The debt collections industry enjoys acronyms almost as much as Congress does — from CCCO, CCCP and PCS to HIPAA, FDCPA and TCPA — but who’s counting?
The correct answer is that many parties with a vested interest in debt collections — from consumers, clients attorneys to government bureaucracies and watchdogs — are counting on agencies to do the right thing by offering certified compliance training to their employees.
Debt collection agencies wishing to remain in the good graces of one and all maintain fully legal compliance with the law while following a high level of ethical practices.
As the most influential trade organization in the credit and collection industry, ACA International (Association of Credit and Collection Professionals) establishes ethical standards and “strives to clarify the rights and responsibilities of all participants in the credit and collection cycle and enhance the knowledge of credit and collection professionals.” Part of ACA International’s mission includes education, training and certification for debt collection agencies.
Certified Compliance Training at Debt Collection Agencies
ACA International offers five designations demanding specialized coursework, examination and renewal:
- Credit and Collection Compliance Officer (CCCO)
- Credit and Collection Compliance Professional (CCCP)
- Professional Collection Specialist Designation (PCS)
- Trainer Specialist (TSP)
- Healthcare Collection Management (HCM)
The Credit and Collection Compliance Officer curriculum consists of eight courses covering advanced compliance assessment and control, policy writing and procedures, data security and privacy, and ethical collections as well as focused study of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). This certification offers an elevated level of education and strategy for professionals such as a chief compliance officers. Candidates must pass the exam with a score of 85% or higher and renew their certification annually.
Debt collectors with the Credit and Collection Compliance Professional designation receive a “base level of knowledge” that enables them to understand and follow proper compliance procedures. The five-course curriculum includes a distillation of the CCCO certification: ethical collections, policy writing and procedures, and an introduction to collection industry compliance in conjunction with a study of FDCPA issues. Candidates must also achieve a grade of 85% or higher and renew their certification annually.
The Trainer Specialist designation provides the credentials for teaching ACA core collector courses to debt collectors while preparing them for certification as a Professional Collection Specialist. The required TSP courses include FDCPA Essentials for Collectors training, Essential Collection Skills & Techniques, and an online seminar designed for training specialists. Certification is achieved by passing the exam with a score of 90% or higher while renewals are required every three years. PCS training resembles TSP certification, but does not require the online seminars.
Optio Staff with Certified Compliance Training and Certifications
As part of its commitment to full legal compliance, Optio has several staff members with CCCO certification (the legal team and a handful of managers) as well as collectors who have taken part of the required coursework.
The agency is also certified in SSAE 16 SOC I Type II audited financial reporting and Professional Practices Management System by ACA International.
Companies in search of a debt collection agency with certified collectors should look no further than Optio’s stellar reputation for achieving full legal compliance while delivering brand protection and a favorable return on investment. Contact us today.