TrueAccord Names Kelly Knepper-Stephens as Chief Compliance Officer and General Counsel

By on October 27th, 2021 in Company News, Compliance
TrueAccord Blog

Lenexa, KS – Oct. 27, 2021 – TrueAccord Corporation, a debt collection company offering AI-powered digital recovery solutions, is proud to announce the appointment of Kelly Knepper-Stephens as chief compliance officer and general counsel. TrueAccord started in 2013 as a digital-first collection agency built to fundamentally change collections into a recovery and reconciliation process. TrueAccord was the first to offer digital solutions to the sector and continuously proves itself to be a trailblazer in an industry still dominated by traditional call-and-collect agencies. Knepper-Stephens’ appointment further confirms the company’s consumer-focused mission by tapping into one of the industry’s most sought-after counsel and compliance leaders.

“​​Compliance is at the forefront of TrueAccord’s mission, and Kelly guided the development of our robust digital collection compliance systems,” said Mark Ravanesi, CEO of TrueAccord. “TrueAccord’s investment in compliance is a win-win all around: it protects TrueAccord, it protects our clients, and—most importantly—it allows us to do right by consumers.”

An expert in debt collection law, Knepper-Stephens joined TrueAccord in 2018 as vice president of legal and compliance, where she has focused on civil litigation, government regulation, and compliance.  During her tenure, TrueAccord secured federal court victories showcasing TrueAccord’s legal compliance in two of the main FDCPA court decisions involving the use of email in debt collection: Green v. TrueAccord and Zuniga v. TrueAccord.

“As demonstrated in Regulation F, TrueAccord is the industry leader in email compliance,” Knepper-Stephens said, “I’m excited to join the mission-driven executive leadership team as TrueAccord continues to lead best practices for digital collections and beyond—empowering consumers to resolve their accounts according to their preferences.” 

Knepper-Stephens started her career in the collection space in 2011. Collections Advisor Magazine named her as one of the top 25 Women in Collections in 2016 and top 20 in 2018. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for RMAI, on the Steering Committee for the Consumer Relations Consortium, and as an ACA-certified instructor. She received her Juris Doctor degree from the George Washington University Law School and is currently barred in California, the District of Columbia, Illinois and Maryland.

A key benefit of TrueAccord is the scalability provided by the flexibility of code-based compliance, overseen by Knepper-Stephens and her team to ensure its programming is adjusted to new laws, regulations, and court decisions. The company’s patented machine-learning algorithm, HeartBeat, is augmented by its compliance checker software, mitigating risk by ensuring regulatory requirements are met before sending communications. 

Knepper-Stephens is a Receivables Management Association International (RMAI) certified receivables compliance professional and has earned the Credit & Collection Compliance Officer designation from the American Collectors Association (ACA). Prior to joining the industry, she worked as a Visiting Professor of Law at George Washington University Law School, teaching the Criminal Appellate Clinic, and as a San Diego Public Defender. Her long-standing dedication to helping others plays an integral part in her success.  

To learn more about TrueAccord’s mission and digital debt collection solutions, visit www.TrueAccord.com and follow @TrueAccord on Twitter and LinkedIn.

About TrueAccord

TrueAccord is the intelligent, digital-first collection and recovery company that leaders across industries trust to drive breakthrough results while delivering a superior consumer experience. TrueAccord pioneered the industry’s only adaptive intelligence: a patented machine learning engine, powered by engagement data from over 16 million consumer journeys, that dynamically personalizes every facet of the consumer experience – from channel to message to plan type and more – in real-time. Combined with code-based compliance and a self-serve digital experience, TrueAccord delivers liquidation and recovery rates 50-80% higher than industry benchmarks. The TrueAccord product suite includes Retain, an early-stage collection solution, and Recover, a full-service post-charge off recovery platform. 

Ensuring Regulatory Compliance While Future-Proofing Your Collections Strategy

By on September 2nd, 2021 in Compliance, Industry Insights, Webinars
TrueAccord Blog

Ensuring regulatory compliance in debt collection is a high stakes and increasingly complex process. As we know, the industry is constantly evolving and collections strategies must adapt.

At the end of July, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) announced that the final rules issued under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) will take effect as planned on November 30. The new rules focus on the time, place, and manner of debt collection communications, the expansion of those communications through digital means, and enhanced disclosures that collectors must provide consumers with at the beginning of collection communications.

To help explain and analyze the new rules, TrueAccord recently hosted a webinar featuring two members of our in-house legal team: VP Legal & Compliance, Kelly Knepper-Stephens and Associate General Counsel, Katie Neill.

