Cheerleader, advocate and supporter – these are the three words Irwin Bernstein uses to describe his position as President of the Great Lakes Credit and Collection Association (GLCCA). While he simplifies his role greatly with these three words, it would be accurate to say that he takes his role very seriously.
What would he say to a member who is not involved in GLCCA? “Shame on you!” Bernstein quickly replies, with a slight chuckle. While he does not mean this statement to be harsh or condemning, he wants members to know the immense value that involvement within the organization has for them as collection professionals. “The GLCCA is an excellent way for members to gain crucial knowledge about the current state of our industry, including the rules and regulations with which we are expected to comply. But it is so much more than that. I see a sense of camaraderie among members.” To steal a cliché phrase, the association is a lot like a family.
One thing Bernstein really wants members to know is the high caliber resources that are available to them because of the size of the association. “Some members are unaware that we are the largest unit in the country. Because of this, we can provide educational opportunities and vendor presentations that are on par with the national convention, but at a fraction of the cost.”
His professional background as an attorney allows him to provide important legal insight and guidance. “I was able to help create the unique structure of GLCCA in which we consolidated the operating expenses of three individual state associations into one structure to create a more cost-effective single unit while retaining independent state legislative committees to retain local control over each state’s legislative and regulatory issues,” Bernstein notes.
Prior to the formation of the GLCCA he was involved in the Illinois Collectors Association, serving as both the Vice President as well as on the Public Relations committee. He is also the founder of CMS Services, an online tool simplifying the gathering, sharing, reviewing and updating of an ARM firm’s Compliance Management Systems. In addition, he is an attorney and CPA with over 30 years in the financial services industry and CEO of Allgate Financial, a provider of outsource management and back office services to the debt buying industry.
When looking to GLCCA’s future, Bernstein hopes that member participation continues to grow. “Increased member involvement allows us to offer more services and demonstrates to the general public that we are a professional industry.” He encourages members to join a board meeting call and share thoughts and ideas regarding ways to make the association even more beneficial. “Give me a call or email me. We need fresh insights and ideas so that we can continue to grow. I want members to know that we are here for them and we value their input.”
When he is not wearing one of his many professional hats, Bernstein’s time is spent in a variety of volunteer opportunities, as well as family time with his five children and his first of hopefully many grandchildren.