Opinion

Women Play a Critical Role in the Collections Industry and Beyond

During this National Women’s History Month, we are reminded of fearless female leaders who broke barriers and overcame seemingly insurmountable challenges to change the tide for generations of women to come. We often recount notable heroines throughout time who led revolutions for social change, served in the military, and didn’t take “no” for an answer.

Today, we’re able to look back on the incredible progress women have made across our nation, from opening successful businesses to representing constituents in Congress. There’s no question that women have and will continue to face challenges throughout time, but it is encouraging to see the trend toward increased equality moving in the right direction, especially as we work to balance out the ratio of women in the American workforce.

As a female chief executive in the debt collections industry, I can proudly say that we have been ahead of the curve regarding equal employment opportunities for women and continue to set a positive example in this regard. Professionals within the debt collection industry, including members of the Institute for Collections Leadership, come from a variety of unique backgrounds, a trait that serves to foster a culture of openness, acceptance and collaboration.

As we collectively make progress toward increased gender equality in the workforce, it is my hope that the collections industry continues to serve as a leader and role model for other industries in terms of our dedication to diversity. This month, let us celebrate the impressive fact that while the larger American workforce is comprised of about 47 percent women, nearly 70 percent of business owners and employees in the debt collection industry are women.

Diversity in gender, race, age and background is critical to the long-term success of the American workforce and central to innovation and the fostering of new ideas. Ensuring full inclusion of all employees is a critical aspect of this success and a principle that the debt collection industry has been practicing for years.

A true testament to the dedication of the industry to employing professionals from a variety of different backgrounds is the number of collections professionals who are also a member of a racial or ethnic minority group. An impressive 40 percent of women of racial and ethnic minorities make up the workforce, demonstrating an even greater focus on diversity and inclusion within our industry and highlighting our dedication to employing talented professionals.

The debt collection industry is steadfast in promoting the long-term financial success and independence of consumers and businesses nationwide. The purpose behind our work is to ultimately ensure that contracts between lenders, merchants, professionals and consumers and businesses are honored.

We pride ourselves on accomplishing this goal through personalized relationships with consumers. Our services enable a greater number of Americans to access the credit economy, helping individuals and businesses grow and thrive financially, and women and minorities play such a major role in accomplishing this mission to empower consumers.

We are proud to have so many female professionals in our industry — even the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau that oversees debt collections regulations is led by Director Kathy Kraninger, the first woman to hold that position since its founding. Especially during this National Women’s History Month, I’m encouraged for the future of the debt collections industry that is comprised of so many generous employees helping others in their communities achieve financial independence for a successful life.

Across the nation and across all trades, women will remain steadfast in holding leadership positions and empower others for generations to come.

 

Lisa Im is the board chair of the Institute for Collection Leadership that represents leaders within the credit and collection industry and promotes the interests of its company members while advancing consumer-centric solutions.

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