Unlocking Possibilities...In each episode, we delve deep into all things debt collection with some of the brightest and most forward-thinking, paradigm-busting minds in the business. Intimate, deep, and often intense, these are not interviews. They are conversations. Connections from various perspectives designed to provoke, educate, inspire and empower you to discover, uncover, unlock and unleash new possibilities.
Episode 7 Outside The Medical Debt Box
According to CBS News Customers at Credit Karma carried an additional $2.2 billion in overdue medical debt from January 2020 through March 2021, reaching about $47 billion in total — the highest point in at least 16 months. Overdue medical bills are also impacting more people, Credit Karma also found that an additional 2.5 million people saw their medical debt enter collections since the pandemic started.
In this episode, we talk about healthcare receivables and an out-of-the-box approach to some of the issues surrounding healthcare debt. In 2014 two former debt collection executives, Craig Antico and Jerry Ashton founded a company called RIP Medical Debt.
Their website mentions they’ve helped over 2.5 million people abolish 4 billion dollars of medical debt and that number is growing every day. With so much medical debt and increasing healthcare costs, we need out-of-the-box solutions. Craig shares insight into healthcare debt, why it makes sense to embrace additional options in how to handle the debt, and lessons learned in their journey.
Guest: Craig Antico
Craig Antico is the co-founder of RIP Medical Debt, the national charity that has acquired and abolished over $5 billion in unpayable medical debt for over three million people since 2014.
Craig understands the ins and outs of the debt collection industry because he was a financial industry leader in collections, debt buying, and outsourcing for 30-years! After completing his undergraduate degree at Florida Southern College in finance and economics, Craig went on to Pace University for his MBA in finance. His decades of experience include working for IBM, Johnson & Johnson, and several Fortune 100 companies.
Purchasing medical debts to then abolish them, the core of RIP’s work, didn’t cross Craig’s mind until a chance introduction facilitated by his long-time partner in the debt collection industry – and RIP co-founder – Jerry Ashton. Jerry had connected with a group of activists that wanted to cancel debts as a charitable good using donated funds. Realizing the depth and scope of medical debt’s burden on already struggling Americans, Craig and Jerry resolved to start a nonprofit to champion this cause.
After a hard road learning how to raise money, Craig and Jerry got their big break in 2016 when producers from the HBO series, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, inquired about the show’s host purchasing and eliminating medical debt for an upcoming episode. Thanks to RIP’s guidance, John Oliver abolished $15 million in debt on a segment that has been watched by over fifteen million people.
Craig has appeared on NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt, PBS Newshour, and many other media outlets, including over 50 local TV stations throughout the country. The New York Times, The Guardian, Forbes, AARP, The Washington Post, and many others have published articles about Antico and RIP Medical Debt. He is the author of the book “End Medical Debt,” now in its second edition.
Company LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/rip-medical-debt/
LinkedIn: Personal: https://www.linkedin.com/in/antico/
RIP Medical Debt Story
2021 US Census Medical Debt in America Report
Episode 6 It All Starts With A Conversation
Guest: Debbie Frank CEO Credit Bureau Service llc
Credit Bureau Services is known for being a collection agency that is passionate about helping people become debt-free.
Her company has been in business for over eighty years. She is the fourth owner and the first woman to have the opportunity to lead the company in the collection industry.
She loves being a business owner and has an entrepreneurial spirit approach when it comes to business, leadership, and working in the Accounts Receivable Management (ARM) industry.
In her eighteen years in the industry, she has held various positions at the state level serving as a past president of the Missouri Collectors Association and is currently serving on their board of directors. She also currently serves on the ACA Financial Literacy Committee, as their committee chairperson, and a Council of Delegate member representing the state of Missouri. Her most prideful accomplishment has been in 2019 when the agency was named as One of the Top Ten Most Innovative Collection Agencies by Receivable Magazine.
What you’ll learn about in this episode:Our discussion with Debbie centers on Financial Literacy or financial wellness as she calls it. Her company tagline says it all “Doing Work That Matters Where we live, lead, and care about helping people achieve financial peace.”
In our discussion with Debbie, you’ll learn about interesting ideas and processes to transform your collectors into “Relationship Specialists” or “Change Agents” and empower them to do more than just take payments. Debbie shares stories about the impact financial education has on the lives of consumers, employees, and her organization.
Company LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/credit-bureau-services-llc/
LinkedIn: Personal: linkedin.com/in/debbie-frank-474ba23b
ACA Magazine Article: Breaking through the misinformation Hazehttp://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/202104/index.php#/p/26www.knowmydebt.comKnowledge Source
Episode 5 Wisdom and Change
Linda Russell was raised in the collection business. The debt collection agency she ran—CollectionCenter Inc., based in Rawlins, Wyoming started by her father, Clyde Cox, in 1919. Her 1991 ACA International presidency represented a couple of firsts. She was the first woman to hold the office, the first association member from Wyoming to serve as president, and the first ACA president to appear on CNN in her first week of office. Collection Center now run by her son Dan is celebrating 102 years in business.
