Movers & shakers: Eric Gapinski, The Affiliated Group

Minneapolis - July 22, 2012

Title: Director of collections
Age: 39

Eric Gapinski helps keep cash flowing for companies as new director of collections at the Affiliated Group, a Rochester-based accounts receivable management company.

Gapinski came onboard in the new role as the Affiliated Group expands its leadership team. The effort coincides with growing demand for collection services among health care, education, government and other organizations.

Creditors nationwide face decreases in cash flow as a result of the Great Recession and continuing economic malaise, forcing some to look at their accounts receivable in ways they haven't in the past, Gapinski said.

"It is a painful period for them right now as they balance the needs of their consumers along with decreasing operating revenues," Gapinski said. "It is our goal to help them through that by increasing cash flow."

The debt collection industry is expected to see 23 percent annual growth through 2016, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics cited by the Affiliated Group. In 2010, the industry saved the average American household $396, the amount they would have had to spend if companies had raised prices to cover bad debt, according to a trade group study.

Gapinski has 13 years of experience in the collection agency industry. He most recently worked as site director of operations at Pinnacle Financial Group. He also had managed collection agents and growing companies. He has a bachelor's degree in secondary education from St. Cloud State University.

Q: Is the collection industry counter-cyclical, given the growth it's seeing now?

A: With job losses and/or families trying to live on single incomes or unemployment, it has forced consumers to make choices. Additionally, factors such as gas prices have a direct impact on families' ability to stay afloat and meet their financial obligations. Our goal is to assist with finding positive solutions for those struggles. To do this we continue to retrain our collectors to be sensitive to current issues.

Q: Why should a company work with The Affiliated Group to manage its accounts receivable?

A: We are a mid-sized company with the infrastructure, experience and technology of the larger companies. An advantage of our size is that while we are able to provide optimal results for our clients, it also allows us to be dynamic and responsive to each of our client's needs.

Q: You have a key role in helping to develop a more consumer-centric business model -- what will that look like?

A: We understand the effort and cost for our clients to create a relationship with consumers initially, especially in today's economy. Our goal is to work in tandem with our clients to maintain that relationship by offering professional solutions to the delinquent accounts of their consumers.

Initially published in The Star Tribune