At a glanceFriday, June 07, 2019

Collection Industry News At A Glance - June 7, 2019
Friday June 7, 2019
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Cosmic Bowling Networking Returns to DCS2019

"It's Out of This World" bowling will be the theme of the Debt Connection Symposium & Expo 2019 Networking Bowling Event!  Start Practicing Now!  You might also want to start thinking about your Team Shirts/Outfits for our Best Dressed Team contest!  High Score and Low Score Prizes - no need to be a bowling ace to join the fun and network with peers at DCS2019.

[video width="1732" height="1100" mp4="https://debtconnection.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/DCS-Bowling-2.mp4"][/video]

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Phone companies must adopt robocall-blocking tech by year end: FCC

The FCC has voted to give phone companies permission to block obvious robocalls before they reach phones.   The new rules, announced last month, were approved by the commission Thursday, give safe harbor to phone companies to block the calls, so long as they have “reasonable call analytics” showing that a robocall is happening and that consumers are told what’s going on — and can opt out if they so choose. USTelecom, a large trade group for the phone companies, expressed approval.

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CFPB: Payday loan protections

The Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection is issuing this final rule to delay the August 19, 2019 compliance date for the mandatory underwriting provisions of the regulation promulgated by the Bureau in November 2017 governing Payday, Vehicle Title, and Certain High-Cost Installment Loans (2017 Final Rule or Rule). Compliance with these provisions of the Rule is delayed by 15 months, to November 19, 2020. The Bureau is also making certain corrections to address several clerical and non-substantive errors it has identified in other aspects of the Rule.

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U.S. FCC makes it easier for phone companies to block ‘robocalls’

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. regulators on Thursday voted to allow phone companies to block unwanted “robocalls” by default as Americans grapple with billions of deceptive and annoying calls every year. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) also voted to allow carriers to let companies block any calls not on a consumer’s contact list if the customer opts in. Apple Inc announced this week its revised iPhone operating software will give consumers the ability to allow only calls to ring from numbers in contacts, mail, and messages and send all others to voicemail automatically. FCC commissioners conceded that the vote will not end all unwanted calls and urged carriers to take further steps to block them. Several commissioners urged mobile phone providers to offer those call blocking tools free of charge.

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Oregon Amends Data Breach Notification Law to Apply to Vendors

On May 24, 2019, Oregon Governor Kate Brown signed into law Senate Bill 684, which requires vendors, service providers and other entities that maintain or possess consumers’ personal information to notify consumers of a security breach.

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Michigan AG demands data breach information

LANSING, Mich. — Three companies will be receiving letters demanding information about a data breach that has affected 12 million people around the country per Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel.   Nessel made the announcement Wednesday saying the breach has involved at least three companies, American Medical Collection Agency (AMCA), Quest Diagnostics and Optum360.

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American Medical Collection Agency breach impact reaches 20 million

A third medical testing company announced it has been impacted by the American Medical Collection Agency data breach, putting the total number of patients potentially affected at 20 million.   In an 8-K form filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, OPKO Health, Inc., said 422,600 customers may have been impacted by a data breach through its subsidiary, BioReference Laboratories, Inc.

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Senators say Fair Debt Collection Practices Act proposal puts industry ahead of consumers

LOS ANGELES – More than 20 U.S. senators are calling on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to reconsider a proposal  that would allow debt collectors to send unlimited texts and emails to consumers, as well as call them seven times a week per debt.   Led by Sens. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., and Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, 19 Democratic and two Independent senators have signed a letter expressing their concerns that the proposed update to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act would allow debt collectors to contact consumers more than they already do. Signees include 2020 presidential hopefuls Sens. Kamala Harris, D-Calif.; Kristin Gillibrand, D-N.Y.; Cory Booker, D-N.J.; Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass.; and Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. Read the letter in its entirety at the bottom of this article.

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FCC AFFIRMS ROBOCALL BLOCKING BY DEFAULT TO HELP PROTECT CONSUMERS

WASHINGTON, June 6, 2019—The Federal Communications Commission today voted to make clear that voice service providers may aggressively block unwanted robocalls before they reach consumers.  Specifically, the Commission approved a Declaratory Ruling to affirm that voice service providers may, as the default, block unwanted calls based on reasonable call analytics, as long as their customers are informed and have the opportunity to opt out of the blocking. This action empowers providers to protect their customers from unwanted robocalls before those calls even reach the customers’ phones. While many phone companies now offer their customers call blocking tools on an opt-in basis, the Declaratory Ruling clarifies that they can provide them as the default, thus allowing them to protect more consumers from unwanted to implement call blocking programs.