What you’ll learn about in this episode:
“The accounts receivable management industry has changed a lot since Linda began collecting door to door. In this episode Linda shares some stories about what it takes to create a centennial culture as her company just surpassed 102 years in business quite a milestone in any business, but especially for a collection agency. During our discussion, we talk about what's changed and how mindset, attitude, and the personal touch remain keystones in building a business that lasts.” Core principles for building a centennial culture and loyalty that lasts over generations.How Linda’s door-to-door collections led to improved phone collections.What’s changed and what hasn’t in Debt CollectionsThe inside scoop on her journey of becoming the first woman ACA President and testifying before Congress on behalf of the industry and the FDCPA.
Website: https://www.mycollectioncenter.com/Email: firstname.lastname@example.orgLinkedIn: Company https://www.linkedin.com/company/collectioncenter-inc/LinkedIn: Personal https://www.linkedin.com/in/linda-russell-78050824/Additional Resources:
ACA International Article
Episode 4 Benchmarking Groups
Harry Strausser III is a second-generation collection veteran having held the position of President of two successful collection firms until the sale of those firms in May 2017. Throughout his career Harry was active in the Mid-Atlantic Collectors Association where he served as President, and ACA International, Inc., the association of credit and collection professionals, in which he is a Senior Certified Trainer. He has served on the ACA International Executive Committee and held the position of President in 2004-2005. He currently holds the position of President of Applied Innovation, a software company that serves the ARM space.
He holds an MA in communication from Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania and a BS in business administration from the same institution. He has served as a full-time adjunct professor for the Department of Communication Studies at Bloomsburg University where he taught interpersonal communication, public speaking, and corporate communication. As a sought-after industry speaker, he has traveled extensively across the United States and internationally during which he has conducted over 1000 educational and motivational programs for associations, private enterprises, conferences, and public seminar events.
Harry enjoys travel, music, working outdoors at his home, and spending time with his family and two golden retrievers, Tindaqwae (Tin- Dah-Quay) and Luna.
What you’ll learn about in this episode: “The accounts receivable management industry is dominated by small, privately held companies which make finding broad benchmarking data difficult because there is little public financial data available and few companies are willing to part with sensitive financial data.”
Key benefits and strongest elements of a benchmark group.How to overcome the dynamics of trust with small to midsize agenciesHow to go about starting or finding the right groupSteps and what you should and shouldn't doSIze of the group and size of the companiesHarry shares valuable insights he’s gained from years of experience.KPIs the good and the badBenchmarking reports you should seek right now
Website: https://www.appliedinnovationinc.com/Email: email@example.comLinkedIn: Company https://www.linkedin.com/company/applied-innovation-inc-/LinkedIn: Personal https://www.linkedin.com/in/harry-strausser-iii-7413106/Additional Resources:
IBIS World Debt Collection Industry Info
ACA International Research Center Info
Episode 3 The Secret Weapon
Guest: Pat Hutchins
CEO/Founder Financial Data Systems
Pat attended East Carolina University where he also began his career in debt collection at Online Collections
He loves spending time with his lovely wife, Kim and 2 beautiful kids McCallum and Helen Grace although both kids are in college, and friends boating/beaching, fishing, exercising and golf. He’s a very lucky dude!
What you’ll learn about in this episode:
Pat’s lifetime experience in debt collection and the candid discussion present many nuggets as we deep dive into Medical collection from Pat’s perspective. We discuss how to develop a collector mindset, and what Pat calls his secret weapon as well as collection techniques to keep payments flowing.
Techniques for improved collections, it’s the little things…Learn how Pat turned consumer interaction and customer service into a vital part of his Brand.Learn how to cultivate the right culture, find and hire rockstarsMany nuggets about finding your niche and building a successful agency.
LinkedIn: Company https://www.linkedin.com/company/financial-data-systems-the-receivables-specialists/
LinkedIn: Personal https://www.linkedin.com/in/pat-hutchins-48789630/
Collector Job stats: https://www.zippia.com/debt-collector-jobs/demographics/
Adam Grant Wharton College Research on motivating employees: https://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/article/putting-a-face-to-a-name-the-art-of-motivating-employees/
Episode 2 Connection is Currency
Mary Shores is a second-generation collection agency owner, a bestselling author, and an international speaker. Her current passion in life is promoting collector training and development through The Collection Advantage online training program, which features Mary’s extensive studies into neuroscience and compassion to teach collectors how to execute high-converting, empathetic scripting.
What you’ll learn about in this episode: There’s a shift in brand awareness and transparency, especially with the pandemic. Learn about how companies can get the right message out there to be on the right side of change.
How changing your mindset will position your company for growth
Learn what differentiates successful debt collection companies from the rest
Learn how to cultivate the right culture, find and hire rockstars
Learn about the psychological burden of debt and how can we move forward to make sure we’re evolving our practices to meet the new normal that revolves around emotions and why we should invest in human capital.
Website: https://www.maryshores.com/Email: firstname.lastname@example.orgLinkedIn:Company http://www.midstatecollections.com/LinkedIn: Personal https://www.linkedin.com/in/shoresmary/Additional Resources:
3 Pivots to better collections The Biggest Secret in CollectionsOvercoming the Stigma 3 Keys to Establish Credibility in the New Normal Attracting your next Rockstar Use This to Write Your Next Collector Job AdOnward Nation’s Stephen Woessner gave a good research link on this topic and I’ll share that again here for listeners https://www.edelman.com/research/the-action-mandate-for-brandsThe Biggest Secret in Collections3 Keys to Establish Credibility in the New NormalUse This to Write Your Next Collector Job Ad
Awesome stuff verry informative.