Change is difficult for all of us – More so when it comes with a high price tag. For many collection agencies, the changes they must make to their training program in order to meet even the minimum CFPB requirements will also be the most expensive. The reason is because a strong, robust compliance training program must be: • Role-based • Planned • Comprehensive • Effective • Fluid • Standardized • Responsive • Measurable The real question: “Where should I start?” Begin by assessing the following statements as true or false to get a baseline on your training compliance knowledge, then review your answers: Q - 1: The terms “Compliance Management System,” “Complaint Management System” and “Compliance Program” essentially mean the same thing when it comes to CFPB requirements. True ___ False ___ Q - 2: Role-based training only applies to collectors, floor supervisors, collection managers and skip tracers. True ___ False ___ Q - 3: A solid training program begins and ends with new hires. True ___ False ___ Q - 4: Fair Debt Collection Practices Act training for collectors comprises the majority of the training curricula required by the CFPB. True ___ False ___ A - 1: False. If you use any of these terms interchangeably give yourself an A for reading this blog, an F for comprehension, and then forgive me for being so blunt – But you have some studying to do. The definitions for compliance management system, complaint management system, and compliance program are all very different, and very important. Brush up on each if you can’t tell them apart yet. A - 2: False. When we refer to role-based training, we are discussing unique programs for each of the three major categories of individuals who support or drive your collection agency, debt buying firm or collection law firm operation. Namely, the board of directors, management personnel, and staff. A - 3: False. The CFPB considers training to be a type of continuous improvement program for the entity as well as the individuals who support and drive it. Training that ends after the new hire orientation period is seriously deficient. A - 4: False. The CFPB expects collection organizations to deliver role-based training to its board of directors, management, and staff. Depending on the role, training may range from a basic primer on the company’s policies and procedures to a full complement of training on Federal consumer financial laws. See CFPB Supervision and Examination Manual CMR 6, Manual V.2 (October 2012). So how well did you do? If the answer is “not,” don’t despair – Many find themselves in the same position, making the fifth question in this quiz the most important: Q - 5: Where do I go next? A-5: The CFPB has made it abundantly clear training is essential to maintain an effective compliance program. In fact training is one of the three critical pillars of your compliance program. Policies and procedures, and monitoring and corrective action compose the other two. If you are wondering where to begin, start with your board members. Compliance begins and ends with your organization’s governing body. Your board members should receive sufficient information to enable them to understand your organization’s responsibilities and its commensurate compliance resource requirements. You should also ensure your board members understand their responsibility to drive your organization’s commitment to compliance from the top down. Second, management and staff should receive specific, comprehensive training that reinforces and helps implement written policies and procedures. Policies and procedures that are not adhered to in the collection process are at best worthless, and at worst, a legal liability. Third, requirements for compliance with Federal consumer financial laws, including prohibitions against unlawful discrimination, and unfair, deceptive, and abusive acts and practices should be incorporated into training for all relevant officers and employees, including audit personnel. At a minimum, managers and staff should receive role-based training on compliance with the following Federal consumer financial laws at the time of hire and throughout the term of their employment: • Fair Debt Collection Practices Act • Fair Credit Reporting Act • Electronic Funds Transfer Act • Telephone Consumer Protection Act • Gramm Leach Bliley Act • Unfair, Deceptive or Abusive Acts and Practices • Equal Credit Opportunity Act Use this article to conduct a mini review of your organization’s training program. Determine whether your trainer and your training program includes each of the required components, the frequency with which that training is conducted and updated, who receives the training, and how you test your team’s comprehension of the material presented. If you find you are struggling, do not despair. Feel free to contact the Ontario Systems Compliance Services team for more information. Disclaimer: Ontario Systems is a technology company and provides this blog entry solely for general informational and marketing purposes. You should not rely on the content of this material for any other purpose or as specific guidance for your company. Ontario Systems’ advice, services, tools and products described herein do not guarantee compliance with any law or industry standard. You are ultimately responsible for your own company’s actions and compliance efforts. Because everyone’s situation is different, you must consult your own attorneys, accountants, and/or other advisors to obtain specific advice on your company’s compliance, legal, tax, regulatory and/or other business needs. Despite Ontario Systems’ efforts to provide current and up-to-date information, you need to recognize that the information contained herein may become outdated quickly and may contain errors and/or other inaccuracies. © 2014 Ontario Systems, LLC. All rights reserved. Information contained in this document is subject to change. Reproduction of this publication is not permitted without the express permission of Ontario Systems, LLC.