NY governor wants to license debt collectors

December 19, 2019 GMT

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York’s governor is proposing to license debt collectors to make sure they’re following state law.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the proposal Thursday as part of his State of the State agenda for next year. The Democrat says he’ll advance legislation on the issue.

An inquiry was sent to the New York State Collectors Association about Cuomo’s plan.

The state’s Department of Financial Services already regulates debt collectors.

But the governor says the department has limited authority to require debt collectors to appear before administrative hearings, resolve consumer complaints or provide data.

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Cuomo says his legislation would empower the department to examine and investigate debt collectors, who could face fines or the loss of their licenses.

The governor is also proposing a tool to allow the public to check a debt collector’s credentials.

In July, Democratic state Attorney General Letitia James announced that two upstate New York debt collectors were banned from the business and expected to pay millions of dollars to settle allegations they inflated debts and threatened consumers.

The settlement requires one of the collectors to pay $60 million in penalties.