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Texas Passes Debt Buyer Legislation Addressing Out-of-Statute Debt

The Texas Legislature has passed House Bill 996 which limits when a debt buyer can initiate legal action or arbitration to collect consumer debt and requires specific notices with respect to out-of-statute debt.  Upon approval by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, the new provisions will become effective Sept. 1, 2019.

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Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Settles with Freedom Mortgage Corporation

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (Bureau) today announced a settlement with Freedom Mortgage Corporation (Freedom), one of the ten largest Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) reporters nationwide.  Freedom is a mortgage lender with its principal place of business in Mount Laurel, N.J. For each year from 2013 through 2016, it originated more than 50,000 home-purchase loans, including refinancings of home-purchase loans. Freedom is required to collect, record, and report data on HMDA-covered transactions to comply with HMDA and Regulation C.

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TELROCK RELEASES SMARTCONNECT – THEIR NEXT GENERATION DIGITAL CHANNEL MESSAGING SOFTWARE PLATFORM

Atlanta, GA and London, UK – June 5, 2019 – Telrock is proud to announce the release of SmartConnect, their next generation digital channel messaging software platform. SmartConnect represents a robust set of digital channel messaging capabilities that are quick to deploy, easy to use, very economical, and can be leveraged throughout the customer lifecycle. SmartConnect joins Telrock’s growing list of SaaS-based modern software solutions for creditors and collection professionals.

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PayThink CRM and analytics change the game for collection payments

Like relief pitchers, collection executives are tasked with “saving” a situation that has gone bad—customers who haven’t paid their debts.   While the collection department’s intended function is to retrieve money from customers who are late on their payments, banks that fully leverage this department beyond its initial goal will ultimately find their team performs better than those that don’t.   Collection departments can strengthen relationships with customers, offer insights into customer behavior and payments and provide insight into broader market conditions.

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Kraninger Sets Tone for Vigorous Enforcement Agenda in Decisions on Five Petitions to Modify or Set Aside CFPB CIDs

Consumer advocates have heavily criticized Director Kraninger and former Acting Director Mick Mulvaney for taking a much less aggressive attitude towards enforcement than former Director Cordray.  While there are fewer lawsuits and consent orders under the Kraninger/Mulvaney leadership than under the Cordray leadership, the CFPB’s enforcement activities are still quite robust as exemplified by the five decisions and orders issued by Director Kraninger on April 25 in which she, with minor changes, strictly enforced five separate CFPB civil investigative demands (CIDs).  These decisions and orders largely flew under the radar until Jeff Ehrlich, CFPB Deputy Enforcement Director, mentioned them on May 20 in Chicago when he spoke at the PLI 24th Annual Consumer Financial Services Institute, which I co-chaired.

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REGISTER EARLY FOR THE DEBT CONNECTION SYMPOSIUM AND EXPO 2019 AND GET A DISCOUNT RATE!

Debt Connection Symposium and Expo 2019 will be held on September 10-12, 2019 at the Red Rock Hotel in Las Vegas, NV.  There is an early bird rate of $1,295 that will end on July 19, 2019, on July 20, 2019 the rate goes up to $1,395.  Register today to get that early bird rate!  Registration is open to Industry Professionals, both Operational and Marketing, from Creditors, Debt Sellers, Collection Agencies, Collection Attorneys, Debt Buyers, Scoring & Analytics Vendors, Skip/Locate Vendors, Collection/Recovery Software and Hardware Vendors. This conference represents a solid opportunity for substantive interaction between clients and vendors, and a comfortable setting to discuss new opportunities.  Click here to register today 
https://debtconnectionsymposium.com/registration.html

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This Week Marked Low-Key Launch of the GSEs’ Single MBS

The long-awaited single mortgage-backed security from the GSEs Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac launched on Monday. The official start date for the single security was announced in mid-March. The single security will be issued via the Common Securitization Platform (CSP), a technology and operational platform operated by Common Securitization Solutions, a joint venture of the GSEs formed in 2014. The CSP will perform many of the core back office operations for the single security, as well as most of the GSEs' current securitization functions for single-family mortgages. The launch was decidedly anti-climactic. Under a ruling from the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA) the GSEs had already begun delivering forward June UMBS trades with trade dates on or after March 12, 2019 and settlement dates on or after June 3, 2019.

