Fair Debt

Hosted ByLex Patterson

Unlocking Possibilities...

Episode 10: Dead Reckoning

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

In navigation, dead reckoning is the process of calculating your current position of some moving object by using a previously determined position, or fix, and then incorporating estimations of speed, heading direction, and course over elapsed time.

As change continues to usher in the future, I believe it can be beneficial to pause and reflect on that change that is happening in an effort to prepare for the future.  

In this episode we’ll cover a lot of ground  as I connect with Industry veteran and thought leader Mike Ginsberg to dissect trends in the debt economy, the impact of stimulus moves by the Fed, Industry consolidation, and what the agency of the future looks like.  Join Mike and I as we take an objective look into the industry today and the impact the last 2 years has had on debt collection.  

We’ll also take a look into the proverbial crystal ball to speculate what may be on the horizon, and  discuss our viewpoints based on over 50 years of collective industry experience.  

Guest:  Mike Ginsberg

Mike Ginsberg is president and CEO of Kaulkin Ginsberg, providing M&A and strategic advisory expertise to the accounts receivable management industry for since 1991. Mike is also co-founder of Topline Valuation Group, providing ARM owners and executives with much-needed technical, financial, benchmarking, and operational services designed to improve decisions at the corporate and operational levels. 

Since 1991, Kaulkin Ginsberg Company has been dedicated to advising owners and executives of outsourced business services (OBS) companies on how best to achieve their growth and exit objectives. Their client-centric approach covers almost every stage of a company’s lifecycle and enables them to maintain long standing relationships as trusted advisors. Kaulkin Ginsberg offers an array of services to ensure that its clients’ needs are met, such as strategic consultingtransaction advisory and valuation services.


    Company LinkedIn:  https://www.linkedin.com/company/kaulkin-ginsberg/

    Email:  mike@kaulkin.com

   LinkedIn Personal:  linkedin.com/in/mikeginsberg

Twitter: https://twitter.com/mike_ginsberg

Additional Resources:

Episode Transcript

Lex Patterson 0:09
kindred force media

Yogi Berra said the future ain’t what it used to be. Isn’t that the truth? Hello, I’m Lex Patterson, and you’re listening to fair debt. My podcast about things misunderstood and overlooked in the debt collection space is change continues to usher in the future, I believe it can be beneficial to pause and reflect on the change that is happening in an effort to prepare for the future. And this episode will cover a lot of ground as I connect with industry veteran and thought leader Mike Ginsburg, to dissect trends in the debt economy, the impact of stimulus moves by the Fed industry consolidation, and what the agency of the future might look like. Join Mike and I, as we take an objective look into the industry today, and the impact the last two years has had on debt collection. We’ll also take a look into the proverbial crystal ball to speculate what might lay on the horizon and discuss argue points based on over 50 years of collective industry experience. Here we go. Hi, Mike, it’s great to see you again.

Mike Ginsberg 1:22
Great to see you as well, Lex, thanks for having me today.

Lex Patterson 1:25
Yeah, yeah, I’m excited. I’m so excited to engage in this conversation with you today, because I got so much experience in the industry as served in it for so many years. And, you know, I know that everybody will know you and recognize your name and, and all that. But I like to kind of start off these conversations by just having you maybe catch us up a little bit on your journey. Maybe something to get it going to a little bit you know, I’d like to know maybe like what was the conversation like around the Ginzburg dinner table? Yeah, you know, how did you get started maybe and what you’re working on today? Like, let’s let’s cover that much.

Mike Ginsberg 2:05
Yeah, great. Lexan. Thank you, you. And I’ve known each other now for decades in this business, and I call it an evolution. Maybe some would call it a revolution. But I call it an evolution, this industry has evolved so considerably over the years, kind of started our journey back in 1991. So literally 30 years ago, it all started when my former business partner, Morgan cockin, who at the time was in his 60s, got an assignment to sell a local business. When I say local, I mean, DC Metro based business, which is where we were based Marvin as a retirement career got involved in the sale of local businesses. He himself was a CEO for decades before that. belty was well versed in the complications of business ownership, transferability, those types of things. He had an interesting requirement. And that was in the 60s, he didn’t want to travel much. So he also wanted to be home for lunch literally every single day. So he lived in Bethesda. So you had to draw a circle around Bethesda. And if it wasn’t, if the opportunity was in Baltimore, he probably rejected to file well, so inside the beltway, as they say, down here in the Washington, DC metro area. And I was fresh out of college, very frustrated in the 90s. Because it was in the early 90s, it was extremely hard to find a job in financial services and investment banking. I’m from New York originally. And I thought I’d end up back in New York, hopefully on Wall Street, working on mergers and acquisitions. That was my goal. That’s where I went to college for and that’s what I was looking forward to doing. But there were no opportunities. In fact, banks were laying off 10s of 1000s of people at the time, they weren’t hiring folks like me with an undergraduate degree in business from the University of Maryland. So I met Marvin through a mutual friend, and we had a referral. And it fit the criteria. It was in Beltsville, Maryland. And we saw we had an assignment to sell a very local debt collection agency, as a company generating about 3 million in revenue a year. So it was a small company, but it was very profitable, north of a million dollars in profits every years. That’s a pretty good margin. We didn’t know the industry, the only access we had to bill collectors was in Marvins previous business dealing with commercial vendors trying to collect from them and whatnot. And so without any knowledge of the industry, we took on the assignment. And really we approached financial type investors one out of New York, interestingly enough, lived in a nice house of second generation investor, family business, or Family Fund as you We’d call it. The reason I bring that up is he lived next door to a guy who had a bigger house. He was a bill collector. So he ended up buying both his next door neighbor’s business. And this business that I described, which was Eastern credit, and they dealt with health care providers and utilities to get a small, very local business. That’s the way the business was done 30 years ago, and we sold it for cash. And we sold it to an outside the industry investor, all of a sudden, we started getting phone calls. Who are you guys? Who would you do a deal with investor in the collection industry, you didn’t sell it to Paco or FCA or union corporate wanted, you know, big names at the time, said I’m slipping over those companies are

in 92. So that was in 91, and 92, we sold a dozen debt collection agencies. And that’s and they weren’t all inside the beltway. And that took us from being this local generalist into an industry specialty. And as a specialist, we really didn’t have any parameters geographically. So over the years, our clients have been pretty much anywhere in the United States. But interestingly, as this industry has grown, changed, and more a variety of ways. The foreign influence started coming into this industry as well. So we started working with companies in Europe and South America that are looking to either buy or sell into the collection industry, and then offshore and nearshore, that we ended up with India and the Philippines and the near shore capabilities. So when I say no geographical boundaries, I sometimes wish there were because it’s a lot easier, even though getting around the beltway is is difficult because of travel of Kosovo traffic. I’ll tell you why. It’s a lot easier flying to Bangalore. That’s for sure. Yeah. So years, we’ve kind of fanned the fire two ways. And we’ve expanded both the services we provided, but also the types of companies we’ve serviced. These are no longer just defined as third party Bill collected their Receivables Management for their business process, outsourcing companies, they handle things in a variety of ways, as you know, being well versed in this industry as well. And we try and find ourselves in the middle of that, and have gotten to know the industry, both from the creditor perspective, as well as the recovery specialist. Yeah, so

Lex Patterson 7:28
didn’t didn’t you tell me at one point, though, that your dad was in? Like, I don’t know if he was in finance, or was he in collections specifically, tell me

Mike Ginsberg 7:37
you’re like an elephant and you have the best. Maybe we have to make you work harder or something because

so my father, may he rest in peace was a bill collector. Interestingly enough, I still have this on my desk. So yeah, that’s

it. Remember, this is a video.

