agencies in only the more limited way addressed in § 1692f(6).

Unfortunately, it is not a correct statement to say that “automobile repossessors are now only bound to one section of the Rule [ §808(6) of FDCPA]” or that “automobile repossessors will NOT be subject to ALL of the restrictions under the FDCPA”, as stated in the ARA letter.   In certain other reported cases where consumers sued repossession companies under the FDCPA, the courts have focused on the alleged activities of the repossession company to determine whether the company was a “debt collector” under the FDCPA.   Those courts have consistently held that where the repossession company’s activity was limited to enforcement of a security interest, it was not a “debt collector” subject to the FDCPA (except § 1692f(6), as provided in the statute).  However, if the repossession company’s activities stray into attempts to collect money, as opposed to simply enforcing a security interest, the FDCPA will apply to that collection activity.

I feel it is important that the industry understands this information was potentially misleading and that they continue to stay in compliance with the FDCPA’s requirements.

Sincerely,

Stamatis Ferarolis
CEO
RISC (Recovery Industry Services Company)

Mark Lacek lays out the case that Commercial Repossession is an untapped niche.

Mark Lacek lays out the case that Commercial Repossession is an untapped niche.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

TAMPA, FL 11/4/2019 – During this year’s Allied Finance Adjusters Midyear Meeting, Mark Lacek, author of RISC’s Certified Commercial Recovery Agent national certification program (CCRA), was invited to summarize the highlights of his 40-year commercial repossession career experience.  During the seminar, attendees were educated on the veteran recovery agent’s approach to commercial account repossession, including how to fine-tune their skills, make more money and reduce their overhead costs.

  

During the 90-minute session, Lacek advised on many of the most important stages and categories of the commercial repossession business. Some of the various topics included how to identify and locate a client in need of commercial repossession services; what kinds of collateral are associated with this type of portfolio; what are the various steps involved when receiving an assignment of this nature and what job-specific tools and resources are needed; insight on some of the lenders and forwarders who operate in this landscape; and appropriate charges for services rendered, as well as additional revenue streams within this industry.

According to the former president of Allied Finance Adjusters, George Badeen, “Mark’s session was really well received with the crowd of over 50 agents. He gave them some great ammo to go back to their businesses with and find ways to tap into this lucrative niche”.

“I tried to pack in as much information during the session as I could. I honestly feel the most valuable information on commercial repossessions are within the CCRA Certification Course”, said Lacek. He went on to add, “I received several responses from attendees at the Allied Midyear Meeting, advising one of the first things on their agendas – once home – was to go onto the RISC website and sign up for the CCRA program.”

Mark will be conducting another seminar at the American Towman Expo this December in Atlantic City, NJ.

Mark Lacek is the founder of Professional Repossessor Magazine, owner of Commercial Asset Solutions (CAS), and former president of Florida Association of Licensed Repossessors. Lacek is considered one of the nation’s leading expert witnesses on professional standards and the repossession industry. The full CCRA program is an online certification offered through RISC (Recovery Industry Services Company) and available at www.riscus.com.

About RISC

RISC is an organization dedicated to providing services specific to the collateral recovery industry and advocate on behalf of all professional practitioners with the industry. RISC is dedicated to the professional training and certification of collateral recovery specialists. For more information visit www.RISCus.com or contact us at [email protected], (866) 996-7472 or (813) 712-7535

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Keith Baggett joins the RISC team as Director of Business Development

Keith Baggett joins the RISC team as Director of Business Development

TAMPA, FL 9/4/2019 –

RISC, the leading compliance and training company for the auto recovery industry, is pleased to announce Keith Baggett as their new Director of Business Development.

RISC has spent the last 6 months working to improve and standardize their services as well as develop new ones. Keith will be critical to bringing them to life. “Keith has been an essential player in this industry for over 20 years. His extensive experience with vendor and client relations while working at Remarketing Solutions, Renovo Services, Primeritus Financial Services and Location Services has provided him with a deep knowledge base for compliance and training. Keith is a Swiss army knife with a wide range of skills that can ensure RISC works to solve the problems of all our customers”, says RISC CEO, Stamatis Ferarolis.

Compliance continues to expand in the industry, and it can become burdensome at all stages of the process. RISC strives to relieve as much of this pain as possible by standardizing and providing in-depth vetting and monitoring, as well as the best continual education training to keep all players aware of potential pitfalls. Keith goes on to add, “existing customers, new customers, internal customers, external customers…it’s all the same as far as I’m concerned. Everyone deserves the best customer service(s) available and I’m here to provide that”.

Keith Baggett can be contacted at [email protected] or (813) 712-7535 x3019.

About RISC

RISC is an organization dedicated to providing services specific to the collateral recovery industry and advocate on behalf of all professional practitioners with the industry. RISC is dedicated to the professional training and certification of collateral recovery specialists. For more information visit www.RISCus.com.

 

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