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IS THE TAIWAN GOVERNMENT MOVING TO CLOSE DOWN A VITAL SERVICE INDUSTRY?    
Industry News
 
Recent complaints by ill informed sections of the print and television media about the actions of the Taiwanese collection industry have led to speculation that the Government may move to legislate against the industry forcing many of the world's most highly controlled and most professional companies to cloose their doors, and throwing thousands of credit and collection professional staff out of work.

Jim Brown, a former Directorof the International Unit of ACA International (worlds largest credit industry association) and a foundation member of the Taiwan Credit and Collection Association, spells out his feelings in his letter of March 13, 2006 to the Taipei Times.

I would like to share some facts about the Taiwan collection business and dispel some of the myths and misinformation being circulated in papers and on TV. First and foremost, the Taiwan collection industry, specifically those agencies serving the banks and financial services industry, is absolutely world class. The claim by some newspapers and talk show hosts that the banks use gangsters or violent tactics is ridiculous. The banks enjoy the highest level of service from the best group of agencies you will find anywhere in the world. I established the United Credit Services agency in Taiwan in 1991 and we adopted the highest standards and best practices from leading collection associations and their professionals around the world. Taiwan is a combination of the best of the best. That's a fact.

The Taiwan Credit and Collection Association (TCCA) was formed in 2003 and has 10 member agencies with more than 4,000 collectors handling over 70 percent of the banks' collection needs. The mission of the TCCA is to insure that this industry maintains the highest standards by enforcing regulations and by-laws. The TCCA has close ties to both the American Collectors Association (ACA International) and the German Collectors Association. The collection industry in Germany has a very high reputation for professional and ethical conduct. The German government relies on the association to provide data and statistics that assist it in forecasting economic trends and conditions. Germany's public perception of the collection industry is positive and only 10 percent of all press coverage on the collection business is negative.

There is very little difference between bank and collection agency operating standards. In fact, almost all TCCA member agencies in Taiwan are owned or managed by ex-bank officers and all TCCA members are ISO 9001 certified. It is shameful to see the thousands of collectors working in Taiwan maligned by the media and regulated out of jobs due to a lack of understanding among the public and government.

The Taiwanese collection industry is easily the most heavily regulated in the world. The restrictions and penalties on creditors and agencies are harsh and severely restrict the creditor's ability to recover debt. The media and government owe it to themselves, the public and the thousands of collection professionals in Taiwan, who support families and children, to take a balanced and fair look at the whole picture. All of us understand and feel for the plight of those with severe debt problems. We help thousands of people every month work their way back to healthy credit. We are in the business of helping our clients and their customers to reach an agreement acceptable to both. After 15 years it is disappointing to endure the negative attacks against this industry.

Jim Brown, President, United Credit Services, Taipei

Source: Online, Taipei Times.com
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