Monthly Archives: March 2014

Debt Recovery Strategies for Student Loans

The debt that students find themselves in because of taking out too many student loans hasCollections 3 gotten a close look for the last 10-plus years. However, public outcry really went up  when the student loan debt surpassed credit card debt last year.

Universities are being tasked to monitor their cost increases and some states have instituted tuition maximums that universities must abide by or risk losing part of their state appropriation. When you and your staff have done everything you can to address costs at your educational institution, you’re still going to have students leaving with debt that goes unpaid.

Let’s take a look at where most of the debt lies. Of the $1 trillion in student loan debt, $850 million is tied to federal student loans, like the Stafford, Perkins and PLUS loans. Around $150 million is tied to private student loans. A surprising amount of students are defaulting on these loans, but most debt collection attempts start with the private loans.

Collecting on federal students loans is a lot more difficult than collecting on private loans. It’s a very time consuming process that takes an expert touch to pull off correctly. The Department of Education doesn’t take on new debt recovery firms very often, but the ones that are working on federally defaulted loans have probably been on the task for quite some time.

Most private loans come with a different interest rate than federal loans. The default periods are also different, most of the time. If your institution is relying on private loans as well as federal loans, you need a debt recovery agency that can deal with those private loans that aren’t being paid.

Most reputable debt recovery agencies will have a system in place that allows them to automate the way they process each loan recovery attempt. The trying part about dealing with student loan debt is that the debt is one person’s name (the student) while the person paying it is many times someone completely different (usually the parent). Some of these parents are working on retiring soon and might have a tougher time paying back the loans they co-signed for years earlier.

The demographics are changing, too. For instance, the Millennials are the first set of students leaving higher education without landlines. They are a transient group that are tough to pin down. It takes the expert touch of a debt recovery agency to get your institution’s debt back to you.

Most Millennials are more likely to respond to electronic forms of communication. Debt recovery agencies with the right hardware, software and motivated staff are able to work around the intricacies offered by the newest generation of college graduates.

Omega-RMS, llc., can handle debts of all kinds in any state. The staff at Omega is qualified to handle debts owed by debtors in all 50 states and they have the ability to negotiate payment that will get your students out of default and back to a good status.

Debt Recovery Companies Are Not Created Equal

Debt 6There are many judges in the court of public opinion and they don’t always see the big picture. Thanks to social media, consumers are constantly being updated with “objective” views on various products or industries. The court of public opinion has been a tough space for the debt collection industry despite the valuable role that those companies play in helping the economy recover.

Debt recovery companies are highly regulated. It’s something that became necessary decades ago when a few companies took advantage of debtors and left them feeling like victims. Congress got involved and in 1996 established the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. This Act was built to provide protection to consumers. It also helped create a level playing field for debt recovery companies that operate with professional conduct and ethical practices.

Despite the act of Congress, there remains an opinion among the public that collection agencies are unscrupulous companies that have no compassion for the financial hardships of debtors. Complaints against various debt recovery companies get published with only one side of the story getting any press. The data behind the complaints get no analysis and many assumptions are made.

Despite all the bad press, debt recovery companies are providing a vital service to the business sector by helping them regain lost profits in an ethical and above-the-board manner. The reason? Most business owners are wary of their public image being sullied by debt collection attempts, which means the debt recovery company they partner with has to be fair and kind to the debtor. Without a gentle touch, no company would ever risk their brand’s public image and lose the customer base just to recover old debt.

It’s true that not all debt recovery companies are created equal. While some might be operating with ethical treatment and follow every rule and regulation, others do it better. Courtesy, consideration and patience are tactics that work, not only to please the client and retain their position within the court of public opinion, but to work out a solution that gets the debtor back on a better financial track.

Some consumers are doing everything they can to resolve their debt, but they need guidance. Debt recovery companies are experts at working out a schedule that can fit the budget of the consumer while resolving their debt, which is likely hurting their credit health. Credible debt recovery companies will listen to what the consumer has to say and develop a plan that works for the debtor and the client.