See it mean playing good says no goal. My father was a bill collector in downtown Manhattan in the 70s. And he worked for a company at the time called eight associates. Well, eight associates because of the aid scare, changed their name or AIDS pandemic, they changed their name to Plaza and they were located in downtown Manhattan. And my father, God rest his soul was a bill collector in the 70s and 80s. One of the one of the things I remember Lex, and I know you are a technology guru, so you could appreciate this. He had very sophisticated technology in the 70s. We had a Rolodex and a kitchen God it was a beautiful Rolodex right. Manager would come in in the morning and fill it up with the cards of the potential of the debtors at the time. They were called debtors. The debtors that he would call that day. Yeah, rotary telephone on his desk, just old school, rotary telephone. And when you dial the rotary telephone, what did you get on the other end? Either a hello and somebody answered. Sometimes you got a busy signal if you remember, or just kept dialing because there were no answering machines at the time. Things have changed pretty substantially. The other thing he had on his desk I’ll never forget, it was an ashtray. Now, everybody smoked back then in the office, and the office was just filled with smoke. If you

Lex Patterson 9:25
remember that, yeah. Yeah.

Mike Ginsberg 9:27
In the Bronx at the time, it would come down to Manhattan. My parents were divorced. And I come down the Manhattan. And I remember this smoke filled room. And people were mostly standing up, and they were talking at the top of their voice to whoever was on the other line. I didn’t know really what they were doing. I was very young back then. Yeah, but at the end of the day, that was the collection industry. And they were collecting accounts from Diners Club time and, you know, some gas companies that no longer exists, and credit cards were only recently coming to fruition the way we know them today. But it was a different world back then. And then 77, I don’t need to tell you. But in 77, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act was written. Now, I didn’t know this. I wasn’t in the collection business. I was young at the time. I didn’t go to school until the 80s. So the 80s. So I grew up kind of understanding Bill collection. But that was revolutionary because it changed the rules. Yeah. Well, if you think about it, also, that was written in 77. It’s only being rewritten now. Yeah, yeah. It’s changed between them. But technology has certainly advanced. Unfortunately, it’s been hampered because of regulatory restrictions.

Lex Patterson 10:46
Right? Yeah. Right. Yeah, we both know that. And it’s, it’s crazy. Well, I appreciate you sharing those stories. I just think it sets a good tone, you know, kind of puts puts a little bit more history with with the name and stuff. I always enjoyed that.

Mike Ginsberg 11:01
Very quick aside, because we’re not just injected here. So I told my mother after we sold Eastern, the first collection agency that we completed a merger and acquisition transaction with I was so excited to tell her about it. And why I bring this up, as she said, I’ll never forget it pack your bags, you’re coming home, no, son of mine is going to be a bill collector. That’s the way it was back then. Hey, I really, and maybe you’re different legs. But I have yet to meet someone who said, You know what? I went to school to become a professional bill collector?

Lex Patterson 11:34
No, no, we’ve talked about that in numerous episodes. I’ve talked about that a lot with the people. But But the other thing that’s so interesting about it is that stigma that’s there, and yet there’s some of the best people. I mean, it’s really people helping people. And you know, that stigma, that’s there is part of the reason why I wanted to have this podcast, you know, I just tried to humanize this, this whole industry a little bit because it is it’s there’s some great, great people that really are just trying to help solve problems. So

Mike Ginsberg 12:05
I have a fundamental thought about this industry. And it hasn’t gone away in 30 years. And that is, as long as we’re in a credit economy, there is no doubt there will always be a need for debt collection and recovery services. Now, there are other services that have grown over the years, some have retracted over the years things have changed. But their core need in any business or government is managing a receivable efficiently. Right? And there’s rare instance, where third party, is it more efficient in managing that receivable, that a company is themselves. And as long as that need continues, they’ll always be debt collectors.

Lex Patterson 12:49
We believe I believe that too. And that’s what we’re really going to talk about a little bit. We’re gonna dive in here. That’s a great segue. But before, you know, we’re going to actually look in a little bit look into a crystal ball, you and I today. So, of course, much of what we’re talking about is based on opinion, it’s not intended as advice, period, legal or other otherwise, it’s it’s just a conversation between two people that two guys that have have had quite a bit of industry experience between the two of us. I don’t know how much it is, but it’s probably over 60 years, I would say, between the two of us. And you know, so we’re just basically thinking out loud. Is that fair to say, Mike, is that?

Mike Ginsberg 13:32
Yeah, you know, I think we do have a lot of perspective. And I’m looking forward to bantering back and forth. And I think you and I both have the battle wounds to show for it over the years. I will say this, and I wish it were will continue indefinitely, as long as there is a collection business. This industry is built on entrepreneurialism, it’s built on folks who are thinking forward. Okay, technology advancement to service 10s of millions of accounts on a daily basis, not only uniformly, but within regulation, and use the N efficiently because I mean, let’s face it, margins can be thin, they’ve gotten thinner over the years. So these companies are trying to run as efficiently as possible, whether it’s a credit grant, they’re doing it in house or a third party doing it for them or on behalf of them. And I think this industry needs to continue entrepreneurially I think it’s extremely important to have these folks in this business. And there are some who are extremely well educated. There are others who didn’t even graduate high school, and they’ve run very successful businesses focused in on what matters most recoveries within the guidelines of regulation.

Lex Patterson 14:49
Yeah, yeah, for sure. Yeah. Let’s jump in. I want to start off with the recent, you know, some of the recent fed moves the moves that the feds making, you know, The Cures Act. This quantitative easing, I don’t know if you had a chance to to look at that frontline episode that we talked about, called the power of the Fed. Did you have a chance to review that at all?

Mike Ginsberg 15:11
I did, I did. With that perspective, even in advancing, you’re bringing that up to me.

Lex Patterson 15:19
Maybe we could zero in on the possible effects that the Fed moves are having on our industry. You know, I mean, I’ve talked to friends and associates in the industry, they mentioned to me, the stimulus money really was like almost a second collection Christmas, if you will, you know, tax times typically great. But when they saw the, you know, the the stim stimulus checks or the stimulus coming in, there was a big boost to recoveries, and a lot of people using that money to get out of debt. And so, with the work you’re doing in the industry, Mike, I mean, does this align to what you’re seeing? I mean, what do you what do you have to say about some of that stuff?

