A thoughtful discussion among industry practitioners, whether from debt settlement companies or creditors, or related services, to provide a forum for a healthy discussion about the pro's, con's and unintended consequences of debt settlement in our industry and credit cycle.

This session is structured to bring together various thought leaders and viewpoints from different perspectives on debt settlement. We welcome a healthy exchange and thoughtful ideas about best practices, and ways to improve and move forward with what's right for the consumer and the industry. Join us for discussions of compliance, regulations, best practices, consumer education, suitability and standards.

Although there are varying definition of debt settlement, this session is specific to the practice where a debt settlement company is working with various creditors to negotiate on behalf of the consumer, rather than a consumer working directly with their creditor. We’ll look at some basic definitions and vocabulary that might cause confusion. We’ll look at available education and consumer options in addition to operational challenges from various perspectives.

Tuesday - September 10, 2019
Time Event
9:00 a.m. – 11:40 a.m. Creditor Roundtable Appointments and Introductions
20 minutes each. Limited Space Available. Must register in advance for these private meetings.
12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. Networking Luncheon
1:30 p.m. - 2:15 p.m. Debt Settlement Overview and Regulatory Perspective
Teresa DodsonGreenbacks Consulting
Robert LindermanAmerican Fair Credit Counsel (AFCC)
Jason SwiftMarlette Funding, LLC
2:15 p.m. – 2:40 p.m. Understanding the Options and Educating the Consumer
Pete KlipaNFCC
2:40 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Break
3:00 p.m. – 3:15 p.m. The Future of the Industry
Sean FoxFreedom Financial
Hear from a leader of the largest debt settlement company, Freedom Debt Relief, about strategies that the debt settlement industry can pursue to improve consumer outcomes while building confidence in the service among creditors, regulators and thought leaders.
3:15 p.m. – 4:20 p.m. Operational Challenges and Concerns
Joe DuarteFinxera, Inc. / CFT Pay
Roger KnaufThe Axiom Group
Rob KnightARC / Icon Equities
Tom NusspickelAmerican First Finance
Jason SwiftMarlette Funding, LLC

In many ways, Debt Settlement has become part of the “new normal” in collection and recovery. Whether you hate it, deal with it, or think it’s a great option for consumers, certainly opinions vary.

Some say with its high fees and questionable results – it’s having a negative impact of both the consumer and the entire credit marketplace.

Others say Debt Settlement is misunderstood, and it is just a part of the cycle, or “collection waterfall” if you will, for “certain types” of consumers, – like credit counseling, bankruptcy or debt settlement. Some argue it answers a need. Just like first placements, second placements, legal strategies, and selling debt, has debt settlement become part of the cycle – or should debt settlement be considered in this way?

Even the definition of what debt settlement is seems to vary based on individual and company – with its own supporters and distractors, as some consider it “credit repair” and others feel it doesn’t help the consumer in any way, or educate the consumer to help in the future.

Certainly regulators are taking a good look at today’s Debt Settlement model. What are the “unintended consequences” and long-term effects of this fast-increasing method of settlement – for both the protection of the consumer, their financial situation, and their future financial well-being? In addition to the consumer who settles, is it impacting or undermining our system of credit and repayment? Is the Debt Settlement model sustainable? Should it be?

Join us at Debt Settlement Strategies and Solutions Session as we delve deeper into what it is, or what it could be, as we review and discuss some of the issues, challenges and concerns inherent in the Debt Settlement model.

This half-day session is structured to bring together various thought leaders and viewpoints from different perspectives on debt settlement. We welcome a healthy exchange and thoughtful ideas about best practices, and ways to improve and move forward with what's right for the consumer and the industry. Join us for discussions of compliance, regulations, best practices, consumer education, suitability and standards.

Although there are varying definition of debt settlement, this session is specific to the practice where a debt settlement company is working with various creditors to negotiate on behalf of the consumer, rather than a consumer working directly with their creditor. We’ll look at some basic definitions and vocabulary that might cause confusion. We’ll look at available education and consumer options in addition to operational challenges from various perspectives.