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Third-party breach compromises 7.7 million LabCorp patients’ data

Up to 7.7 million LabCorp patients may have had personal data exposed as a result of a massive breach at a third-party billing collection agency.  LabCorp disclosed the breach in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Tuesday, one day after Quest Diagnostics announced nearly 12 million of its patients had data exposed in the same incident.

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10 associations oppose current FCC robocall proposal

On Thursday, the Federal Communications Commission will consider a proposal the chairman calls bold action to help consumers block unwanted robocalls but is being questioned by 10 different industry associations, including the American Financial Services Association. FCC chairman Ajit Pai has circulated a declaratory ruling that, if adopted, would allow phone companies to block unwanted calls to their customers by default. In addition, companies could allow consumers to block calls not on their own contact list.  The accompanying draft and further notice of proposed rulemaking would propose a safe harbor for providers that implement network-wide blocking of calls that fail caller authentication under the SHAKEN/STIR framework once it is implemented. 

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Mortgage Closing Scams: How to protect yourself and your closing funds

Closing on a new home can be one of your most memorable life moments. It’s the final and one of the most critical stages in the home-buying journey, but with the exchange of key paperwork and a sizable down payment, it can also be a stressful experience, especially for first-time homebuyers. The FBI has reported that scammers are increasingly taking advantage of homebuyers during the closing process. Through a sophisticated phishing scam, they attempt to divert your closing costs and down payment into a fraudulent account by confirming or suggesting last-minute changes to your wiring instructions. In fact, reports of these attempts have risen 1,100 percent between 2015 and 2017, and in 2017 alone, there was an estimated loss of nearly $1 billion in real estate transaction costs. 

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Premera Reaches Proposed $74M Settlement Over 2014 Breach of 11M

 - Premera Blue Cross reached a proposed $74 million settlement with the 11 million patients impacted by its 2014 breach, caused by a sophisticated cyberattack that lasted for nearly one year before it was discovered.   In January 2015, Premera officials discovered the breach that began nearly a year earlier in May 2014. Premera, Premera Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alaska, and the insurer’s affiliates, Vivacity and Connexion Insurance Solutions were impacted, as well as patients who sought treatment in Alaska or Washington during that time perio

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Fintechs vs. Traditional Banks: Who Has the Bigger Advantage?

Financial industry analysts often ridicule traditional banking providers as luddites and technological laggards. But are they really doomed to play the role of victim in their war with digital-first challenger banks and other fintech startups?   Once an exotic alternative reserved for early adopters and adventurous Millennials, a growing array of fintechs are maturing to provide a serious challenge to established banks and credit unions.

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NAFCU at CFPB on TCPA, debt collection

NAFCU met at the CFPB Monday to discuss issues related to the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). The association has stressed the need for clarity under the law to ensure credit unions can contact their members without fear of breaking the law.   NAFCU Director of Regulatory Affairs Ann Kossachev and Regulatory Affairs Counsel Mahlet Makonnen attended the meeting at the bureau, which also included a coalition of other trades.

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TRADE GROUPS RAISE CONCERNS ABOUT FCC ROBOCALL RULES

The FCC is voting this week on rules intended to curb robocalls, but associations in several industries warn that the new regulations could squelch legitimate calls, too. The Federal Communications Commission’s effort to take a more aggressive stance on robocalls has met with resistance from organizations in the financial, healthcare, and debt collection industries that say proposed new rules that would curtail automated nuisance or “spoof” calls might also prevent legitimate calls from reaching consumers.

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Matthew Stauffer Promoted to Chief Financial Officer at Account Control Technology Holdings, Inc.

Account Control Technology Holdings, Inc. (ACT Holdings), a national leader in debt recovery and business process outsourcing solutions, is proud to announce the promotion of Matthew Stauffer to Chief Financial Officer (CFO). Stauffer’s career spans more than 25 years of comprehensive business and financial services experience, including the last 20 years in financial leadership positions within Convergent’s (an ACT Holdings company) healthcare division. He will report to the company’s CEO, Mike Meyer.