Mike Ginsberg 15:58
So? Yes, and no, Lex? Yes, the stimulus was there. For the very first time we saw commercial stimulus for small businesses. So those that have dealt with commercial type accounts, certainly got a boost. But on the consumer side, do question right. Those stimulus payments were in large part used to pay down debt, there was no question about the fact that we just something according to an APR 2021 report by lending tree 50% of consumers plan to use the majority or all of their third party stimulus payment to pay down their debt. So if you think about it, that that’s a real boom, right? Not only are you utilizing collection efforts, technology advancement and various ways to communicate with the consumer, not only are you benefiting during tax season, with the return of tax amounts, but now you’re getting this stimulus to consumers as well. So all things are positive. Well, it does bend both ways. And on the flip side, I’ll just tell you that I’ll read you another statistic. This is according to the FDIC, total credit card charge offs at commercial banks fell by over 10% in 2020. Despite this, though, commercial banks and their contracted collection agencies recovered 3% More charged off debt than they did the previous year. So people stopped taking credit, as much as they did previously, there was a slowdown in the amount of new credit. So while there was a increase in collections, there was a significant decrease in the amount of new business that was being placed with these third party vendors. There was also a almost a moratorium on collections. Collection, law firms no longer can sue debt buyers, many of them weren’t even able to purchase accounts that were previously available. They were in there were a lot of changes in the marketplace that restricted growth. And if you were lucky to get placements, you could have collected the certain locales, governments restricted collections in certain regions where Coronavirus was very, very prevalent. Right. So there were there were very interesting parameters around this business. Lex, I don’t know about you, you’ve been in this business longer than I have been all these years, you’ve talked to people, they all thought this industry was recession proof. If folks use the words, recession, proof collections must be a great business. Like we both been through a number of recessions enough to know that that is not the case. Okay, it is recession resistant. In many respects, it lags behind most major indicators, and it’s not recession proof at all. It takes longer to get out of a recession and takes quicker to get into one if you’re a bill collector.

Lex Patterson 19:07
Yeah, well, and the thing is to I guess what, what I was curious about a little bit to Mike is that, you know, some of these moves that the feds making with the easing and the stimulus and the they’re massaging the economy in a way that according to that frontline article, or that frontline piece that it was, you know, really kind of an experiment that hasn’t been done really before in this way. And the question is, what kind of, you know, what is this gonna look like when they when the you know, so are we when the stimulus stuff stops and they’re starting to try and roll that back? Although it’s funny because they’re, they do it and then there’s this this indicator that says, oh, wait a minute, maybe we shouldn’t do that. We’re gonna fall off a cliff again. So let’s pump some money back in. You know, but what does it look like coming out of this? I mean, is it from an industry per spective and this is just again bantering and kind of looking into that crystal ball. But what do you think? I mean, what are your thoughts on that?

Mike Ginsberg 20:06
Short term improvement, long term? Chaos, really, if you kind of think about the market segments and where the benefits have been there? Well, this industry is very labor intensive. Okay, a lot of industries retail, labor intensive business. Now, let’s pick on retail or food, those to the food industry, right restaurants. Yeah. How about you, you walk into a restaurant right now, arguably would have been the best restaurant you’ve been in a year ago, right? I was just in Cleveland, Ohio. Okay, I was visiting some family and we were up in Cleveland, and we went to a great Italian restaurant service was terrible. Why wanted to work anymore, their their incentive to stay home, they’re not incentive to work. Right? That’s short term, right? In retail too. It’s the same thing. If you think about the stimulus and unemployment benefits, you add them together in the short term, and then make an X number of dollars in retail, the miners will stay home and collect and it’ll continue to collect stimulus money and government assistance and not work. So what does that drive? Well, it hampers growth. And at the end of the day, these people do enough to get by, and they might buy certain things, they might do certain things, but they’re not reinvesting back into the economy the way someone would if they were actually working. And they had a stable job with good income, they felt good about it, consumer confidence has been battered around left and right, as it relates to this industry. And, and I’m concerned about that, and I’m concerned about motivating folks to not only grow and their own needs and, and work, but invest and spend money. Because if we’re not spending money at the end of the day, that’s not benefiting the economy. And it’s certainly not benefiting listen.

Lex Patterson 22:06
Yeah, then we’ve got that ongoing impact happening, you know, even with the pandemic, as we come in with the Delta very end, and now we’ve got this new wave that could potentially be coming. And I know, the medical sector in particular, you know, like, out here, I see who’s the biggest, the biggest health care provider in Utah is really struggling, you know, my, my sister worked for them. And they, they were having some real struggles with, you know, cutting things back. And I think I heard recently that elective surgeries, even again, have been pay, if it’s an elective thing, push it off, you know, which So now, you’re really only dealing with emergency type things and a lot of COVID related stuff. So

Mike Ginsberg 22:45
here we go again, right, you know, Boehner side about health care. Health care is one of the pillars of this industry. Okay, we know that. If you look at growth in health care, it is a straight line all for the past two decades, and major, major components of that whether it’s revenue in a health care provider, or collections from a third party specialist, and healthcare recovery, doesn’t matter if they were handling self pay, or insurance claims or government assistance, Medicare, Medicaid collections, whatever the case might be. It was growth, growth over growth, decade over decade. Well, that stopped over the past two years, it flatlined, and then it went down. It’s only recently started going up until you what you just said, which is exactly right. elective procedures are being installed, again in the marketplace. So not only are collections or placement volumes dropping in healthcare, not only is that the case, that that in of itself, is dramatic. But when healthcare providers who are usually local institutions like you just described that Utah, their local base, they care less about recovering the debt than they do about maintaining the relationship with the consumer, in this case, the patient here and in my area, there are three hospitals was it within a stone’s throw of each other? Alright, if I don’t want to go to Shady Grove, I’m going to go over here to the other one, you know, so it’s become extremely burdensome at this point, and health care pillar this industry never thought would have downturn has experienced significant downturn as a result of this pandemic.

Lex Patterson 24:40
Yeah, so you’ve got you’ve got that, you know, and I guess that leads us into the question of, you know, so I was talking to a customer and a good friend of mine JW Blair, and you know, he’s, he’s kind of coined this phrase, and I don’t know if he coined it, but I’m giving him credit for it. The debt suit Nami, you know, because what he was saying his thought was is that there’s this all this debt that’s accumulating out there that isn’t really being collected. But I guess what we’re talking about maybe is that maybe like, that’s the question Is it going to be is, is there a debt tsunami on the on the forefront here? We got a bunch of things building where the, these, you know, agencies and collection professionals are going to be flooded with new accounts that they’re gonna have to try and feel there. Do you think it’s more? Not so much that it’s a trickle? Some of this stuff is shut off? I mean, what do you what do you think in there?