Omega-RMS, llc., has the trained staff as well as the top-notch software and hardware that assist companies like yours in recovering debt you thought you’d have to write off. Omega has your best interests in mind, too. We aren’t going to strong-arm your customers into paying debt at the expense of your public image. Not only will we put you in a better financial position by recovering your debt, we’ll also make certain that your customer base remains loyal to your brand.

Debt Collection Industry Hears the Complaints of Customers

Mobile Phones 1Thanks to smartphones and tablet computers, society is constantly wired in to what’s going on around them. News sites let you create an email alert whenever your favorite topic gets a mention. Your Twitter feed is full of opinions from people you know and don’t know, and it’s all available in the palm of your hand. Whenever something negative happens to a customer, anyone connected with them through social media will immediately find out what happened.

This lightening-fast connection to one another is something many companies have a public relations strategy to handle when things go wrong. Just think about how damaging a complaint that goes viral can be for a company. In one instance, a United Airlines passenger had his $3,500 guitar broken by a careless baggage handler. United’s response to his complaints prompted the musician to make a video about his experience. It went viral and within four days of its release, United’s stock fell 10 percent, representing a $180 million loss to stockholders.

The message is clear: treat your valued customers like they mean something to you or you will experience the consequences.

The Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB) has made it easy for unhappy customers to make official complaints on its website. An item on the CFPB’s home page allows users to click on it and choose a product or service where they’ve experienced something negative. What’s in the top three most common products or services? Mortgage, debt collection and credit reporting top the list.

When submitting a complaint on debt collection, it can be about anything, from credit cards to mortgages and anything in between. Consumers are asked what type of debt they have that prompted the offending collection practice, what type of violation the collector made, a box where a full description of the event can be entered and another box where the offended party can state their desired resolution.

The database, as of early March, had hit more than 10,000 complaints, which averages out to around 200 complaints a week. Unfortunately, there are a few debt collection firms that have the expertise to do their jobs right, but for the sake of profits, push the boundaries of what’s ethical and what’s legal. In doing so, they hurt the image of the industry, which provides a vital piece of the puzzle for successful businesses. Yet there are reputable debt collection companies

Too many businesses are finding their growth potential hampered by late paying or non-paying customers. Reputable debt collection agencies offer these companies a service that allows them to get their money back while also keeping their public image in a positive light.

Organizations that are wary of debt collection agencies quickly have their opinions turned around when they partner with Omega-RMS, llc. Proper training, state-of-the-art hardware and software are what keeps Omega-RMS on top of what companies need to protect their brands while recouping losses.

FDPCA Enforcement Ensures You Can Trust in Reputable Companies Like Omega RMS Collections

Trust 1In an industry where trust is an issue, word from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) that it has increased its law enforcement action is welcomed from ethical debt collection firms.

Historically, the FTC delivers an annual report on the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) to Congress. However, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) recently took over the majority of the responsibilities outlined in the FDCPA. The FTC helped the CFPB prepare its first report, which included a letter delivered this week outlining its work on nine debt collection cases that occurred in 2013.

The FTC actually has a number of actions it can take to resolve issues related to debt collection violations, but is most effective by using consumer education, research and enforcement. The FTC said that since the recession, the most valuable tool they have is enforcement.

As an example of its enforcement proceedings, the FTC was able to stop illegal debt collection activities seven times in 2013 by obtaining court orders. The FTC also sent two cases to the Department of Justice. Restraining orders are also employed to halt the activities of potentially illegal debt collection operations.

Debt collection firms operating outside of the law can receive swift action. For instance, Asset & Capital Management Group and Goldman Schwartz Inc. each had their assets frozen and their operation was appointed to other firms as it went through court proceedings. Forensic Case Management Services, Inc., received some severe punishment from the FTC in the form of a lifetime ban from ever operating within the industry.

In a first of a kind move, the FTC took action against National Attorney Collection Services, In., for using text messages inappropriately for debt collection purposes. The Glendale, California based firm was ordered to pay $1 million in a settlement over federal violations.

