Two of the largest repossession organizations are set to become one group.
According to an announcement sent to SubPrime Auto Finance News on Tuesday morning, the American Recovery Association (ARA) and Time Finance Adjusters (TFA) are joining together. The statement indicated the new association is expected to launch in January.
TFA president Nicki Merthe believes this development is the most signiﬁcant event to take place in the repossession industry in modern times. By taking advantage of each other’s strengths, Merthe explained this move forms a uniﬁed and restructured organization unlike anything that has existed in the industry’s past.
“At TFA, we’re proud of our TFA Guide, our member communication network through the ‘E-Zines’ and how we’ve fostered the TFA ‘Family Mentality,’” Merthe said. “ARA has led the way with industry-wide events like the North American Repossessors Summit, compliance monitoring and member beneﬁts.
“By merging these two associations and combining our clout, we will enhance our eﬃciency, efficacy and outreach,” Merthe continued.
TFA’s Patrick Altes discussed how the organizations arrived at Tuesday’s announcement.
“The new organization is being formed with the direct input of many of the best repossessors in the country,” Altes said. “This is the result of two day-long brainstorming sessions held earlier in 2018.
“Men and women from both organizations volunteered their time and resources to help build the framework for this new entity. This has never happened before,” he continued.
As a result of these planning and input sessions, the announcement mentioned the new organization will remain member-owned, with an all-volunteer board of directors. Altes will be named to the executive board of the new organization. TFA will remain as the publishing arm of the new organization, with TFA’s Todd Squires joining the communication and social media team.
“TFA’s heritage has been rooted in its independent ownership by my family” Merthe said. While that worked extremely well in its day, now is the time to restructure and turn the ownership of this new association to its collective members. We think Harvey (Merthe’s father and TFA’s founder) would approve.”
Both Merthe and Altes shared that the underlying theme of those strategy sessions was to build an organization with “One Voice, Strong and United.” They added that premise resonated throughout each of the historic meetings.
“When you look at Washington, you see the ineﬃciencies caused by the pointless polarization and game-playing by both political parties,” Altes said. “Until today, that could also describe our industry. As a result, we’ve been completely unable to aﬀect any sort of change for our members.
“We’ve had no large collective voice, and this has paralyzed our industry,” he continued. “Unifying is our last, and best chance, for making any long-lasting changes. ARA has shared the vision, and it has been a real pleasure working with Les McCook (executive director of ARA) and David Kennedy (president of ARA) on bringing this initiative to life.”
Merthe went on to say, “The response from membership has been overwhelmingly positive. They know it’s time for a change for the betterment of the industry. We are responding to the call to unite. This is our chance to really make a diﬀerence.”