In May of 2016, members of the Illinois, Minnesota, and Wisconsin units of ACA International made a choice. Instead of operating as separate units, they decided to band together to provide a more powerful and effective voice for the industry in the great lakes region. The Great Lakes Credit and Collection Association, or “GLCCA”, was formed.
The concept of merger was forged from a simple premise – change is coming, and we are going to be ready for it.
Why We Did It
- Consolidation – states were losing membership for various reasons, whether due to consolidation or the cost of operating in a highly regulated environment. GLCCA knew that attrition would continue in the short-run, and it was important to have strength-in-numbers.
- Spending Money – each unit was spending association dues on the same services. Why not consolidate and more efficiently spend resources?
- Spending Time – our three states were meeting jointly for a number of years, but had to spend time having 3 board meetings, 3 general business meetings, and each state was suffering from the same operational challenges.
Unifying, While Staying Independent
Although the merger provided efficiencies, we are careful toward ensuring that each state remained responsible for its advocacy efforts, and that those efforts were appropriately funded. In GLCCA, each state has its own legislative committee and dedicated resource stream to pay for lobbyists and other activities as necessary. Each state also has its own PAC (or equivalent).
By giving state legislative committees the independence to manage their advocacy efforts without focusing on association management, which the GLCCA Board is tasked with, we believe we have struck a critical balance toward continuing our advocacy efforts while maintaining strong management of the association.
This past year has had its challenges. Most of our time was spent building the infrastructure of the organization: processing legal requirements to the merger; re-organizing finances; hiring new association management company to oversee day-to-day functions of the organization; completing the GLCCA Bylaws.
Thank you to those who have volunteered their time and resources to making GLCCA happen. It was a true privilege to be the first president of this new association. As with any new group, we will continue to have our challenges – so long as we remember the reason we merged, GLCCA will be successful: change is coming, and we are going to be ready for it.
I wish you continued success in 2017.