Frequently Asked Questions About the Certification Program

Q. Why should my company be certified? 

ANSWER: For you and your company, CLLA Commercial Collection Agency certification:

  1. Provides recognition by a legal association that is well respected in the collections industry.
  2. Establishes credibility among your peers.
  3. Enhances your company’s professional reputation.
  4. Supports continued professional development.
  5. Demonstrates a high level of commitment to your profession.
  6. Demonstrates a certain level of knowledge and skill.
  7. Meets customer requirements.
  8. Provides recognition in CLLA’s quarterly magazine, the Commercial Law World.
  9. Allows the opportunity to exhibit at NACM’s annual Credit Congress.
  10. Meets the requirement for membership into the Credit Research Foundation.

For your customers, certification:

  1. Helps in identifying qualified companies from an independent Certification provider.
  2. Increases confidence in your company.
  3. Provides a framework for resolving disputes between agencies and their clients.
  4. Establishes credibility among commercial credit professionals.

Q. Can any collection agency become Certified?

ANSWER: An agency’s business must be commercial-related, has been in the business of collecting commercial claims for at least four (4) years as of the date of application and must meet all the requirements outlined in the Commercial Law League of America’s Collection Agency Certification Program Standards and Requirements.

Q. What is the annual fee for Certification and what does it cover?

ANSWER: The cost of Certification for CLLA members is $1,000 for agencies with 1 to 20 employees; $1,700 for agencies with 21 to 49 employees and $2,450 for agencies with over 50 employees. In general, the cost of Certification is all-inclusive including administrative fees, agency trade credit reports, auditing fees and marketing expenses.

Q. What is the Initial Certification Application Fee and what does it cover?

ANSWER: The initial Application Fee is $1,250 plus the Annual Certification Fee based on the agency size. This initial application fee shall be used solely to cover the costs of CLLA, the outside CPA Firm conducting a compliance audit, obtaining individual credit reports, individual background checks, an agency trade report, on-site visit and internal administrative costs.

Q. How often will you conduct an on-site inspection?

ANSWER: The on-site inspection is conducted the first or initial year of the Program and every fifth year after the last inspection. An interim on-site inspection may be required if there is a significant change in ownership or operations. There is an on-site inspection fee of $750.00 to cover the costs.

Q. What will you be looking for during an on-site inspection?

ANSWER: The on-site inspection will be reviewing such areas as accounting and payment processing, compliance, facility security, quality assurance, and sales and marketing activities.

Q. Is a Surety Bond required for Certification?

ANSWER: Yes, a surety bond is required to protect client funds based on gross contingency fees for theprevious year: $0 – $1,000,000, a $150,000 bond is required; $1 million – $5 million, a $300,000 bond is required; Over $5 million, a $500,000 bond is required.

Q. Will I be able to use the Certified Commercial Collection Agency seal once I’m certified?

ANSWER: Once you meet all Certification requirements and are certified, you are free to display the seal on your website and in your marketing materials. Agencies must recertify each year to continue to display the seal.

Q. Will the CLLA support and promote the Certification Program to credit grantors?

ANSWER: The CLLA is the oldest creditors’ rights organization in the United States. We have excellent brand recognition with credit grantors, and we will continue to market the importance of this Certification Program to credit grantors through advertising, public relations and trade show participation. In addition, we intend to provide certified agencies with materials they can use to promote their Certification.

Q. Am I guaranteed Certification by paying the Certification Program fee?

ANSWER: No. However, the CLLA Certification Program is fair and objective. Your application is not subject to a subjective review by your competitors. Nor is our Certification a “rubber stamp” for paying a fee.

The CLLA Certification Program includes clear and objective requirements. The requirements are uniformly applied and interpreted. You will know exactly what is required to be certified and what you need to correct if you do not initially meet the Program requirements.

Q. Who will be reviewing my financial records?

ANSWER: The CLLA has overall authority and responsibility for the Program. Only the application will be confidentially reviewed by the Certification Committee. The CLLA has contracted with an outside CPA firm to perform independent, third-party compliance audits whose primary purpose is to review the required financial documents and perform agreed-upon procedures in accordance with attestation standards established by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. All financial documents submitted to the outside CPA firm are held in strict confidence and will not be shared with anyone.

Q. Who will be conducting an on-site inspection?

ANSWER: The CLLA has contracted with an outside inspection service to perform an independent, third-party onsite and verification service. The onsite inspections shall include, without limitation, verification of the applicable customer’s physical location and evaluation of security features.

Q. How do I fulfill the continuing education requirement?

ANSWER: Most CLLA conferences offer Continuing Education Units (CEU) for the representatives of Certified Agencies. In addition, the CLLA will honor course attendance at the International Association of Commercial Collectors (IACC) events. Up to (3) three members of senior management, chief compliance officer, chief operations officer, director of operations, forwarding manager, or collections manager, including the Key Person, must attend a cumulative (10) ten hours of Continuing Education Units (CEU) per calendar year. These (10) ten hours may be comprised by: at least (5) five credit hours obtained at a CLLA meeting or CLLA qualified event, and up to (5) five credit hours at an IACC meeting.

Q. What is the IACC/CLLA Alliance?

ANSWER: In September 2014, the International Association of Commercial Collectors (IACC) entered into a strategic alliance with the Commercial Law League of America, endorsing the Commercial Collection Agency Certification Program. This alliance continues to be in place and in good standing.

Q. Will CLLA and IACC members have any input regarding the Certification Program or the marketing of the Program?

ANSWER: As a part of this strategic alliance with the IACC, a Strategic Alliance Advisory Committee (SAAC) has been created. This committee will be comprised of three IACC members and three CLLA members, as chosen by each association. The committee will be responsible for making recommendations regarding promotion and marketing of the Certification Program as well as providing input on education in support of CLLA and IACC meetings and events.

Q: How will the Certification Program be marketed?

ANSWER: The Agency Certification Program will have its own advertising fund, separate from the IACC’s or CLLA’s respective general operating funds, and will be marketed to the industry based on the consideration and recommendation of the Strategic Alliance Advisory Committee.

Q. Will I need to be a member of both IACC and CLLA?

ANSWER: Yes. If you wish to apply for Agency Certification your agency will need to be a member of IACC and one designated officer, manager or representative of the agency will need to be a member of the CLLA during the period of Certification.

Q. Are there any discounts for joining either IACC or CLLA?

ANSWER: A 20% discount on your initial dues is being provided by each association. If you are a member of IACC, but need to join CLLA, you will receive a 20% discount off your CLLA dues, and vice versa for those agencies that need to join IACC. Please Note: Annual dues beyond the initial membership year will be at the regular rate.

Q: Are the IACC meetings qualifiers for the CLLA Agency Certification Program?

ANSWER: Yes. The IACC meetings are considered CLLA-qualified educational events for the requirement of the Agency Certification Program. You may obtain up to (5) five credit hours per year at an IACC meeting.

Q. If I have any questions, who can I contact

ANSWER: CLLA’s Executive Vice President, Phil Lattanzio, is your contact for any questions on the Certification Program. Mr. Lattanzio can be reached at 847-483-6477 or at phil.lattanzio@clla.org.

The CLLA Program is endorsed by the International Association of Commercial Collectors. To learn more about IACC visit their website.