What Do Encore Capital Group, Midland Funding, and Midland Credit Management all have in common?
They are all essentially the same company.
CFPB Debt Collection Complaint Ranking*:
#1 of 2,458 Companies
Lawsuits, Penalties, or Sanctions:
In 2015, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (an independent government agency charged with protecting consumers) took adverse action against Encore and its subsidiaries, to the tune of about $225 Million. In its order, CFPB Richard Cordray said “Encore … threatened and deceived consumers to collect on debts they should have known were inaccurate or had other problems.”
GOMEZ v. MIDLAND FUNDING, LLC (Signed December 31, 2014.) United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division. No. 14 C 05814.
HAMILTON v. MIDLAND FUNDING, LLC (August 26, 2015.) United States District Court, N.D. Alabama, Southern Division. Civil Action No. 2:14-cv-02008-AKK.
BASHAM v. MIDLAND FUNDING, LLC (June 8, 2015.) United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division. Case No. 4:15 CV 30 CDP.
Location and Contact Details:
Encore Capital Group, Inc.
8875 Aero Dr #200, San Diego, CA 92123
Current CEO: Kenneth A. Vecchione
Debt-buying collector. Encore Capital Group is the publicly held parent company of Midland Funding (which buys distressed consumer debts for pennies on the dollar) and Midland Credit Management (which “services” those accounts by attempting to collect the full face value balance plus interest) and about nine other subsidiaries, most of which you will never hear of. Encore also acquired Asset Acceptance Capital Corporation (also a debt-buying collection company) in 2013.
Worldwide, Encore, Midland and the rest of the subsidiaries employ about 5000 people. Their reach is magnified, however, by an extensive network of collection agencies, debt collection law firms, and data providers. Like any big publicly traded company, the Encore machine focuses on measurement, metrics, testing, and competition between suppliers in order to reach its goal of profit maximization.
In 2007, then-CEO Brandon Black was conducting an investor conference call in which he was introducing the group of Psychologists and Ph.D’s that made up part of the business strategy team. He reminded listeners with words to the effect of: “remember, what we’re trying to solve here [in this business] is not a financial problem, it’s a behavioral one.”
I think we can take from this that Encore and its subsidiaries Midland Funding and Midland Credit Management are, at their core, deeply interested and focused on the profitability through the employment of behavioral techniques (many of which I discuss in my book “The Secret World of Debt Collection”) that cause debtors to pay them first - and pay them the most.
* Ranking determined by the overall number of debt collection complaints to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) as of year-end 2015 and should be considered in context of company size and/or market share. See the CFPB debt collection complaint database in real-time here.
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