Capital Recovery Advisors (CRA) employs a three step fundamental process in the pursuit of the highest net recovery amount possible, generated in the shortest timeframe possible. These three steps are: Research – Negotiate – Settle. The purpose of our detailed research effort is to gather all available information on borrowers and guarantors (the “obligors”), which facilitates our maximum advantage in the negotiation process. Utilized together, these two preceding steps lead to the optimal net settlement amount (net meaning the amount realized after payment of third party expenses) that can be generated in a practical time frame.
At the commencement of our recovery process on each loan, our urgency is directed to research and the compilation of the most complete and comprehensive package of information we can assemble. Our research is conducted with the objective of building an accurate and current financial profile on every obligor. To accomplish this we employ a multistep procedure which includes a thorough review of the original financial information that is available in the files received from our lender clients, both provided by the obligors at loan application and developed throughout the loan servicing process. We verify and update this profile with current information sourced through a variety of online research services to which we subscribe, often expanding our research directly to local recorder websites to reveal additional real property, court, and UCC records. When online resources are insufficient, we routinely employ local title companies to physically extract information otherwise unavailable which may be critical to the recovery process. We may also engage the services of private investigators, forensic accountants and other professional service providers who may add important information and insight.
Each foregoing method, and the decision to move to increasingly intensive research processes, is constantly evaluated for its contribution to the overall settlement process in light of both the size of the subject obligation as well how the intelligence developed at each successive step impacts the expected magnitude and timing of recovery.
When completed, this profile enables us to develop both an initial projection of obligor settlement ability as well as the steps necessary to move the process to a mutual agreement on settlement amount and timing, and, most critically, to a legitimate expectation of performance on an executed settlement agreement.
Obligor negotiations can be as simple as a few conversations that lead to a settlement; or as complex as attendance at settlement conferences, the pursuit of judgments, the exercise of pre- and post-judgment remedies, taking obligor depositions, mediation, etc. Many of these complex steps can be time consuming and expensive, and because our objective is always to obtain the optimal net settlement amount possible, in the shortest amount of time possible, we approach each of these steps only after careful evaluation of the anticipated costs and the associated potential settlement benefit.
When it becomes necessary to engage outside legal counsel, we do so only to ensure compliance with the nuances of law in the particular state where negotiations are centered and as a mechanism to accomplish legal process. In doing so, we achieve the ancillary benefit of impressing upon the obligor that the matter is now “close to home.”
Our expertise is in directly conducting successful obligor negotiations. Consequently we do not engage counsel to negotiate on our behalf and, with rare exceptions, we do not engage counsel on a contingency fee basis. Our in-house counsel evaluates and retains all outside firms and informs them at the outset of our intense fee sensitivity, as well as carefully instructing them in the scope of activities we want them to perform on our behalf. We remain fully engaged in the negotiation and do not allow any engaged third party to take steps which we have not evaluated in detail and then authorized in advance.
By strictly observing this protocol, we remain vitally involved in every negotiation, we apply our proven negotiation expertise to the process, and we limit the costs of outside counsel and other third parties. Of potentially greater importance is that we continually use the specter of each successive, escalating step as an opportunity to invite settlement and routinely bring negotiations to a close much sooner, and at a commensurately reduced cost, than would otherwise be the case if we allowed third parties to “drive” the process.
As negotiations become increasingly complex and protracted, we consistently treat each step of the process as a new opportunity to invite settlement and to internally evaluate the marginal return of the escalation. We emphasize to the obligor (or to the obligor’s counsel) the potential expense and inconvenience this new step will present to them and ask them to seriously consider the option of stopping this expensive and burdensome process and agreeing to a mutually acceptable settlement. If our request is rejected, we then carefully evaluate the costs and time associated with taking the next step, weighing the escalation against the anticipated gain in settlement amount. If after this evaluation we feel the step is warranted, we intensely proceed. If we feel it is not warranted, we will look to other alternatives to extend the negotiations.
The result of this cost-benefit recovery protocol is that we directly evaluate each step and its potential costs and outcome, and we also invite the obligor to perform the same evaluation and consider the benefits of stopping the pain and agreeing to settle. It is our committed adherence to these procedures that leads to both our consistent maximization of the net settlement amount and to our significant reduction of the time required to reach settlement.