Speakers Topic and Biography


Teresa Dodson
Greenbacks Consulting

Topic: Debt Settlement Overview and Regulatory Perspective

Biography: Teresa Dodson has over 20 years of executive management experience. Her background includes 11 years of corporate leadership experience in running Advertising agencies who specialize in technology, medical and health industries. The last 16 years, she’s focused on the financial services industry ranging from operations management, industry compliance, software development and creating new business opportunities to help grow and scale existing businesses.

Currently she is the Founder and CEO of Greenbacks Consulting. Greenbacks Consulting has been providing consulting services to the financial services industry since 2008. Teresa has been focused on the debt settlement industry since 2003. During her time in the industry she served as COO of two large debt settlement companies and has built two more from the ground up.

She is currently and has been for the last 13 years an Executive Board Member of the American Fair Credit Council (AFCC). AFCC is the only association that represents the debt settlement industry in matters of state and federal legislation and maintaining industry compliance.

Teresa has also served as COO of Persolvo Data Systems the first software product of its kind to be developed. This bridged the gap between creditor, collections and debt settlement companies and changed the way they work together today.

Teresa’s success stems from her focus on helping businesses achieve desired levels of growth, demonstrating the ability to combine visionary, strategic, and tactical operational expertise to produce bottom-line results & financial strength.



Joseph Duarte
Finxera Inc. / CFT

Topic: Operational Challenges and Concerns

Biography: Joseph joined Finxera Inc. the parent company of Crossroads Financial Technology (CFT Pay) as the Director of Business Development in June of 2016. In his current role Joseph is responsible for leading the expansion of the CFT Pay service and product offerings, aiming to position CFT Pay as a market leader and provider of integrated services beyond payment processing to the debt settlement industry.

Joseph has over 18 years of experience in the consumer financial industry. Prior to joining Finxera he was a founding partner and Chief Operating Officer of Second Round LP, a debt buyer and collection agency with a large presence in the debt settlement industry.

During Joseph’s time in the debt buying and consumer financial industry, he has been responsible for managing the recovery and purchase of multi-billion dollar portfolios of defaulted consumer receivables. Joseph leveraged his extensive operational and technical background to successfully develop predictive scoring models and enterprise dialer programs. These solutions allowed for the successful liquidation of portfolios consisting of defaulted credit cards, auto deficiencies and other defaulted receivables.

Joseph attending Santa Clara University focusing on engineering and mathematics. He began his career with ExTerra Credit Recovery as the Vice President of Technology, during his time at ExTerra, Joseph completed a successful restructure of the operation and executed a sale of the business to a publicly traded recovery company.



Sean Fox
Freedom Financial

Topic: The Future of the Industry
Hear from a leader of the largest debt settlement company, Freedom Debt Relief, about strategies that the debt settlement industry can pursue to improve consumer outcomes while building confidence in the service among creditors, regulators and thought leaders.

Biography: Sean leads the client acquisition (marketing, sales, etc.) and partnership development functions for Freedom Financial Network, and co-owns the P&L for Freedom Debt Relief, which is the largest debt settlement company in the United States. Prior to joining Freedom in 2013, Sean served in a variety of executive roles (including Chief Operating Officer, President and EVP of Business Development) for several online marketing companies over 15 years. Sean holds degrees from Stanford University, Cambridge University, and Georgetown Law School.



Roger Knauf
The Axiom Group

Topic: Operational Challenges and Concerns

Biography: Roger Knauf has been in the consumer receivables industry since the late 1970s. Over the past 40 years he has successfully founded five asset recovery companies, four of which continue to operate today. In 1996, he was the founding member and Managing Partner at Fourscore Resource Capital, LLC, one of the nation’s largest debt purchasers at the time.

In 2012, he acquired Full Circle Financial Services, LLC, a collection agency based in Tampa, Florida. He is also Managing Director of Axiom Acquisition Ventures, LLC, a licensed debt buying firm also based in Tampa, Florida.

