Greetings from La Jolla, home of both the famous Torrey Pines golf course (permanently) and the 18th annual Credit and Collections News conference and the Prodigal events team (temporarily).
There’s lots to talk about, and some great information coming from leaders like John McNamara of the CFPB (CCN, you always bring great speakers).
We were also happy to have our own Scott Hamilton speaking alongside Nathan Anderson of KPiSuccess and Mark Naiman of Debt Connection on Artificial Intelligence vs. Real Intelligence.
Some of the topics we’re hearing buzz about:
What consumers are asking
Borrowers have questions! The CFPB has answers, mostly via the “Ask CFPB” section of their website.
The top questions? “How often can a debt collector call me?” and “Can a debt collector contact me through social media?”
At least they’re getting their information from the CFPB and not from TikTok.
As is everywhere else, CCN was talking about AI and how to leverage its uses to shake up business. For credit and collections loans servicers and anyone in accounts receivable management, making use of AI can save anywhere from seconds to minutes off interactions with borrowers.
That may not seem like much, but those seconds can add up - significantly. (We wrote about this recently.)
That said, folks want to be cautious about rushing into relationships with teams new to using AI for solutions like automated notes (hey, we wrote about this recently too!)
It’s just like olden times - delinquency levels are back to pre-COVID levels in all areas - credit card delinquency is nearing highs not seen since 2010 - but subprime auto is a major topic of discussion.
Axios reported, “The share of payments on so-called "subprime" auto loans that were at least 60 days late rose to more than 6% in December ,” and what we’re hearing at CCN is that this spike is continuing.
Rules and regulations
While 2022 represented the lowest number of consumer protection litigations filed in a decade, FCRA compliance cases are increasing. We saw some evidence late last year that FDCPA cases were also rising, though that may be slowing. TCPA cases are definitely going down.
Complaints are a huge focus for the CFPB and regulators, especially “threats” in the collection space. We’ll have to keep an eye on that with FDCPA cases that may arise from complaints.
Medical debt remains a large focus area. It’s 57% of all tradelines, and while this year’s shift to remove credit bureau reporting of debts under $500 will shift that number, it’s going to remain a significant presence (the next highest tradeline, according to the CFPB, is telecommunications debt, which is only 15%).
While the National Department of Health Statistics reported that difficulties paying medical debt fell substantially from 2019-2021, that can be attributed at least in part to economic supports during the pandemic, RevCycleIntelligence noted.
Expect this conversation to continue, however, because as the CFPB pointed out in last year’s consumer medical debt report, it’s “less predictive of future payment problems than other debt collections,” and we know the bureaus stripping those tradelines was a proactive measure.
Glad we got to see some of you at the CCN conference. We’re off to sneak off one more round of golf before heading home. Safe travels!