"The history of Fenca is essentially a peoples story. The Federation of European National Collection Associations could not have come about without the determination, resolve, personalities, ambitions, drive and energy of those involved in the early formation years.
It took considerable tact, negotiation skills and considerations of each others point of view, wishes and ambitions to make the European Co-operation happen.
It could so easily have gone wrong and come to nothing. Specific mention should go to Thor Anderson for his organisational skills, to Dr Carsten Ohle for leading and holding together the German speaking contingent, to Ulf Giebel for his iron determination, to Madeleine Gorrias for the original concept and for never giving up, to all the leaders from the smaller associations who made sure that the smaller associations got due consideration and finally if I may mention myself, there was the enjoyment I got working together with all those involved and from wanting it to happen, and perhaps in no small part, there was benefit in fact that I spoke both English and German, which helped negotiations and understanding.
For anyone who wants to read about events in greater detail, the minutes of Brussels, Frankfurt and Aachen are annexed."
For many years, there was recognition by a number of individuals that there was a need for a European umbrella for national debt collection associations to help influence ever-growing legislation from the EU in Brussels and unite in the face of increasing competition.
Specifically, Madeleine and Gerard Gorrias of the ANCR France were a driving force towards this goal, having discussions over the years with many like-minded colleagues in Europe. However, not until an international meeting hosted by LIC, a commercial trading forum for international collectors, did this dream come nearer reality.
Having so many internationally- minded collectors in one place proved the spark to European co-operation of collectors. French, Scandinavian and British delegates met informally to discuss the need for a European Federation of National Collection Agency Associations. They agreed to explore this further at a future event called specifically for this purpose.
The German-speaking associations BDIU of Germany, IO of Austria and VSI of Switzerland, plus the associations of the Netherlands NVI and of Norway NIF meet to discuss forming a European Association of Collection Agencies. They confirm their intent towards this goal but do not form an association.
Representatives from French, Scandinavian and British associations meet again and reach agreement to form the “Federation of National Collection Agency Associations,” FENCA. Founder members are: ANCR – France, CSA - Great Britain, NVI – The Netherlands and NIF – Norway. The Swedish association SI decides to await developments before making a commitment.
A grand meeting of all National European Associations is called to debate the enlargement of FENCA. Non-FENCA members do not feel ready to join a fully- fledged federation but are prepared to be part of a steering committee exploring the way forward towards European co-operation. The name FENCA is retained for the steering committee and the associations of Austria, Germany, Sweden and Switzerland join. An outline of rules and membership fees are agreed.
First meeting of FENCA as a steering committee. Agreement towards the acceptance of rules and statutes progresses swiftly and to the satisfaction of all attending associations. Agreement is reached for FENCA, once again, to become a federation. The association of Hungary, which had attended as an observer, joins the federation.
At its new inception the Federation has 10 European Member associations. The NIF, based in Sandefjord, Norway acts as secretariat and registered office.
President - Kurt Obermaier of CSA Great Britain
Vice President - Dr Carsten Ohle of BDIU Germany
Secretary - Thor Andersen of NIF Norway
FOTO: Delegates gather for photo
Delegates gather for photo outside the hotel Holmenkollen in Oslo after the successful conclusion of negotiations.
From left to right: Thor Andersen (Norway), Akos Rado (Hungary), Ulf Giebel (Germany), Peter Schnellen (Netherlands), Karl Egger and Hans Thoma (Switzerland), Dr. Carsten Ohle (Germany), Madeleine Gorrias (France), Claes Månsson (Sweden), Frank de Vries (Netherlands), Kurt Obermaier (Great Britain).
FOTO: The first Fenca Board
The first Fenca Board
From left to right: Thor Andersen (Norway), Kurt Obermaier (Great Britain) Dr. Carsten Ohle (Germany)
On The Way to the First World Congress of Debt Collectors
First contacts are being made with other European associations and with the European Commission in Brussels. Involvement with the European Commission in respect of its proposals for a European Directive on “Prompt payment of commercial transactions.” Representatives of FENCA met with EU officials to brief officials on debt collection matters and the structure of the industry.
First full business plan is agreed. Interest in FENCA is growing and requests for information are received from many quarters.
Contacts with the European Union deepen. The associations of Belgium (BIV) and Spain (ANGECO) join FENCA, increasing the size of FENCA to 12 member associations representing in excess of 600 individual collection agencies throughout Europe.
For the first time, presentations are given by other associations and by the European Commission demonstrating the growing importance of the federation.
A new comprehensive membership brochure is unveiled, listing the 643 individual national agencies throughout the 12 member association. Request to FENCA for copies of the new list is high, giving an indication of the increasing desire within the European collection industry to expand trading activities across borders. In co-operation with the ACA, preparations start for a World Congress in London in 1996.
186 delegates from countries as far afield as the USA and Canada, South America, India, Thailand, Hong Kong, Australia, and of course from all of Europe, attended the congress. Many bring their spouses, partners and guests and the colourful three-day event proves to be a crowning achievement of the formation period of international co-operation through FENCA.
FOTO: Fenca President Kurt Obermaier
Fenca President Kurt Obermaier addresses delegates to the World Congress in London
The first effects of lobbing at the EU in Brussels are experienced in connection with the proposed EU Directive for Prompt Payment in Commercial Transactions. On two occasions FENCA representatives met with EU official to advise on debt collection issues and the FENCA president Kurt Obermaier was to make a presentation on debt collection to a Public Hearing at the EU.
With participation of representatives from the European Commission. The Hungarian Association leaves FENCA due to internal difficulties.
The Finnish Association joins FENCA.
Retirement from office of the first FENCA President Kurt Obermaier, Thor Andersen of the Norwegian Association NIF elected to President.
Retirement of Thor Andersen from office of president, Roel van Rossem of the Belgian Association BIV elected to President.
Retirement of Roel van Rossem from office of president, Kornel Tinguely of the Swiss Association VSI elected to President.
FENCA establishes a new secretarial Base in Brussels to help keep in closer contact with officials of the European Union to the benefit of more effective lobbying on behalf of members.
Decision about engagement of the employee.
Opening of the permanent office in Lausanne, Switzerland. Acceptation of new rules for membership fee calculation.
Approval of the new Code of Conduct. First approach to the Statutes' change. FENCA changed its logo. During the year FENCA grew of 2 new members: Ukraine and Romania. First reception in Brussels for the members of EU Commission and FENCA. A special guest: Mr Juan Antonio Salazar Romero
Carsten D. Ohle retires and stops to hold a function of a Vice President. Andreas Aumüller has been chosen for the function of a Treasurer. Presentation of the proposal of Statutes' changes.
Second reception of FENCA in Brussels together with Delegates and Presidents of FENCA Members and EU officials. A special guest: Diana Wallis, MEP
Decision about acceptation of affiliate members and membership fee has been taken.