One of Merriam Webster’s definitions of the word enemy is as follows:enemy - noun en·e·my \ˈe-nə-mē\: one that is antagonistic to another; especially: one seeking to injure, overthrow, or confound an opponent

In a day and age when communication is vitally important in any relationship - personal, professional, business or other - recognition by all parties that the other parties’ opinions and intents are sincere and genuine, is integral to successful interactions.  

Industries and government regulatory agencies have been communicating for decades in attempting to meet the needs of both consumers and business alike – financial services being no exception. Through several Administrations and Congresses the pendulum has swung back and forth with some common ground of moderation always being found. Both have been alternately perceived allies and enemies.    

As the Washington chasm and divide has increased after the world economic collapse, sincere and genuine communication seems to have taken a back seat in the financial services regulatory environment. “Confounding an opponent” seems to have become a more acceptable one-sided way of building relationships. This method of relationship building is often promoted as portraying one side an “enemy” and the other a “friend and ally.”  

In the past five years, The National Creditors Bar Association (NARCA) has been offering genuine and sincere communication with regulatory agencies, such as the CFPB, in order to proactively reduce or eliminate the opportunity for either side to be confounded – perceptually or in reality. Participation in roundtables, panels, inter-organizational meetings, presentations at conferences, volunteer member involvement on Advisory Boards all speak to the desire by NARCA to be a friend and an ally in the same way the regulatory agencies desire to be perceived.  

NARCA has been, and continues to be, committed to providing the information, data, experience and understanding to a conversation that can be beneficial for all in the credit ecosystem. Creditors rights attorneys seek to collaboratively work on developing the fairest set of rules and regulations for consumers and for business – a level playing field. But this can only happen when open and honest discussion occurs together and the definitions of the relationship communicated to the public is equal. As the rules and regulations are promulgated, and not in a unilateral confounding way, then and only then will both consumers, creditors and small business be the beneficiaries.    

Not all players are enemies and bad players – on either side of the fence or aisle. This is a chance to bridge the divide that has paralyzed the federal government decision-making process in some small way.  

Maybe 2016 can be a year when we reduce the numbers of perceived enemies in our world and focus more on the real enemies.“Know thy enemy and you may find that they are not your enemy after all.”

Mark Dobosz