April 18, 2013 07:30 ET

For First Time, Debt Collection Agency Receives "Friend of the Consumer Award"

TULSA, OK--(Marketwired - Apr 18, 2013) - CFS2, a Tulsa-based debt collection agency, today announced the receipt of the 2013 "Friend of the Consumer Award" from the American Consumer Council. That's right -- one collection agency -- a member of the least consumer friendly industry in America -- is officially a "friend" to consumers.

According to Thomas Hinton, President and CEO of the American Consumer Council, "CFS2 is the first and only collection agency to earn the Friend of the Consumer Award." Hinton's statement continued, "The American Consumer Council is pleased to recognize CSF2 with its 2013 Friend of the Consumer Award for its commitment to helping a large segment of consumers get back on their feet through employment assistance and debt negotiation services. As a financial recovery company, CSF2 is offering valued services that millions of consumers desperately need as we emerge from one of the longest recessions in our nation's history."

According to Bill Bartmann, CEO of CFS2, it is all part of a grand design. "For too long collection agencies have gotten away with unethical practices for how they treat consumers and collect debt. This has caused a great deal of negative publicity for the major banks who sell their charged-off credit cards to collection agency debt buyers, and they are beginning to feel the consequences of the political, legal and economic risk when they sell their delinquent loans to a company that abuses consumers."

"Pending legal actions from the FTC, CFPB and State Attorneys General are holding banks liable for the actions of the companies that purchase delinquent loans from banks. When debt-buying companies abuse the consumer by robo-signing and robo-suing based on defective or fraudulent documents, the responsibility will ultimately lie with the banks.

"CFS2 was designed to solve this problem for the banking industry. Bank clients get the protection of knowing their former customer will get treated with dignity and respect and that we never use litigation as a collection tactic, while the customer gets back on their feet leveraging a wide range of free services," adds Bartmann. "Major banks like Bank of America, Wells Fargo, JP Morgan Chase and Citi are recognizing how our model reduces reputational risk."

The American Consumer Council is a non-profit membership organization, founded in 1986, that is dedicated to consumer education, advocacy and financial literacy. Each year, ACC grants Friend of the Consumer Awards to deserving companies that have "demonstrated a commitment to American consumers by providing a service that fosters consumer confidence and market acceptance."

Unlike traditional debt agencies, CFS2 provides a wide range of services to help consumers regain control of their lives. Using a patented process, CFS2 offers free of cost a full line of beneficial services for consumers, ranging from medical discounts and job-hunting assistance to legal aid. The company has helped thousands of American consumers minimize their current debt by directly communicating with its consumers' other creditors, helping them find employment and assisting enrollment in government benefits.

"We take a lot of flak from the collection industry because we are starting to make their life difficult. Regulators and legislators are looking at what we are doing and asking why the rest of the industry is not like CFS2. As you might guess, I am not very popular at industry conventions and you don't need to look far to find our critics," said Bartmann. "We'll see who gets the last word. You can't go wrong by doing things right."

About Bill Bartmann:

In the 1990s, Bartmann built CFS, the world's largest debt collection agency, and became recognized as a national authority on fair debt collections practices. Inc. magazine credited CFS with "remaking one of the ugliest industries" due to the zero-abuse policy Bartmann demanded of his staff. His firm helped 4.5 million consumers resolve over $15 billion in credit card debt, without initiating a single lawsuit. The Harvard Business School published a case study on CFS.

Bartmann is a best-selling author and was named national "Entrepreneur of the Year" by NASDAQ and the Kauffman Foundation. He has been called the "No. 1 Collection Industry Consumer Advocate" in the world and was referred to by USA Today as the "Patron Saint of the Second Chance."

Bill Bartmann is available for interview.

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