The debt-management profession is still a relatively new field in the United States, and the new standards, tools and research behind them are being tested and refined.
The next generation of debt managers, however, are on a mission to redefine the debt management profession and push it into new, exciting territory.
“It’s very hard to do business without a debt-free model,” says Robert Riedel, managing director of The Wealth Institute, a consulting firm that focuses on debt-collection.
“The whole debt-prevention thing has been pretty successful.
It’s really important to recognize that.
You need to embrace debt management as a model, not just as a business practice.
You don’t just have to have a debt management plan, you have to embrace the idea that there is something that you’re doing wrong and you need help.”
To that end, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), the country’s top creditor watchdog, has developed new standards for debt management and has set the stage for an industry-wide transformation.
The Federal Reserve has issued new guidelines for the debt-tracking services that were previously available only to a handful of institutions, and it is now launching a new round of loan-loss prevention guidelines that will apply to a wider group of financial institutions.
The rules are also being rolled out to other industry sectors, including insurance and real estate.
They’re part of a broad effort by the Fed to create a global standard for debt-dissemination and to push debt-reduction strategies beyond the banking sector.
And FINRA, which oversees consumer finance and consumer credit, is developing new standards that will be applied to a broader group of businesses.
Finra is also working on standards for asset-management companies, which specialize in helping consumers avoid predatory lending.
But its new rules have been welcomed by debt-collectors, who say they have helped the industry to better protect consumers.
“These new guidelines are a big step forward in addressing consumer debt management in an industry that is already extremely well-regarded and respected,” says Daniel Schmitt, chief executive officer of The Debt Management Institute.
“For the industry, they’re the latest step in making sure that it’s the right industry for us.”
Debt-management firms have been making progress in the past year.
Last year, FINRA issued new rules for debt collection companies that were designed to help creditors better manage their accounts.
In the first quarter of 2017, for example, more than two-thirds of debt-processing companies used debt-loss mitigation techniques.
And more than 40 percent of the industry’s consumer credit-monitoring services, like credit-report apps, are using debt-risk management techniques, including using debt as an asset, or limiting a borrower’s credit risk by limiting a number of credit-scoring factors, such as their income and credit score.
The new rules are being rolled back in some cases.
For example, in January, FINRAs new rules aimed at helping consumers limit credit-score losses on their personal and business credit cards were rolled back.
In another example, FINSA said in a new rule that it would not be able to require credit-reporting companies to monitor consumers’ credit-worthiness and credit utilization, saying that such monitoring is necessary for creditors to protect themselves from fraudulent charges.
In a report published in February, The Consumer Credit Information Association noted that debt-based debt management firms are still lagging behind the industry.
In 2015, there were more than 6 million debt-service companies and debt-assistance companies.
By 2021, there will be nearly 14 million, according to the report.
In addition, the report found that there are more than 4.5 million creditors who do not have the right type of financial services to take advantage of the new rules.
The Financial Services Forum, an industry group representing debt-services companies, released a statement in July saying that the new guidelines were a step forward for the industry and that they were necessary to better combat consumer debt.
“While some debt-servers are working on the new tools to help consumers better manage credit and avoid debt traps, many others are still struggling to improve their financial literacy and identify the best debt-resolving methods,” the group said.
“And as the debt industry continues to evolve, there are still gaps in the consumer credit industry.
While there are a wide variety of options to help customers manage their credit, many are not yet fully integrated with credit-tracking tools.”
For the debt collectors, the new credit-loss reduction guidelines will have a significant impact.
They are the first of many, says Marcia Schuster, director of credit and debt for The Debt Recovery Institute, an online resource for consumers who are victims of predatory debt.
For most debt collectors in the U.S., there are no options to manage their debt.
But Schuster says that this new credit loss-reducing standard will be a boon for them.
“I think that this is a really big step, because the new debt-reco