Mr. van der Vaeren, what are the main challenges for ABR-BVI in the year 2015?
1. Get the legislator to understand that additional support for our profession would be good for the economy (investment & growth need good payers, and paying well is encouraged by debt collectors both in prevention and after a claim); good for settling more claims out of courts (where courts are expensive for the government).
2. Get more members (even if they are smallish) as our mission is also to get any debt collector to act professionally.
3. Get more creditors to call on us through image improvement.
What do you think, other members from FENCA could learn from ABR-BVI?
Other FENCA members seem quite professional. The only problem is that we don’t know each other enough; probably because of cultural (incl. legal) and language differences.
What do you think ABR-BVI could learn from other FENCA members?
Other countries have solutions in place that would be useful for us in Belgium to use as examples to convince our politicians to change the law. This covers many aspects including privacy, courts actions etc. The problem is to identify these differences and analyse how to use them.
In how far do you think the debt collection industry is already regulated by EU law?
In B2B, it is well regulated. Simple and efficient.
In B2C, consumer protection attitudes vary widely from one to another country. Levelling out differences (starting with statutory limitations) would improve the economy.
What are your expectations regarding FENCA?
Continue as it does and make a comparison between countries about debt collection law and practice.
What is the reputation of debt collectors in Belgium?
Getting better in the last 10 years. However, it remains ‘negative’ as Belgians have a natural tendency to excuse the debtor at the expense of the creditor. This is a bit like in a movie, when the main character is a criminal, one tends to sympathize with him, rather than with the victims.
You have already been working in this sector for more than 20 years. What is your main motivation?
I believe this must be deeply rooted. I tend to like getting things right.
How do you like to spend your free time?
In the winter: skiing; in the summer: motorbike touring and also some golf.
My favourite is laughing, any season.
Thank you very much for that Interview, Mr. van der Vaeren!