Knauf's seasoned career includes several other accomplishments. Since 1980, Knauf has been an active member of the American Collectors Association. He served on the Board of Directors of the Wisconsin Collectors Association from 1985-1989 and the Minnesota Association of Collectors from 1991-1998, serving as President in 1996-1997.

Knauf was a charter member of the Debt Buyers' Association (DBA), founded in 1997; He served on the Board of Directors of DBA from 2000-2010 and was elected as President for two consecutive terms in 2004 and 2005. In 2006, he was asked to serve as Executive Director of DBA, a position he held until November of 2010.

He was honored to serve as the Northern Wisconsin Campaign Director for US Senator Herb Kohl (D-WI) in 1988 and he also holds an Honorary Degree from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, presented to him in 2006 for his outstanding contribution to youth in his community and contributions to the University.



Robert Linderman
American Fair Credit Counsel (AFCC)

Topic: Debt Settlement Strategies and Solutions: Debt Settlement Overview and Regulatory Perspective

Biography: Robert Linderman is a nationally recognized expert in the debt resolution field. Prior to his retirement, in February 2019, Bob was the General Counsel for the Freedom Financial Network group of companies, a role he had held for 11 years. As Freedom’s General Counsel, Bob was responsible for all aspects of Freedom’s legal representation, including regulatory, corporate transactional and litigation matters. In addition to his legal responsibilities, Bob was also responsible for founding and managing the Compliance Department and the Government Affairs group.

Bob has also been, for the past eight years, the Vice President of the Executive Board of the American Fair Credit Council (“AFCC”), the trade association representing the debt settlement industry, and serves as its Legislative Director. In that role he oversees all government affairs activities, including state and federal lobbying (both legislative and regulatory) and communications. Bob also collaborates closely with Greg Regan on the production of the “Regan Report,” the seminal analysis of the debt settlement industry, now in its third iteration.
Read More »



Tom Nusspickel
American First Finance

Topic: Operational Challenges and Concerns

Biography: Thomas (Tom) Nusspickel, Chief Operating Officer for American First Finance, has a 28-year career in the banking & financial services industry in executive-level roles directing Customer Service and Collections/Recovery divisions for credit originators, third-party servicers, and BPO companies. Tom began his management career with HSBC, serving close to 10 years running Collections & Recovery for three divisions.

Tom has unique skill sets having been successful as both a creditor and a vendor/servicer executive. He has been responsible for operational oversight of large portfolios including Auto, Credit Card, Consumer Loan, Mortgage, Online Retail, and Student Loans both domestically and internationally.
Tom currently focuses on developing culture, finding efficiencies, and ensuring that servicing in all departments is poised for growth by utilizing the best available technologies, all while maintaining and advancing training programs and methods for his teams.



Jason Swift
Marlette Funding, LLC

Topic: Debt Settlement Strategies and Solutions: Debt Settlement Overview and Regulatory Perspective

Topic: Debt Settlement Strategies and Solutions: Operational Challenges and Concerns

Biography: Chief Operations Officer of Zinc Auto Finance Inc with 32 years in consumer lending with emphasis on non-prime indirect auto. Former President/COO of Mid Atlantic Finance Corporation responsible for operations including their non-performing asset based loan portfolios to determine the risk and profitability. Experienced in creating policies, procedures and streamlining to reduce budget items to maximize revenue. Creation and implementation of programs to significantly increase growth while maintaining acceptable delinquency and losses. Extensive experience in originations, collections, recovery/remarketing, legal and bankruptcy.



Debt Connection Symposium and Expo

All images and content, unless otherwise noted, are copyrighted and a product of Resource Management Services, Inc., and may not be used without permission.
Some artwork is trademarked and copyrighted by their respective owners and noted where known.
No images or content on this site may be reproduced or distributed without consent of Resource Management Services, Inc. or the copyright holder.
DCS2019SM and Debt Connection Symposium and ExpoSM are service marks of Resource Management Services, Inc.
10440 Pioneer Blvd. Suite 2, Santa Fe Springs, CA 90670. Contact 562-906-1101 if there are any questions.