Mike Ginsberg 25:35
First of all, JW is a great guy. I think He’s based in North Carolina. Yeah. And that is exactly indicative of what I was describing earlier. family business, entrepreneurialism? Yes, yes, kids, yes, he runs a business. But here’s a guy who really gets it. And when he uses words like that tsunami, you can’t ignore it. It’s, it’s what they’re feeling. Right. Right. Really depends on the marketplace that’s that you’re servicing. I’ll give you a specific for example. For years, probably as long as you’ve been in the business, certainly, as long as I’ve been student loans, and particularly the US Department of Ed cap has been a real boon. Amazon. Had it loved it, it was the plum client for years on the on the bank card, credit card side, you know, it’s American Express, the evey and those put in student loans 20. County, the Department of Ed? Well, over the years, the amount of new debt has accumulated to over 1.4, closer to $1.5 trillion. Okay. There’s been discussion about forgiveness, at many levels that impacts the economy. Money has to come from somewhere, right by been forgiven. So there is this amazing, enormous amount of debt that hasn’t been collected. Is that a tsunami waiting to open? Or is it going to be forgiven? That chapter has yet to be written, we’ll see if that happens. But if it does open up and become an opportunity, it could be a wave of new business, like we haven’t seen before. In this industry, will all of it be forgiven? Again, that chapter hasn’t been written? I don’t think it will happen. The numbers that are being bandied around are anywhere from 10,000 to $50,000 per consumer. Okay. Right. But we are talking about 10s of millions of accounts, and that could be considerable. That’s only one sector. Okay. sectors, like the ones that guys like Jay W. Work in healthcare, those marketplaces are you just talked about and very dynamic. There’s a lot of business out there that will happen. People still have to have their procedures and surgeries. Yeah, they, they just postpone them. Right. Yeah, there was a huge self pay component insurance right now, that still exists. And that has grown. So recovering from self pay at the individual that will continue. So I think it really depends on the pockets within the marketplace that you serve us and what’s going on within those particular market segments. Government is different than commercial commercials different than consumer, more or less regulation, depending on which marketplace you serve, as well. And that impacts that tsunami. Okay. I mean, let’s face it, you’re a tech guy, you understand this business? From a technology perspective? Are you really better than anybody? I know. Right? Technology Advancement has been there. But it’s been hampered by regulatory restriction. And I’ve always said, If regulation to just catch up with technology, you know, we’d be a lot better off in this business. Because how many people are using landlines these days? Versus cell phones? Right? How many people are using cell phones versus social media, to be able to communicate emails versus social media, if you can use the tools that are available to you, and you’re not restricted from doing so and jeopardizing potential major lawsuits and class action status? Because the rules are so tight, it’s very hard to navigate these waters. And I think from a consumer and also from a credit grantors perspective, it’s absolutely essential to get this right. Because it impacts the economy. Right? Yeah.

Lex Patterson 29:39
Yeah. Well, you know, it’s funny, from the discussions I’ve had and the research that out that that’s out there, it appears that there’s fewer debt collection agencies out there by maybe by a pretty wide percentage than what we had even a few years ago. Yet. It appears that we’ve got more debt than ever I mean, if you look at you know, The CFPB report that they put out and everything, it’s it appears like we have a lot of debt out there. And it also seems like my click, we have a lot of venture capitalists investment pouring into the industry, you know, when you talk about technology, and to me, it seems like a lot of the a lot of things have shifted to a focus on the consumer, which is this kinder gentler thing which needed to happen, you know, I think that’s a really good element that’s in there. But then you’ve got this piece of, you know, communication that you touched on, you know, communicating with the consumer and self service, allowing the consumer to self service accounts and do dif says different things. So it seems to me just and this is, from my perspective of where I’m at looking in the crystal ball, we’ve got venture capitalist money pouring into the industry to try and solve the problem of trying to connect the consumer. And whether it’s the debt collector, or the first party, you know, they’re trying to connect the, the the creditor, basically, with the consumer and allow that to be more frictionless, because that’s where the law comes in, right? Are the regulations, there’s friction created there, because the laws haven’t kept up with the technology that’s available, and even what not even what’s available, but what’s being used by the consumers, they prefer to be on their cell phone, you know, not, like you were saying, sitting at a landline or trying to go to a computer and log into something they want. They’ve got it in their pocket, you know. So with all of this going on, and I just know, you know, again, thinking of it from the perspective of the m&a stuff that you’re doing, what do you think the collection agency of the future is going to look like? Is it going to be far different from today? Let me let’s talk about that for a minute.

Mike Ginsberg 31:49
Yeah, it’s a great, great discussion topic likes and let’s let’s break it down to its components that you just so well articulated. The first is, is this industry going through a consolidation? Okay, let’s talk about a consolidated Yeah, yeah. Well, my answer is I, I’ve been at this a while and you have as well, I’ve never used the word consolidation in this industry. Others have, I haven’t until recently. So let’s look in the past first in the 90s, with the exception of GC services, from the mid 90s, to about 2004 2005, say about 10 years, with the exception of GC services. Every one of the top 10 collection agencies in the United States went through at least one m&a transaction. GC Services recently sold as well. So all of them went through at least one m&a transaction. Most people would think, Oh, my gosh, you know, this is a consolidating industry. It wasn’t because what happened then isn’t happening now. What happened then is 234, high level managers would break off and start their own collection agency. Well, that’s restricted. Most clients say you have to have three years of history in your business. Well, Joe Blow who broke away from debt collection agency XYZ, they have 30 years of experience, but not as a corporation. So he’s not getting those placements. Right. The other thing too, if you talk to the association’s membership isn’t up. Right ship is way down. Right? Why is membership down? Because startups are down way, way down in this industry. There was some startups, Al sembalun, started two or three businesses in his years. He started a business in 19. In 2008, to service banks. Well, if you remember what happened in 2008, we went through the most severe financial crisis this this world, let alone this industry? Well, first of all this industry has ever seen, because this industry really started post World War Two, if you look back at the Great Depression, that was in the 1920s. So you know, right now, this is really the most impactful recession this industry has ever seen. But startups and new businesses are not happening in this industry, anywhere near the magnitude of what’s happened, Joe, if you start subtracting those new startups and you start subtracting those businesses that might have happened as a result of m&a that no, that loan adds to a consolidation. But there is a lot of coming together because the costs have skyrocketed in this business. The margin has gone way down. Last time I checked the clients that calling a collection agency and say Hey, Joe, you’re doing such a great job. Let me raise your fees. No, they call on him and say Hey, Joe, continue to do a great job, but you need to do it for 10% Less. Right? And if you don’t, it’s 10 other agencies that I could place the fist With that are willing to do it. Well, they might not do as good a job as as Joe do, but they’re going to lose the business to somebody else. But a recovery manager thinks short term, they don’t look into their crystal ball and look for net back, you know, in the future and focus in on recoveries, they focus in on the cost associated with paying those agencies for their service. So yes, I do believe that we are for the first time in this industry, going through a consolidation, I do think certain market segments will be more accelerated than others. We’re seeing it in healthcare. I thought when the hospital systems were merging, that there would have been a significant amount of merger activity among healthcare collection agencies. But what’s driving it right now is increased regulation, and increased cost. And there are a lot of owners that don’t want to reinvest back into their business. So they’d rather folder and, you know, and move away and let somebody else worry about.

