FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Ethical guidelines improve commercial collections
(MINNEAPOLIS, February 19, 2004) You’re probably aware that all’s fair in love and war, but what about in the business of collecting commercial debt? In an arena where competition is the name of the game, who’s to say whether one agency slighted another as both sought to improve their bottom-line?
To create an environment of trust and integrity among commercial debt collectors, and between collectors and their clients, the International Association of Commercial Collectors (IACC) has established a Code of Ethics for the industry. The IACC guidelines are binding to members of the organization, holding them to the highest standards of principle and conduct in the business.
Such standards are necessary in an industry that relies heavily on forwarding accounts from one agency to another. “It’s all about providing the best possible service to the client,” said IACC president, Jim Bessenbacher, Jr. “Ironically, it is fierce competition that has brought collectors together to improve their services.”
Credit grantors send accounts to the collection agency they work with. Frequently, the agency determines that one or more of the accounts could be more efficiently recovered by another collector, handing off the accounts to the other agency to act as their subcontractor. In these cases, both collection agencies played a role in recovering the debt, and both should be compensated for their efforts, said Bessenbacher.
To obtain these highly effective relationships, mutually-beneficial ground rules must be in place. “Without the cooperation defined in the code of ethics, the first agency would never refer their workload out to their competitor—they’d fear the other agency would go back to the credit grantor and make a new deal, cutting them out altogether,” said Bessenbacher. “But their reluctance to forward the account could mean diminished results for their client, which in turn could mean losing future business. In striving for the most cost-effective solutions for their clients, commercial collectors compete as colleagues, not adversaries.”
Other measures in the IACC Code of Ethics mandate collectors hold separate trust accounts for recovered monies and operating expenses; be bonded and licensed as required by local, state and federal law; and show due consideration of commercial debtors.
“When a credit grantor partners with an IACC member, they can be assured they’re working with a company that represents the best practices of the industry,” said Bessenbacher. “Our code of ethics was developed with all stakeholders in mind: colleagues, clients, attorneys and debtors are afforded fair, consistent treatment by collectors practicing IACC guidelines.”
With 215 collection agency members and 142 attorney members, The International Association of Commercial Collectors Inc. (IACC) is the world’s largest international trade association for commercial debt collection professionals. Headquartered in Minneapolis, IACC serves members throughout the United States and in 24 other countries worldwide. Members of IACC recover millions of dollars annually for their clients and provide valuable assistance to credit departments in controlling mounting debts. To learn more, visit the IACC Web site at http://www.commercialcollector.com.