NCO Group incurred civil penalties of $3.2 million after it violated the FDCPA last year. This marks the largest penalty ever levied against a third party debt collector. The violations included calling debtors multiple times a day, continued calls after requests to cease contact had been made, calling debtors at their work and leaving messages that disclosed information that is illegal to divulge.

It’s behavior like this that keeps business owners from seeking out the services of a debt collection agency. The fear among business owners is that when collections are brought into the mix, the customer base will react negatively and hurt the reputation of the company. A reputable company will treat debtors with respect, which helps to keep the brand of the company they represent in the good graces of the public.

Reputable debt collectors like Omega-RMS collections applaud swift action taken by the FTC. They work hard to satisfy clients by treating debtors ethically, professionally, responsibly and with respect. Omega-RMS collections works with clients to provide a meaningful and positive experience. It’s this approach to quality that has brought us to the front of the industry and recognized as a valuable member of the Association of Credit and Collection Professionals.

Debt Collection and Other Top Ways to Improve Cash Flow at Your Medical Office

Economy 4More medical practices are finding their patients’ out-of-pocket costs are going up, which means they’re not paying their medical bills in a timely matter. One of the reasons for this is the influx of more insurance plans that offer lower monthly premiums in return for higher deductibles and co-pays. How can your practice stay on top of this trend and keep patients current in their accounts?

Here are some tips to improve cash flow for your medical practice:

Timely invoicing and deposits

Maybe you’re not invoicing patients fast enough. It’s true that medical practices that bill their patients faster have a better payment rate than those that don’t. Perhaps your practice has to wait until the insurance company gets back to you on what they’ll cover and how much the patient will be responsible for? You should be tapping into the paying party’s system to get a better idea of what the deductibles are, which means you’ll have the information you need to bill them faster.

When the patient does pay you, don’t hold on to it for a week – deposit it as soon as possible. There are many banks that allow automated solutions that get money into your account faster. From lockbox services to remote deposit, banks are more willing to work with clients, including your medical practice.

Merge to one database

It’s quite common to find medical practices using different databases for claims and explanation of benefits. Your staff is using up valuable time to manually post the payments, claims and EOBs associated with reimbursements into different databases. However, they can now use one database to accomplish this. The solution is offered through back-office outsourcing software that some banks and other financial institutions offer.

Outsource your debt collection

As you continue to look for ways to better treat the health of your patients, you should also consider methods that can benefit the cash flow of your medical practice. Debt collection that brings a third party into the mix is one of those ideas.

An increasingly popular decision being made by medical offices is to partner with a professional, third party debt collection group that has the expertise to guide you through a process that can keep cash flowing. Your medical practices should consider a third party that can take some of that hassle off of your hands and free up your time for your patients.

Omega-RMS, llc. is a debt collection agency that has many tools at its disposal that can help your medical practice in many ways. You can’t afford to let unpaid medical debt go unnoticed. When you partner with us, you’re getting a team of professionals armed with knowledge, training, software and hardware that can do what your staff cannot.

At Omega, we’re dedicated to treating your patients with respect and professionalism, just as you do as you dedicate your expertise to improving their health.

Customer Debt on the Rise? Five Smart Tactics to Make Sure You Get Paid

Debt 5There are so many reasons for customer debt, but the end result for your business is always the same – no cash flow and no chance for growth.

Almost every small business owner has had too much experience with customer debt lately due to the strained economic situation in the U.S. and many countries around the world. In many cases, it’s a Catch 22 situation where you can’t pay your lenders and suppliers until your customers pay you. The other drawback is that you also have trouble making your monthly bills and weekly or bi-weekly payroll obligations because you’re short on cash.

As a small business owner, you know how difficult it is to get a late-paying customer to settle up. Lately, you’ve noticed more customer debt and more difficulty in extracting payments from them. You want to use a gentle hand because you’re afraid that if you get too aggressive, you’ll give the late-paying customers motivation to paint your brand in a bad light. You’re also wary of bringing a third party debt collection agency in for the same reason, but you might be wrong on that assumption.

