Debt collecting is an age-old business but it may soon receive a 21st-century revamp when the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, an agency created in the wake of the financial crisis to protect consumers, proposes new rules for the industry. Among the changes may be whether debt collectors can text and email borrowers as they pursue overdue funds.
The idea of debt collectors adding new methods of communication to their arsenal may stir annoyance, if not fear, among some consumers. After all, the debt-collection industry isn’t exactly beloved among consumers, with the CFPB recording 84,500 complaints about debt collection in 2017, making it one of the most complained-about financial services.
Debt collection is a big business in the U.S., a $10.9 billion industry that employs almost 120,000 workers who help track down overdue payments. Since the financial crisis, American consumers have taken on more debt, and some delinquencies, such as for auto loans, have been increasing. Against this backdrop is a CFPB that critics say has lost its appetite for going after financial abuses by corporations under Trump administration appointees who favor less regulation.