Crazy collections stories

Colorful anecdotes the exception, not the rule.

by: Richard H. Gamble

Karin Brown, a vice president at Lending Solutions Consulting Inc., Elgin, Ill., who spent almost 30 years in credit union collections before turning to consulting, has collected stories as well as collateral.

In one case, a collector had to go into a dicey neighborhood in South Chicago to try to repossess a car. When he knocked on the apartment’s door, the member’s mother answered. The late payer was already out the window and going down the fire escape when his mother hollered after him, “It’s not the po-po [police], it’s the repo.”

Either way, he was gone—and so was the car. The collector gave up and started home. On the way, he noticed an accident with cars pulled off along the Dan Ryan expressway. When he went by, he saw that one was the car he’d come to repossess, so he made a U-turn and collected the car he had come for after all.

Another time, Brown herself helped to repo a car from a gangster with a scary reputation. When they seized the car and inventoried the contents, they discovered guns and drugs. So she called the gangster and said, “We’ve repossessed your car. In light of what we found in it, we thought you might want to buy it back.”

He came right down and paid the full amount due on the loan, she reports. Then she called the police.

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