So what can you do to make sure your invoices are paid?

1. Tactics that have worked for some organizations include calling the customer a few times to remind that they have an outstanding account. The use of email can also be effective for customers who are more apt to see their statements online and prefer to pay that way as well. Emails are much less labor intensive than having employees make calls everyday.

2. Have you offered your customer base convenient payment options? As you’ve realized by now, some customers need every option put in front of them before you’ll get a reaction from them. Many of them will have a difficult time finding a time to come to your place of business, they need more convenient options. You should have either a toll free number they can call to set up payments, or better yet, a secure website where they can enter their account information and make timely payments or automatic payments.

3. When you’ve extended as much time on a late payment as you can handle (90 days for many organizations), it’s time to step up your attitude. You’ve been polite and offered your customer options. Keep your polite tones but start telling them you’ll be forced to send their account to collections if they don’t make an attempt at payment.

4. When your reasoning fails to illicit a response, get attorneys involved. It’s amazing what a letter from a law firm will do to inspire a non-paying customer to get on their feet.

5. Your best bet is to partner with a professional debt collection agency that has the expertise to converse with your clients on your behalf and get them to pay without your clients feeling like they’ve been pressured unfairly.

Omega-RMS, llc. is a debt collection company with several services that keep your clients’ accounts on a payment schedule that will keep your cash flowing and your opportunities for growth wide open.

Debt Collection Service: When to Send Your Medical Practice Accounts to a Third Party

When you decide to invest in software to automate your medical billing, it is usually because it makes financial sense and helps to smooth out office operations. Whether or not your office uses this kind of software, it’s important that your patients are billed promptly and correctly. Yet even when every effort has been made to bill on time and communicate payment expectations clearly, some accounts languish.

Slow and Stagnant Accounts
Some patients are slow to pay and others never make payment. It is important that your officeCollections 5 staff understands how to deal with these accounts since persistent and polite contact can help to keep the amount of unpaid debt your offices carries to a minimum. On the other hand, there is a reasonable point at which your staff should be redirected toward more immediate patient activity. That is the time to engage a reputable debt collection service.

A Better Approach
Hiring a debt collection service is not a hard-nosed move on the part of the doctor, rather it is a sound business practice much like hiring qualified staff or utilizing medical software. This is another way to keep the office fiscally strong and on solid financial footing.

Put a Policy in Place
Since making the decision to outsource to a third party can be difficult it’s wisest to have a standard policy on the matter. Most experts agree that 90 days is the dividing line between when your staff is likely to collect on delinquent accounts and when it is time to bring in outside help.

Your billing staff should be trained to spend the first 90 days making repeated contact with patients to remind them of their unpaid bill. Your staff should know how to balance cordiality with professional expectations during each contact. Keep in mind that every 30 days that the account continues unpaid, its value drops as much as 15 percent. After three months, statistics show that your chances of collecting begin to drop precipitously.

It’s About Confidence
When you’ve reached that watermark and it’s time to choose a third party debt collection service it can be hard to know whom to trust. It will require a bit of questioning on your end, but the peace of mind knowing you have the right partner is worth the effort.

Look for a company that understands the importance of patient retention. You want to close the debt gap, but you’d like to hold onto your patients at the same time. If you choose a service with proper licensure this is one sign that they will comply with the highest standards of professionalism and makes it more likely that patients will not leave as a result.

Ask the company how much experience they have working with medical practices. Ask about credentials. Ask how they plan to pursue your delinquent accounts in a way that is consistent with your valuable community reputation.

Turning to a third party for help collecting on delinquent accounts can be a tough decision. But, in fact, it is just one of many business decisions you make in your office all the time. With a little investigating on your part, you can feel confident that you’ve found a partner that will prove to be an asset to your medical practice. Omega-RMS has years of experience helping medical practices just like yours recover on languishing accounts. Give us a call today to see how we can get you started on the right path.