To address the squeeze that regulatory, media and consumer litigation pressures are placing on collection agencies, four collection industry veterans have joined to create Credit & Collection Certifications LLC.

Over the last year-and-a-half, Credit & Collection Certifications has built an online Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) training and certification course accessible to anyone - from new collectors needing an introduction to long-time collectors needing a refresher course. The course can be found at and opens to students on July 11.

The compliance environment in this industry is well known - many thousands of businesses have been sued for FDCPA violations over the last few years, and approximately 1,000 new lawsuits are filed each month.

While many of those lawsuits are without merit, some consumer litigation contains at least enough of a basis to force an expensive settlement or a court date. There are many consumer attorneys who earn substantial fees suing or threatening collection industry firms for alleged FDCPA violations.

The purpose of this new training and certification course is to give any person a practical overview of the compliance requirements expected of them in today’s litigious environment, and help prepare them to operate more confidently on the collection floor by understanding where to draw the line in their interactions with consumers, according to a news release distributed by those who started the course.

Every student will go through FDCPA section by section. Each section contains the following elements:
1.    The text of the act
2.    A video analysis presented by industry veteran Brian Paxton
3.    A section review in layman’s terms and further written analysis
4.    A challenging quiz

Once each section is complete the student takes a final exam, and upon passing will earn a downloadable, printable certificate.

"The value of a certified collector on any collection floor should be indisputable. Reducing litigation is on every agency’s agenda, and well-trained, certified collectors will help accomplish that goal," according to the release.

Below are short bios included in the news release on the four principals behind the venture.

Brian Paxton got his first job as a collector at 17 years old, working for Credit, Claims and Collections in Atlanta. He spent the next 25 years working in various capacities at some of the nation’s largest agencies, a law firm, a bank, a retailer, and later as a self-employed debt buyer with his own collection agency. Paxton has successfully helped build and operate several agencies, and has been involved in over 100 debt-sale transactions totaling hundreds of millions of dollars.

Larry Urdahl is an expert in collections and account receivable solutions, with more than 30 years experience in credit and collections. He started as a collector for Transamerica Financial Services (Pacific Finance). He was promoted to branch manager on a management fast track program, then moved into the banking industry with Home Federal Savings & Loan as a senior credit card collector. He then moved into the collection agency environment where he has remained since. Urdahl worked for three of the largest collection agencies in the industry where he served as a professional collector, trainer, collection manager, operations manager, marketing manager and sales agent. He opened his own skip-tracing agency, which later turned into a full-service collection agency representing hundreds of creditors.

Robert Pinchuck is the president of Columbia Financial International Inc. which owns The Columbia Law List, a Collection Attorney Network established since 1905. He has been a speaker at collection conferences, an educator and consultant for credit and collections law offices and collection agencies for more than 25 years. Pinchuck has traveled extensively to attorney and collection industry seminars throughout the world. He founded The Global Debt Collection Summit attended by collection professionals from 15 countries held in Atlanta in 2004 & 2005. He maintains memberships or attends conference with CLLA, IACC, DBA, ACA, DCS, IAAR, NARCA and Collections & Credit Risk.

Jack Gordon is the CEO of WebRecon LLC: The Bureau of Litigant Data. Started in 2009, WebRecon offers the industry a key resource for tracking consumer litigation. Gordon previously owned a mid-sized Michigan collection agency for several years. Before entering the collection industry, he started and ran a marketing agency that focused on movie theatres nationwide. Gordon is a frequent speaker at collection industry conferences and is active in ACA, DBA and NARCA.

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