The ARM industry is used to bad news and negative media attention. But this week, there were a couple articles run in prominent media that cast the industry in a positive light. The first was a nice local profile of a collection agency and the second featured a defense of private collectors on the Department of Education’s student loan collection contract.

Business publication Louisville Business First featured commercial collection agency CST Co. Inc., and its owner, in an article titled “CST Co. Inc. president Pete Roth works to defy debt collector stereotype.”

A reporter for the magazine travelled to CST’s office to profile the ARM firm, in business in the area since 1927. The piece primarily focused on Roth and his journey from territory sales rep with CST to its President, a job he’s held for eight years.

Even the writer acknowledged that that finding sympathy for debt collectors can sometimes be a tough task, beginning the article:

Perhaps for many people, the very mention of a collection agent evokes dread. It conjures up imaginary scenes in which you’re the victim of a confrontational beleaguering.

I, too, held the stereotype.

But I was pleasantly surprised when I met Pete Roth, president of CST Co. Inc. He welcomed me to his office with a warm smile and a hearty handshake. He exudes the congeniality you might expect from a doctor or a minister.

The second positive article was an opinion piece submitted by James Bergeron, president of the National Council of Higher Education Resources (NCHER). While op-eds defending the industry are fairly common, this particular piece ran in the influential Congressionally-focused publication, The Hill.

Writing under the title “Private collection agencies provide critical service,” Bergeron directly tackled the avalanche of negative press surrounding the Department of Education’s private student loan debt collection contract.

Bergeron noted that, “Despite the negative press and accusations, no proof of intentional wrongdoing has yet to be shared.” He then explained that the private collection agencies provide a valuable service in keeping open the $100 billion per year in low-interest loans provided to Americans by the government to attend college.

Most interesting in all of the data provided was the bullet point: In FY 2013, the federal government kept $0.91 of every $1.00 recovered by a PCA, showing the tremendous value of outsourcing collections.

Both articles are great and highly recommended for any ARM professional tired of seeing the same negative attention in the media.


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