Lex Patterson 35:59
Yeah, yeah, so So you’re seeing that, I guess. And that’s, that’s exactly what I was alluding to is I can see the, it appears that the memberships are going down. And I didn’t know if that was a reason from the whole debt buying, you know, like, it seems like there’s, there’s different segments, right. And we’ve got, like, for the ACA, in particular, you know, so you’ve got the third party realm, you’ve got rules and regulations that are there, you’ve got debt buying, we’ve got all these different buckets. And in the CFPB report that I looked at that that annual report that they that they come out with, they were talking about the complaints and stuff in those different segments in that and obviously, there’s different I don’t want to call them, let’s just say challenges in each one of those, right? Because when you in the third party realm, you’ve got the client, the agency, the consumer, you got kind of this three way thing, and you said it before, the the hospital in particular, or an A lot of these agencies are locally, they’re helping their local economy, let’s put it that way. You know, and so you’ve got this checking a balance, if you will, because they want to keep the consumer coming back. They’re not really they’re trying to collect the bill. But they’re also aware of that, you get into the debt buying area, where that’s now written off, and it’s sold, and who knows who buys it? And there isn’t that that connection, so to speak. And so I just wondered if part of that has to do that dilution, you know, they’re diluting the, the, maybe the wants and needs of the different pieces. I don’t know, because I know, there are agencies that operate in bowls, too, you know, they’ll get by, and they’ll also collect third party, and they might dip their toe in several parts of that segment. So I mean, what are your thoughts on that?

Mike Ginsberg 37:46
I’ve sat down with regulators over the years. And many of them whether it’s a state level of Ag, or a, you know, a part of the CFPB, you refer to the report earlier, could be from the FTC, it doesn’t matter who they’re from, they tend to understand debt collection. Okay, is a Past Due account. They might have bought a product, they might have had a service, they might have taken a credit card. And it’s due, it needs to be recovered, why does it need to be recovered? Because let’s face it, pricing will skyrocket if these businesses never get back the money that’s due to them, right. So please, these accounts, and regulators understand that those accounts should be recovered. And bill collectors should be paid. conceptually. But when it comes to debt buying, they have a problem. Not all of them, many of them, some of it might be ignored. And some of it just might be stubbornness. But the problem is this. Mike, can you explain to me how a debt buyer acquires an account? That’s worth 100 bucks, and they buy it for less than $1. So pennies to the dollar, but they want to collect $100? On that account? Can you tell them explain to me how those economics work? Okay, because I don’t understand why, you know, they’re able to buy an account in the pennies to the dollar, but they’re looking to recover the entire amount. We need to protect that consumer from that harassment, right? Well, the answer is this that I buy one account, they’re buying 1000s 10s of 1000s, millions of accounts, many of which have been charged off, many of which even skip tracing, they’ll never find the debtor, many of which just will never be collected. So those that are collected, they need to recover enough from in order to cover the mammoth cost of those 10s of 1000s of accounts that they’re never going to collect from. Right. So that’s the business that they’re in and they said, Well, what about consumer, that consumer should not be responsible? For that, that amount that that debt buyer purchase, they should only be responsible for their own account. Well, regulator, if they paid their account, we never had this issue. Be a debt buying business? Yeah. Would it be charge offs? Okay, so they need to be incented to pay back those accounts while they’re being harassed? Well, not by most of these debt buyers, there are some rogue debt buyers, I assure you, they’re not the members of RNA AI, who have their certification process. I assure you that members of ACN, they’re not going to conferences, they’re not trying to improve technology. They’re bullies and criminals, and they should be convicted to the fullest extent, blah. But you know what, it’s funny every time those come out, and people say, Well, this guy harassed this collect this court consumer, or, or this one tried to collect this account, they didn’t have a right to collect this account, whatever the case might be. I look it up against my database. And we have a long standing database of collection agencies in the country. Then I call my friends at HCA and say, Are they a member? Or may I know they are member inside arm? Are they a part of your list? The answer unanimously is no. So these are villains, that they should be tried and convicted. Now, you talked about consumer complaints. One of the largest sources when you get beyond payday loans, we get beyond some other areas, the largest source, inevitably every year is collections. Sure. So it’s good to get that red flag, of course, it’s going to get the attention of the regulators. There’s no question about it. But many folks haven’t peeled away the layers like I have, and understand that those 90,000 accounts that are quote, complaints, right? The vast majority of them are either erroneous, or they are with the creditor, not the agency that’s trying to collect the account. At the end of the day, most of these companies gather some exceptions in every industry, not just Bill collections, most. Most of these guys have not only law abiding citizens, their family people, it’s generational business, they thoroughly understand the importance of recovery within the parameters of regulation. And they’re doing a pretty good job doing it. Right. They’ve actually, you know what, this is interesting. And this only happened over the last couple of years during Coronavirus.

hate to use the word frontline. Because when we’re talking frontline, we’re talking usually about a health care provider who’s right up front like a nurse, for example, their frontline. Okay, we’re talking about a fireman who runs into a burning building. Those are frontline people. But on a secondary basis, so our bill collectors, you know why? Because they’re the only ones talking to the consumer. Yeah, the only ones explaining to the consumer about their financial obligations, and you know what they’re doing, they’re trying to create a roadmap towards payment, right, and work with those consumers that shouldn’t be resisted, that should be accepted. And if you’re if the technology isn’t there to be able to reach those consumers, well, then the consumers are working ignorantly. And they don’t have an answer. So what did they do? They put in complaints? What are they do they postpone payments? See.

Lex Patterson 43:23
And Mike, that taps right into this thing where, you know, like, where the technology like where the technology and the regulatory pieces collide? Right? You tapped right into this so perfect, because I mean, I’ve got a personal experience with this. My son had fraud he had, he had some credit card fraud. And he had a Verizon bill that he could not resolve with Verizon, every time he went there. They said go to this website, put in a claim. But every time he went to the website put in the claim the thing crashed or did something where he couldn’t file the claim. He was totally frustrated, nobody to talk to it gets referred to a collection agency. I said to him, I made the comment to him. I said, You know what, thank goodness for that. This will finally get resolved. Just tell the collector what’s going on, they’ll help you resolve it. And guess what they did? You know, so the

Mike Ginsberg 44:16
connecting that problem not got away itself? No, I

Lex Patterson 44:19
know, I know. He was totally frustrated, didn’t know what to do, you know, get worse, his credit report

Mike Ginsberg 44:24
would have been. I know, he would have had other problems when it came to trying to get a mortgage for his first home or whatever the case might have been right. He didn’t call the issue. A lot of folks say, I’m not gonna resolve the issue. I’m gonna ignore the issue.

Lex Patterson 44:38
I will frustration because that’s where he was.

Mike Ginsberg 44:42
Exactly. They’re not trying to avoid the phone call necessarily from the collector. They’re not getting a phone call.

Lex Patterson 44:49
No. And that’s, yeah, that’s what I’m saying. You know, if if there was this nuance of understanding, it’s all about connecting the people in the easy This way possible, but yet, I think you articulated that so well, you know, and the debt buying thing brings it up. I mean, I think there’s more issues around validating the debt, making sure that statute limitations, all those things. You know, there’s all of those problems that are there. There’s no question with that. However, you articulated so well, in that we’re all paying for, you know, that the fact that those don’t get resolved, it trickles down to the point where we’re all paying for that, that problem. And and, you know, that’s where if we could simplify this, this whole process to say, let’s let’s make it easier for people to connect to solve these problems, and harder? I think that would be something that would be great. I’m not sure that that the latest stuff is, is getting there yet that we really finally, you know, maybe that nuances is tougher to understand if you’re not really in it. I don’t know why, though, with all the lobbying the things that go on why, you know, the regulatory pieces don’t catch up with what’s really trying to happen on here.