You can check out the full webinar on-demand, but key takeaways to listen for include:

  • Regulation F outlines the first-ever guidance for digital communication efforts in collections – effectively giving the green light to make alternative collection efforts more mainstream. The rule explicitly outlines email and SMS communication but also includes language for digital outlets that might not be in use for collections today or even in existence yet – a nod to social media and consumers willingness to be contacted privately on those platforms.
  • Furthermore, the rule does not change the federal law as it relates to consent to email. No consent is required to send debt collection emails, just like no consent is required to make calls or send letters. 
  • “The devil is in the details for Regulation F;” the implementation of each new provision turns on the Bureau’s explanation in the preamble and examples in the comments.  Legal and compliance teams should be the engine that makes sure the organization is in compliance with this guidance when the rule takes effect later this year.
  • Unlike regulations in regards to phone-based collections, there is no cap on outreach frequency in digital communications like email. This is because consumers and email providers self-regulate the communications frequency – collectors must design deliverability carefully to be successful, and if collectors email without a self-imposed cap their communications will be marked as spam or not delivered. 
  • As a digital-first collections agency, TrueAccord is ahead of and prepared for the guidance that will be put in place at the end of November. As a leader in this style of collections, TrueAccord leveraged a lot of data and consumer preference insights to help inform these new rules. The issuance of Regulation F is a significant validation by the top financial services regulator of TrueAccord’s business model.

How to Build Your Business’ Reputation Using Digital Collections

By on November 6th, 2019 in Industry Insights
five people putting their hands in for a deal

The age of the internet has brought about an age of transparency and exposure. News can travel around the globe in seconds thanks to the power of social media, and this visibility means that a company’s business practices, day to day operations, and mission are just as clear and present in the market as their products and services. Brand matters, and nothing helps to build or break a brand’s reputation faster than social proof

Today, companies don’t win just because they have the best products and services, they win when they provide the best customer experience and allow their customers to share that with the world. Companies that do this well are experience disruptors. Creditors looking for collections solutions can struggle to provide a positive collections experience (no customer wants to be in debt after all), but we know that it’s possible to build your brand and still collect on debts at the same time.

Stay ahead of compliance

This should go without saying, but collections teams that stay up-to-date and even ahead of federal and state compliance meet with fewer customer complaints and lawsuits. In an industry where not using (or even over-using) the right language can lead to a lawsuit, ensuring compliance must be the first step in providing a consistent, secure, and positive brand experience. 

Creditors and customers alike benefit from collections systems that keep compliance at the forefront. New regulations like the CFPB’s proposed rules can add new layers of complexity to the collections process. Thankfully, digital collections strategies can aid in coding compliance directly into outreach and minimizing human error!

Be transparent

Speaking of using the right language at the right time, using clearcut language that helps consumers understand their debt is essential to building a brand that is seen as reliable and trustworthy.

Building your brand with a modern, digital collections strategy is essential because today it isn’t just about reaching consumers and requesting payment.

While compliant language is a large part of transparency, making it easy for customers to understand the exact steps they have to take to get out of debt and how they can work with a team to pay off that debt helps smooth the process. When steps to get back on track are clearly outlined and presented in a way that is digestible to the least sophisticated consumer, the debt payment experience is better for everyone.

Adapt to changing customer expectations

Customers expect their financial services to be exactly that—services; they want their tools to work for them. If someone can do all of their day-to-day banking through an app, they shouldn’t have to wade through stacks of paper mail and phone calls in order to resolve a debt.

Traditional collections models have made some technological advancements, but are still largely bound to call-based collections practices. Financial technology experience disruptors like Rocket Mortgage have simplified and digitized their services to meet consumer expectations. NerdWallet says that their “document and asset retrieval capabilities alone can save you a bunch of time and hassle.”

Make a change

Digital debt collection agencies are dedicated to saving consumers time and hassle by reaching them via email and push notifications instead of calling in the middle of dinner. Customers can respond to outreach and utilize payment systems at their own pace. 

Building your brand with a modern, digital collections strategy is essential because today it isn’t just about reaching consumers and requesting payment. Companies build reputation by providing a proper experience. How they collect is why they win. 

TrueAccord is redefining the collections experience for creditors and customers alike. Click here if you’re interested in learning more!

CFPB Gets Tough on Debt Sales with a JPMorgan Chase Settlement

By on July 9th, 2015 in Compliance
CFPB

It’s taking a herculean effort to not title this, “We told you so.” Just a few months after our CEO, Ohad’s, Op-Ed about debt buying practices got strong responses from the industry, JPMorgan Chase & Co. is currently in trouble with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to the tune of at least $136 million. The reason? Problematic data management and debt sales practices.

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