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Consumer Debt Collection Helps Sustain America's Credit-Based Economy

MINNEAPOLIS, Aug. 5, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ --  According to findings of a new survey by Ernst & Young and debt collection trade association ACA International, the health of America's national and state economies continue to rely on the recovery of rightfully owed consumer debt. Yet, the data also show that only a small percentage of outstanding consumer debt was actually recovered in 2013.


"These findings provide a benchmark for the critical role the third-party debt collection industry plays as a service provider in recovering unpaid consumer debt on behalf of the public, private and non-profit sectors," said ACA International CEO Pat Morris. "Moreover, it reinforces the important role these businesses play in their local communities as employers, volunteers, philanthropists and taxpayers."

Conducted in spring 2014, this survey provides a snapshot of national and state level collection efforts including the items below. ACA International also conducted a similar survey in 2011 and a comparative analysis of the findings can be viewed at

  • Outstanding Debt:  Third-party debt collectors received approximately 1 billion consumer accounts from creditor clients in 2013, with a face value of $756 billion. However, only seven percent ($55.2 billion) was actually recovered.
  • Recovering Assets: A total of $55.2 billion was recovered from consumers on behalf of creditor and government clients. The collection of consumer debt also provides a valuable benefit to American households by returning an average savings of $479 per household and keeping the costs of goods and services lower.
  • Job Creation:  Third-party collection agencies directly employed more than 136,000 people with a payroll of $6.4 billion. Indirectly, the industry influenced creation of a total of more than 230,000 jobs with a payroll of $12.4 billion.
  • Paying Taxes:  Third-party collection agencies and their employees paid more than $2.6 billion in federal, state and local taxes.   
  • Giving Back: Third-party collection agencies and their employees contributed $130.5 million and volunteered approximately 1.9 million hours to charitable community causes.

"Our nation was built on the premise that those who provide credit, goods and services to consumers have the expectation of being repaid," said Morris. "Recovering these debts helps organizations survive; prevents layoffs; keeps cost down and credit, goods and services available; and reduces the need for tax increases to cover government budget shortfalls."

To review the complete ACA / Ernst and Young report, "The Impact of Third-Party Debt Collection to the National and State Economies," please visit

ACA International ( is the comprehensive, knowledge-based resource for the credit and collection industry. Founded in 1939, ACA brings together more than 230,000 professionals representing third-party collection agencies, asset buyers, attorneys, creditors and vendor affiliates. ACA supports members through state and federal advocacy, training and resources.   

Contact: Alex Szeto
Tel. (952) 259-2108 or [email protected]

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SOURCE ACA International

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