ACA Members Appointed to California’s New Debt Collection Advisory Committee

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Several members of ACA International have been appointed to the California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation’s (DFPI) new debt collection advisory committee.

The seven-member committee will provide critical feedback to the DFPI as it creates its debt collection licensing program.

The diverse group includes a consumer advocate and representatives from the debt collection, debt buying, third-party collection, and collection law industries, according to a news release from the DFPI.

ACA members on the committee include Scott Hyman, attorney with Severson & Werson PC; Mark Naiman, president of Absolute Resolutions Corp.; Cindy Yaklin, president of States Recovery Systems Inc. and the California Association of Collectors Inc. (CAC); Tamar Yudenfreund, senior director, public policy at Encore Capital Group and chair of ACA’s federal affairs committee; and Ohad Samet, president of TrueAccord Corp.

“ACA International is thrilled to have member representation on this new committee and to be able to engage with stakeholders from other industries as well as the state regulator,” said Andrew Madden, ACA’s vice president of state unit and government affairs. “This is an important step in continuing to grow ACA’s state advocacy efforts.”

Additional committee members include Elizabeth Gonzalez, directing attorney with the Consumer Law Unit at the Public Law Center, and Prasad Krishnamurthy, professor of law at the University of California Berkeley School of Law.

“I look forward to working with this group representing diverse stakeholders in the debt collection industry,” DFPI Commissioner Manuel P. Alvarez said in the news release. “The committee’s perspectives and advice will be critical in helping the department effectively oversee debt collectors and protect consumers.”

The committee members were appointed by Alvarez for two-year terms. The committee was created as part of the state’s Debt Collection Licensing Act (DCLA) signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom last year.

The CAC advocated to ensure workable options for consumers and the ARM industry in the licensing bill.

“With over 30 years of experience, Ms. Yaklin has developed a breadth of knowledge regarding all areas of recovery, strategic analysis, compliance, and business operations,” Tom Griffin, CAC General Counsel, said in a news release on her appointment to the committee. “There is no better person to represent the debt collection industry while also protecting consumers.”

Licenses will be required starting Jan. 1, 2022, ACA previously reported. Debt collectors that apply for a license before Jan. 1, 2022, will be allowed to operate pending the approval or denial of the application.

The DFPI has filed a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to add to the agency’s license application process and public comments are due June 8, ACA previously reported.

The debt collection advisory committee is slated to host its first meeting July 28, 2021. Meetings will be held twice per year, or as needed.

The DFPI is operating under the authority of the new California Consumer Financial Protection Law (CCFPL). The department has expanded supervision and enforcement powers to better protect California consumers, promote responsible innovation, reduce regulatory uncertainty for emerging financial products, and increase education and outreach to vulnerable groups, according to the DFPI news release.