Debt collection is a growth industry, in Oregon and across the country.
Last year, WW wrote about Daniel Gordon, a lawyer who has filed thousands of Oregon lawsuits on behalf of debt collectors.
Debt collection is one of Oregonâsâand the nationâsâfastest-growing businesses. Sophisticated companies buy up portfolios of bad credit-card debt, often at pennies on the dollar, in a kind of salvage operation. And Gordon is their hammer. ILLUSTRATION: Tim LahanâThereâs a lot of feeling sorry for people who are in debt,â says Gordon, 74, of Eugene. âI donât feel very sorry for them. My parents taught me if you canât afford something, donât buy it.â
Sunday's New York Times provided a fascinating look at the business behind the lawsuits—the process of buying, often at pennies or less on the dollar, old debts.
The scale is breathtaking. From 2006 to 2009, for example, the nationâs top nine debt buyers purchased almost 90 million consumer accounts with more than $140 billion in âface value.â And they bought at a steep discount. On average, they paid just 4.5 cents on the dollar. These debt buyers collect what they can and then sell the remaining accounts to other buyers, and so on. Those who trade in such debt call it âpaper.â That was Aaron Siegelâs business.