Mike Ginsberg 46:01
Well, in the last couple years, the courtrooms and the courthouses have been closed down. And you can’t actually get into the courthouse to service a claim, okay, so even if a lawyer is allowed to service that claim properly, and and try and put a restriction on that consumer, ultimately for that debt, to be able to get it paid. First of all, they can’t get into the courtroom. Second of all, there’s a met a requirement on debt purchasing to have media to have all the documentation lined up in advance, which I think, by the way, is very appropriate. Okay. I do think that they the debt buyer, and many of them do this, try to get as much data as possible in advance problem is sometimes a creditor excuse me, who sold the account, doesn’t maintain the data the way they need to know when they release it, because their legal department prevents them from doing so. So it really is kind of a vicious cycle. And it gets down to really one word inefficiency. And all levels, right, yeah, this was an efficient, they say it’s a mature market. It’s been around as long as what we won’t say the other more mature industry, right? This industry has been around since Stone Age. All right, I’ll say it, prostitution might have been allowed around and build collections, right? It used to be door knockers, and it used to be a lot different of a business. There is a huge, insurmountable amount of inefficiency in this marketplace. And as long as they efficiently are able not just to manage the accounts, but manage the consumers behavior, the creditors behavior and the agency’s behavior. Not only would it benefit all parties involved, it would benefit the economy as well. Yeah.

Lex Patterson 47:55
And that’s where it’s interesting to me, you know, when we talk about that crystal ball again, and you look at you say, what’s the agency of the future going to look like and in what I was referring to, you know, some of these companies are coming in, and they’re, they’re basically trying to solve that problem that I’m talking about, which is connecting the consumer to the debt, you know, or the bill, and making it easier to self service and doing all those things. The question I have is, Will, how much will that change? You know, because let’s face it, some people, they’re not, you know, they’re not really, you still got that segment of people that that really either can’t pay it or doesn’t want to pay it. And that’s where you have to get the help of the the collector involved, you know, in my opinion, so it’ll be interesting to see how that changes. We look

Mike Ginsberg 48:49
in that crystal ball. And if he asked me this question, a decade ago, right, my answer would have been a lot different than today. Back then, I thought size matter. Okay. I thought that it was a race to be the largest 800 pound gorilla in this business. Right. And CEO was the first one to cross over the billion dollar mark. At their peak, I think they generated about 1,000,000,005 in revenue. Well. That’s as a standalone NCO collection agency, right? You have companies today, like Teleperformance, and, you know, companies like that, that are multi billion dollar conglomerates with maybe 100 million coming from debt collection. They still a big number, but it’s a small percentage of the overall pie. When I first got into this business, there’s a recall an early part of our conversation. We talked about a company like pay go American. Well Paco was the largest bill collector in the world at the time and we got into the business. They never Dennis punches got rest His soul started that business that didn’t have his book here somewhere. The reason I bring that up is back then only 20 years ago, 25 years ago, that business at its peak was 150 million in revenue. The largest player today, the larger players are back at 100 150 75 million 50 million. Why they’re highly specialized. Okay, you give one of those health care agencies, financial service debt, they’d be like a fish out of water, they didn’t know what to do, right? You give financial services company, a government debt to collect no clue how to handle it. But you give a government specialist government debt to collect extremely efficient, they know the rules, they understand they abide by the rules, and they recover maximum amounts from the consumers, and the consumers don’t complain about it. Why? Because they understand how to handle those requirements, right? You look at my crystal ball, I don’t think we’re gonna have MCO type billion five businesses that are defined as collection agencies in this marketplace for many years, those investment dollars that are coming into this industry are going towards technology improvement, they’re going towards machine learning, they’re going towards trying to advance the cause, because the largest expense item on these businesses continues to be labor. And as we talked about earlier, people don’t want to work right now, because they’re getting a stimulus, they don’t want to work. Well, you have to create some efficiency there as well. And as you said, I think very, very well stated, most people don’t want to enter interact with a collector. Most people frankly, don’t have to interact with a collector, what they need to do is get a notice and be able to online, collect that account efficiently and seamlessly. And if it’s past due, they have to follow the protocol and be able to collect those accounts. Now simplifying, it’s a very, very complicated time consuming process. But if we’re able to adapt, and utilize technology and efficient way and communicate with consumers, the way consumers want to be communicated with and the way consumers respond to well, then you’re gonna get those kind of lifts. But I don’t think large is the answer anymore. I think it’s all about efficiency.

Lex Patterson 52:33
Okay, yeah. So, so distilling it down. That’s really it right efficiency, more than size more than, than anything else. And,

Mike Ginsberg 52:42
yeah, I mean, investments, investors, they want to return on their investment dollar. They look at this industry as a cash flow industry. They look at this industry, if they can understand and get beyond the regulatory red tape, which some of them are concerned about, maybe the limited partners won’t let them invest in certain industries, that’s fine. But when they get beyond it, and they understand the industry, they understand that to sound industry, they understand that there’s a true need for these businesses. And the return on the investment dollar has been and continues to be considerable. I’m not talking necessarily about a stock that you buy in the open market, but a private equity firm, putting capital to work in this industry, they want these businesses to grow and prosper. But they’re not going to grow into billion dollar businesses on their own, unless they get into other market segments, unless they get into other industries related industries, or and we haven’t even talked about this the globalization of debt. Okay, credit economy isn’t limited to one country anymore. It really isn’t. Before the pandemic, when the Olympics were in other countries who the largest sponsors with Visa, City Bank, not McDonald’s, not the gap. I was at why, because of the extension of credit, globally. And this is a global economy. There are a lot of moving parts outside the country as well. And what I’ve learned over the years to is both technology, as well as regulation are about a decade ahead of most other credit economies. So people come here to learn. They I had a friend who opened a collection agency in Russia, okay. Over the years, it grew to one of the largest businesses in our industry. And I used to see him at the ACA and he is sitting there taking notes. That’s why I’m here. I’m learning. I said, really? He says, Yeah, I’m investing in my business because I’m going to take back what I’m learning here, and I’m gonna apply it to my own business. That’s investment in the business also, it’s not just about capital, it’s about time. It’s about and these businesses these guys thoroughly understand the recoveries process. And they left it around devices. I think they do a fantastic job improving their recovery efforts and improving the results, as we talked about now a few times improving the economy. Yeah.

Lex Patterson 55:13
Hey, we’ll before we jump off of this topic, and and I want to mention, you know, the the Kalkan report, because I asked you about this. So I missed that. I think he did it for quite a while and maybe tell us a little bit about what’s going on with that.

