"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."

Kurt Obermaier, first President of Fenca

Frankfurt - Brussels - Aachen

The Way to Inception

1992 September: Berlin, Germany

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.

1992 November: Frankfurt, Germany

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.

1993 January: Brussels, Belgium

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.

1993 April: Aachen, Germany

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.


1993 Septmber: Oslo, Norway

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.

The First Board

President - Kurt Obermaier of CSA Great Britain

Vice President - Dr Carsten Ohle of BDIU Germany

Secretary - Thor Andersen of NIF Norway

The Day of Inception

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

1994 The first FENCA newsletter is published. 

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.

Paris, France: June - First Annual General Meeting of FENCA 

First full business plan is agreed. Interest in FENCA is growing and requests for information are received from many quarters.

1995 Contact with other associations out with Europe, in particular with the ACA of the USA.

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. 

Locarno, Switzerland: May - Second FENCA AGM

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.      

1996 London, England: June - First International World Congress of Debt Collectors

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. 

Key Stages following the First World Congress to the establishment of a secretarial base in Brussels

1997 Annual General Meeting in Brussels, Belgium 

With participation of representatives from the European Commission. The Hungarian Association leaves FENCA due to internal difficulties. 

1998 Annual General Meeting in Vienna, Austria 

The Finnish Association joins FENCA.

1999 Annual General Meeting in Amsterdam, The Netherlands

2000 Second World Congress in Barcelona, Spain

Retirement from office of the first FENCA President Kurt Obermaier, Thor Andersen of the Norwegian Association NIF elected to President. 

2001 Annual General Meeting in Budapest, Hungary

2002 Annual General Meeting in Oslo, Norway

Retirement of Thor Andersen from office of president, Roel van Rossem of the Belgian Association BIV elected to President. 

2003 Annual General Meeting Paris, France

2004 Third World Congress Rome, Italy

Retirement of Roel van Rossem from office of president, Kornel Tinguely of the Swiss Association VSI elected to President. 

2005 Annual General Meeting Lisbon, Portugal

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. 

2006 Annual General Meeting, Warsaw, Poland

Decision about engagement of the employee.

2007 Annual General Meeting, Cologne, Germany

Opening of the permanent office in Lausanne, Switzerland. Acceptation of new rules for membership fee calculation. 

2008 World Congress FENCA, Nice, France

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


2009 Annual General Meeting and Congress, Prague, Czech Republic 

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


2010 Annual General Meeting and Congress, Athens, Greece

2011 Annual General Meeting and Congress, Brussels, Belgium

Decision about acceptation of affiliate members and membership fee has been taken.