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CFPB Updates TRID Rule FAQs to Address Construction Loans

The CFPB recently updated the TILA/RESPA Integrated Disclosure (TRID) rule FAQs to address construction loans. The guidance falls well short of what the industry is seeking from the CFPB. Because of the lack of guidance from the CFPB on how to disclose construction loans under the TRID rule, the industry asked Congress to intervene. As previously reported, the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act includes a provision that it is the sense of Congress that the CFPB should endeavor to provide clearer, authoritative guidance on the applicability of the TRID rule to construction-to-permanent loans, and the conditions under which such loans can be properly originated.

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Greg R. Lawson: Ohio should settle with debt settlement services

COLUMBUS — Ohio continues to perpetuate the disturbing trend of allowing industry licensing boards to protect special interests from market competition. From the state cosmetology requirements that make hairdressers train for 10 times as long as emergency medical technicians to the latest special interest effort attacking debt settlement services for the so-called “unauthorized practice of law,” anti-market protectionism always comes at the consumer’s expense.

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ABA, Trades Urge FCC to Protect Lawful Bank Calls

ABA and other trade groups today urged the Federal Communications Commission to seek feedback before moving forward on its proposal to allow telephone companies to block unwanted calls. The FCC’s draft declaratory ruling—which is expected to be voted on during the agency’s June 6 meeting—would permit voice service providers to enroll customers automatically in a call-blocking program that is “based on any reasonable analytics designed to identify unwanted calls.”  The ability for customers to opt out of the program would be required. If adopted, the ruling would be effective immediately.

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Lawmakers advance bill to create position for student loan guidance

A bill that would create the position of Student Loan Ombudsman within the treasurer’s office, passed unanimously through the Senate Government Affairs Committee late Thursday. While the original version of AB383 would have required student loan servicers to be licensed by the Commissioner of Financial Institutions, Democratic Assemblyman Howard Watts introduced an amendment that gutted much of the bill. “We’re removing the licensing and regulation of the servicers and really focusing on creating this ombudsman position, an advocate and an assistant for student borrowers in our state,” Watts said during an Assembly Committee on Ways and Means meeting on Saturday.

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Quest Diagnostics says personal data of almost 12 million customers has been breached

Blood testing group Quest Diagnostics announced Monday that the personal information of 11.9 million patients has been breached, including Social Security numbers, financial information and medical data.   The company said in a statement that an “unauthorized user” gained access to the American Medical Collection Agency (AMCA) system, a billing collection service provider for Quest.

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B2B PAYMENTS: Marketplace Lending At The Crux Of Changing SMB Finance Tides

The 2008 financial crisis gave rise to the alternative lending market as a result of a massive gap in available capital, especially for small businesses and startups. The market’s creation was a spark that ignited a slew of disruptive changes for the small business financial services space.  Alternative finance, for instance, also filled the need for small business borrowers to obtain a faster, digital way to access capital. It encouraged banks to develop their own digital lending solutions and collaborate with their one-time rivals to step up the borrowing experience for SMBs.  The knock-on impacts of small business lending innovation continue to reverberate in the industry, with regulators now exploring small business borrower rights and protections, cybersecurity firms addressing data risks and the small business borrowers with more financing options than ever before. Alternative lending may have been a last resort for SMBs at one time, but today, more and more business owners are turning to AltFin first.

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Auto lending is old-fashioned. Here’s how credit unions are remaking it

Auto loans are a bread-and-butter offering across the credit union landscape, but amid new technologies, changing consumer preferences and increased disruption, plenty of CUs are finding ways to make this product more exciting.  
Throughout the month of May, Credit Union Journal has reported on recent trends and developments across the auto lending space. Those stories are collected here. Read on for more.

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Industry Events

 
PrivacyCon 2019

Federal Trade Commission

400 7th St., SW
Washington , DC
June 27 - 27 , 2019

(202) 326-2222

NACTT 54th Annual Seminar Registration Open

NACTT

JW Marriott Indianapolis 10 S. West Street Indianapolis, IN 46204
Indianapolis , IN
July 16 - 19 , 2019

800-445-8629 | 803-765-0860

ACA International 2019 Annual Convention & Expo

ACA International

Event Location TBA

July 17 - 16 , 2019

800-269-1607

Debt Connection Symposium & Expo 2019

Resource Management Services, Inc.

Red Rock Casino Resort & Spa
11011 W Charleston Blvd
Las Vegas, Nevada

September 10 - 12 , 2019

(562) 906-1101

National Creditors Bar Association 2019 Fall Conference

National Creditors Bar Association

Marriott Marquis
Washington, Washington, DC

October 16 - 19 , 2019

202-861-0706

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