Mike Ginsberg 55:31
So data, at the end of the day, information is power. It’s funny, because in 1992, plus or minus a year, I wrote a letter to my clients is the first version of our coffin report was two pages long. This is what’s going on in our industry right now. This is there’s buying who and this is what we say. And they asked for more. So we actually produced a report back in like 94, I think was the first one that we produce. It was internal, we created it ourselves, didn’t do much research, got the data that we had protect the confidentiality. We’re trying to be ruthless on that. But it was kind of the start of a report. But right now, it’s about data. And we’re putting together by September, we’ll have it the latest and greatest. It’s not the coffin recording more, but it is the it’s an arm record accounts receivable management, very comprehensive report looked at from the slices that you described, so well before creditor, service provider, consumer cuts by vertical. So what’s going on in healthcare is different than what’s going on and say, bank card credit card debt, right? So looks at those components. And it looks like technology and how technology is driving things. It talks about consolidation and those types of things. But really what it does is it also sizes up this industry. So people are working with real numbers, whether those are investors or creditors or regulators or you know, consumer advocacy groups. I don’t know about you, but it’s very hard for me to watch the news these days and understand Should I get the shot? Should I not get the shot? But what’s really going on with the pandemic, you know, what’s really going on? Because the news is politicized. Yeah. And constantly. And we know that right? But information is so important. And what we want to do, and it’s self serving as the sounds, we have pretty good attachment to the industry. It’s not, you know, to generate revenue as much as it is to inform people as to what is going on in this marketplace. So they can make good sound decisions. Right. Right. And that’s what it’s all about,

Lex Patterson 57:53
and help them look into that crystal ball a little bit, you know, so

Mike Ginsberg 57:57
I applaud, I do, I applaud you and your stature in this industry, taking the time to have these one on one discussions, and record these podcasts, whether it’s with me, I don’t know how important that is, but whether it’s with me or anybody else that you’re talking to, you’re building on this industry by providing them with a real perspective. And real perspective is so critical. So thank you, you’re doing appreciate

Lex Patterson 58:26
that. Well, thank you, Mike. Yeah, I mean, it’s, it’s the generosity of people like you that are coming on and being really vulnerable and, and transparent. And that makes us what it is, you know, so I just appreciate that. But well, what we can do probably if you’re okay with it is we could put a link in the show notes. Once I do that I attach show notes to all the episodes, and they can get information on how to get that. And I like to include those kinds of things in in all of the show notes that I put out there. So well. I’ll

Mike Ginsberg 58:57
go one step further. Once that’s ready. Whenever that’s ready, just let me know. And I’ll communicate with my following. I have a pretty good following, not only on Twitter and LinkedIn, but in the industry as well. And I think it’s important that they’re aware of the great work that you’re doing through these podcasts because I listened as you said, you’ve educated me on what’s going on in this marketplace through these discussions. And I think other people need to be aware of that as well. So as much as I can help promote the site. Well,

Lex Patterson 59:30
no, thank you. Yeah. Well, I want to wrap up with just a couple of kind of different questions. Right. So the first one is this and this is based on I don’t know if you’ve read Adam grants book Think think again, but he his whole thing. Yeah, so that’s a good one. It’s really a good one. And he talks about different perspective is a big thing that comes into that. But the question that kind of came up when I was reading that is you know, is there a topic my accent? Maybe you thought you you had a viewpoint on one way that lately you’re thinking, again, something that’s causing you to step back and think again. What would that be? Yeah,

Mike Ginsberg 1:00:07
you know, we talked about this, and I’ll emphasize that in this discussion is consolidation. Whether or not this industry has gone through a consolidation before, in my opinion, it hasn’t. But I’ve been rethinking this. And revisiting this based on all of the topics we talked about today. And some we when we may have missed, I think that this industry is going through a tremendous metamorphosis right now. And I do think there will be abrupt changes in the marketplace. Perhaps there’ll be some disruptors, like the Ubers that we’ve seen in the world, in this industry, like the Amazons have seen an earth, you know, brought to the retail industry. Box stores have lots of small business, you know, depending on which side you’re on, those are boom, or you know, could be a bus to a particular business. But I’m rethinking really just kind of rethinking about, what will this industry and more importantly, what will the individual companies look like 510 20 years from now, and I’ll tell you work from home. Two years ago, folks weren’t even thinking about working from home. And if they were, they were kind of the Renegade, the few, you know, in between the other two head offices and whatnot. I think work from home is a solution that’s very viable right now. And I think it’s here to stay. And I’m hoping that the regulator’s get behind that as well, because data is going to be protected, whether it’s in the office or at home. Right. You’re a technology guy. I know you understand that. But I do think this industry has to evolve to survive. And I do think it has to consolidate to survive with the increased costs. So I’m really focused, if there’s one thing right now that I’m kind of revisiting is what is this industry going to look like 510 years from now compared to what it looked like 510 years ago.

Lex Patterson 1:02:04
That’s really important. And you bring up the remote piece of that. And when we were talking earlier, you know, and you were saying, which I think is so true, you know, that that most people back Bethany brought this up in my first episode, you know, that, when you’re when you’re trying to hire a collector, most people don’t aspire to be the collector, right? So as we move into this remote environment, and competing, and being able to broaden your market to not just your geographic area where they can come into work, but pick up a phone and take care of things will from wherever they’re at. You know, I think that’s going to be so important to growth for companies to add a friend in

Mike Ginsberg 1:02:43
the business a number of years ago, had a collection agency in Chicago, named a collection agency with advocates, and they my friend was Bruce pass. And Bruce had a great business and he had partners and people in the business. And I got a call from the Wall Street Journal. They wanted to do an article on the debt collection industry. My guard is always off when a reporter wants to talk to a bill. No, I kind of thought about and thought about the article. And I called Bruce and I said, you know, cautiously, but you should talk to Scott. And you should understand what they’re trying to do. Well, a few weeks later, front page on the Wall Street Journal business section came out about a collection agency overpaying their their debt, their collectors at the expense of the poor consumer. Okay, so here’s some guys making $100,000 a year in the income in salaries and benefits collecting from these poor consumers. So Bruce, I remember he called me and we talked about and he was really upset. He’s like, What are my clients going? Well, one by one, he told me a few weeks later, after he really was upset with me for even introducing them to the reporter. Right. He called me to thank me. And he said, My clients are calling me and saying, you know, I think it’s great that your employees, some of which may have not even graduated high school, have these wonderful opportunities to advance their own careers and your business. And it sounds like you’re not only paying well, very well. And that’s great, because they’re going to be motivated, and they’re going to stay and all these wonderful stuff. And Bruce can thank me enough for that kind of stuff. So when I kind of think about it, there’s a lot of misperceptions. There’s myths, right? I used to hear you heard that I heard this industry is recession proof. We talked about that earlier. This industry is recession proof. This industry has been punched squared in the face when the great recession hit, right. And thriving markets like financial services cratered as a result of that because banks became conservative and they know are extending credit. They couldn’t extend credit the restrictions on them. Were Sure. So I think there are some misnomers. I think there are some myths. I think we need to dispel those myths. But I do think this industry, as long as we are in a credit economy, as I said before, I think this industry absolutely needs to exist for all the reasons we’ve talked about today. Yeah.

Lex Patterson 1:05:21
Well, one last question for you. And this is off off the topic of all that. But if there was, if you could wave a magic wand, and fix anything in the world today, anything at all? What would that be Mike? Oh, boy,

Mike Ginsberg 1:05:36
how broad are we going?

Lex Patterson 1:05:39
Yeah, well, I mean, what comes what pops to your mind? What’s the problem that, that irritates you the

Mike Ginsberg 1:05:44
street perspective, I could talk about how conferences are broken, and I think, considerably fixed because the right participants need to and have to want to attend. Okay. From a broader perspective, I have two kids, I have a 23, and a 22 year old two sons. They’re about 16 months apart. And I mean, they’re great. But I gotta tell you, I’m concerned, because one of the things that parents want to do is they hope for a better life for their kids than they have for themselves. We all kind of clicked that way. But it’s treacherous waters out there. Talking about the pandemic, if I could change anything back in the day, I used to play from sunup to sundown in the summers. In fact, my mother used to say, just be home when the sun goes down. A lot of times, that was nine o’clock. And then she didn’t know where I was, well, my kids were many of them. Not mine, necessarily, but many of my neighborhood were restricted from getting off their own lawn because of fear of being abducted. Right and crazy stuff on the internet. You know, boring these kids that could change anything. I’d love for kids to be kids again. Yeah, I think we grow up too quickly. And I want I’ve been accused of being an overgrown kid. Good. That’s great. You know, it means I’m happy. I’m enjoying my life that I’m enjoying my, my work. And I’m joined people like you that I speak to, and we laugh about it and have that fun again. But man, if you could change one thing, the other thing that I don’t want to change back to his travel. I think one thing that we’ve learned over the last couple of years, he don’t have to get on a plane to do business with everybody and everything. There is a benefit to face to face. Absolutely. What we’re accomplishing with Mt me being in Utah, you being here in Maryland. Yeah, stuff done. So it’s all about that efficiency play. And I like to continue to focus in on the efficiency part of things. Being short, we’d like to make money along the way. But money is a byproduct, if you don’t get value, you shouldn’t get paid. If you do add value, you should reap the benefits of the value that you’ve added. That’s all I try to explain to my kids along the way here too. And also, there’s one other thing that I I really kind of try to impart on them. And I think people need to remember, there’s no substitute for hard work. Right? They’ll collectors, they work hard. They really do work hard. It’s a painful business. It doesn’t have to be as painful as it’s become. But it still requires a lot of hard work. Yeah, 10s of 10s of 1000s of hours to learn the trade to be able to put a business in place to be able to recover these past news from millions of consumers. Yeah, there’s a lot of moving parts that need to come together. So I know I said a couple of things here. But I, I would harp on in this industry, the conferences, and probably overall travel restrictions. I’d like to see less travel. For business, the more travel for pleasure.

Lex Patterson 1:08:56

Mike Ginsberg 1:08:59
How about you? What? Tables? Why don’t you tell me the last thing, the biggest shift, you see that you’d like to see more permanent?

Lex Patterson 1:09:09
You know, you know, I? I agree, I think along those same lines, right? I think for me, personally, I was sort of on this treadmill, you know, just doing my thing it was but when the pandemic hit, and we went remote, and all of a sudden, you really have to rethink a lot about yourself that right? And there was this time to think and if things slowed down in a way, which I hope we don’t go back to that. That treadmill that fast paced, I really like being able to have a little bit slower pace in the being able to think about things and having some time where you’re not just running from appointment to appointment to appointment. And the other thing big one for me would be meetings, like I had meetings scheduled out throughout the day that we’re not and now if they are a meeting, it’s more Something like this. But it’s funny when when you really have to think about it, and it’s a Zoom meeting. It’s funny how that gets pared down. And they seem to be a little more efficient, in my opinion. So, you know, that’s that’s kind of my thing, I think with that too. But I appreciate you asking. Yeah,

Mike Ginsberg 1:10:15
I think you’re spot on Lex, I really do. It’s, it’d be nice if we could slow down, enjoy life, and really benefit from our expertise in trying, instead of trying to accelerate the answers all the time. I mean, I remember going to these conferences from 7am, I would have for breakfast before. meetings, and then I’d have to fight to get back to the break. Because there’s somebody in the break I need to meet with, yeah, whether it’s there or someone walking through the exhibit hall, you know, and then I kind of think about the afternoon and somehow, some way you and I wedged into time to say hello, but but until zoom King, we haven’t had these kinds of interactions because four guys are trying to get your attention. While you and I are talking at a show here. Yeah, but now it’s it’s become really beneficial because you get to know people. And once people, you get to trust people, once you get to trust people, you can conduct business a lot more efficiently with people, you know what trucks it’s basic selling one on one. If given the choice, you want to do business with the people you know or trust, otherwise, this industry in many other industries become a commodity. You know what happens with the commodity, nothing good. Nothing good. Is shrinks, the pricing goes down, it becomes more complicated. Like I’ve said now, repeatedly, this industry is an essential industry. It cannot be commoditize. Yeah,

Lex Patterson 1:11:45
yeah. We’ll call it a wrap on that. And Mike again, I just I’m so grateful. Thank you for joining me on on this podcast. And I’m sure we’ll talk again soon.

Mike Ginsberg 1:11:56
Lex it’s, it’s a privilege, it really is to take time to talk to someone who’s so thoughtful as to put this out there for the industry. Thank you for what you’re doing. And we have to the industry, I want to thank you as well. I think this is really important.

Lex Patterson 1:12:18
Thank you for joining us on another episode of fair debt. Remember, you can access additional information about this and all episodes on our website at Kindred force.com.

As we wrap up this season one last very important thing. This podcast is brought to you with the help of my wife and family who have always been my foundation, Mike and Sherry gadelle, whose voice talents created the intro, and whose friendship has been immeasurable Ashley Hyden, Debbie, Kilroy Don Worthington and Brad Bingham, who are part of my inner tribe, and continue to be my sounding board, providing direction, support and encouragement. folk are numerous who gave me a new perspective and pushed me into this new chapter. Jonathan best for his expert help with the website. Ismail Bakkou at 99 designs, Epidemic Sound and second line themes. Thanks also, to my guests, for generously donating their time. Thank you for your bravery in trying something new, being transparent and vulnerable in our discussions and for sharing your stories with the world. There’s also a list of people who helped me deliver this first season that probably don’t even realize they helped me, but I want to thank them for the knowledge and gifts they’ve given me on this journey. This list is long, but I want to mention a few including Stephen Wisner for his profitable podcasting book Buzzsprout where I host the site, Seth Golden’s Kimball podcasting workshop and shout out to homeroom five. Also, I want to thank Brene Brown, Malcolm Gladwell, Adam Grant, Janee, Blake and Nilufer merchant for the inspiration you’ve all given me in this creative process. Season two will come online in January to see the lineup and provide feedback. Please go to kindred force.com And subscribe to the newsletter, where you’ll get the inside scoop and additional insider only information. Happy holidays everyone. Stay safe, be present, and be kind. We’ll see you soon.

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