10-K 1 d443977d10k.htm FORM 10-K Form 10-K
Table of Contents

 

 

UNITED STATES

SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

WASHINGTON, D.C. 20549

 

 

FORM 10-K

 

 

(Mark One)

x ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2012 or

TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

For the transition period from                     to                     .

COMMISSION FILE NUMBER: 000-26489

 

 

ENCORE CAPITAL GROUP, INC.

(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)

 

 

 

Delaware   48-1090909

(State or other jurisdiction of

incorporation or organization)

 

(IRS Employer

Identification No.)

3111 Camino Del Rio North, Suite 1300 San Diego, California   92108
(Address of principal executive offices)   (Zip code)

(877) 445-4581

(Registrant’s telephone number, including area code)

 

 

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:

 

Title of Each Class

 

Name of Each Exchange on Which Registered

Common Stock, $.01 Par Value Per Share

  The NASDAQ Stock Market LLC

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act: None

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act.    Yes  ¨    No  x

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Act.    Yes  ¨    No  x

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant: (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days.    Yes  x    No  ¨

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically and posted on its corporate Web site, if any, every Interactive Data File required to be submitted and posted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit and post such files).    Yes  x    No  ¨

Indicate by check mark if disclosure of delinquent filers pursuant to Item 405 of Regulation S-K is not contained herein, and will not be contained, to the best of registrant’s knowledge, in definitive proxy or information statements incorporated by reference in Part III of this Form 10-K or any amendment to this Form 10-K.    ¨

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer or a smaller reporting company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer” and “smaller reporting company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act. (Check one):

 

Large accelerated filer    ¨

   Accelerated filer    x    Non-accelerated filer    ¨    Smaller reporting company    ¨

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Act).    Yes  ¨    No  x

The aggregate market value of the voting stock held by non-affiliates of the registrant totaling 24,672,834 shares was approximately $730,809,343 at June 29, 2012, based on the closing price of the common stock of $29.62 per share on such date, as reported by the NASDAQ Global Select Market.

The number of shares of our Common Stock outstanding at February 1, 2013, was 23,187,962.

Documents Incorporated by Reference

Portions of the registrant’s proxy statement in connection with its annual meeting of stockholders to be held in 2013 are incorporated by reference in Items 10, 11, 12, 13, and 14 of Part III of this Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2012.

 

 

 


Table of Contents

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

     Page  

PART I

     1   

Item 1—Business

     1   

Item 1A—Risk Factors

     9   

Item 1B—Unresolved Staff Comments

     26   

Item 2—Properties

     26   

Item 3—Legal Proceedings

     26   

Item 4—Mine Safety Disclosures

     28   

PART II

     29   

Item  5—Market for the Registrant’s Common Equity Securities, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities

     29   

Item 6—Selected Financial Data

     32   

Item  7—Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations

     34   

Item 7A—Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures about Market Risk

     61   

Item 8—Financial Statements and Supplementary Data

     62   

Item 9—Changes in and Disagreements With Accountants on Accounting and Financial Disclosure

     62   

Item 9A—Controls and Procedures

     62   

Item 9B—Other Information

     64   

PART III

     64   

Item 10—Directors, Executive Officers and Corporate Governance

     64   

Item 11—Executive Compensation

     64   

Item  12—Security Ownership of Certain Beneficial Owners and Management and Related Stockholder Matters

     64   

Item 13—Certain Relationships and Related Transactions, and Director Independence

     64   

Item 14—Principal Accountant Fees and Services

     64   

PART IV

     65   

Item 15—Exhibits and Financial Statement Schedules

     65   

SIGNATURES

     70   


Table of Contents

PART I

Item 1—Business

An Overview of Our Business

Nature of Our Business

We are a leader in debt management and recovery solutions for consumers and property owners across a broad range of financial assets. We purchase portfolios of defaulted consumer receivables at deep discounts to face value and use a variety of operational channels to maximize our collections from these portfolios. We manage our receivables by working with individuals as they repay their obligations and work toward financial recovery. Defaulted receivables are consumers’ unpaid financial commitments to credit originators, including banks, credit unions, consumer finance companies, commercial retailers, auto finance companies, and telecommunication companies. We also purchase receivables subject to Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy proceedings. In addition, through our subsidiary, Propel Financial Services, LLC (“Propel”), we assist property owners who are delinquent on their property taxes by structuring affordable monthly payment plans. For financial information regarding our segments and operations in geographic areas, see “Item 8, Financial Statements and Supplementary Data.”

Four competitive, strategic advantages underpin our success and drive our future growth:

 

   

The sophisticated and widespread use of analytics (Analytic Strength);

 

   

Broad investments in data and behavioral science (Consumer Intelligence);

 

   

Significant cost advantages based on our operations in India and Costa Rica, as well as our enterprise-wide, account-level cost database (Cost Leadership); and

 

   

A demonstrated commitment to conduct business ethically and in ways that support our consumers’ financial recovery (Principled Intent).

Although we have enabled over two million consumers to retire a portion of their outstanding debt since 2007, one of the debt collection industry’s most formidable challenges is that many distressed consumers will never make a payment, much less retire their total debt obligation. In fact, we generate payments from fewer than one percent of our accounts every month. To address these challenges, we evaluate portfolios of receivables that are available for purchase using robust, account-level valuation methods, and we employ proprietary statistical and behavioral models across the full extent of our operations. We believe these business practices contribute to our ability to value portfolios accurately, avoid buying portfolios that are incompatible with our methods or goals, and align the accounts we purchase with our operational channels to maximize future collections. We also have one of the industry’s largest distressed consumer databases. We believe that our specialized knowledge, along with our investments in data and analytic tools, have enabled us to realize significant returns from the receivables we have acquired. We maintain strong relationships with many of the largest credit and telecommunication providers in the United States, and believe that we possess one of the industry’s best collection staff retention rates.

While seasonality does not have a material impact on our business, collections are generally strongest in our first calendar quarter, slower in the second and third calendar quarters, and slowest in the fourth calendar quarter. Relatively higher collections in the first quarter could result in a lower cost-to-collect ratio compared to the fourth quarter, as our fixed costs would be constant and applied against a larger collection base. The seasonal impact on our business may be influenced by our purchasing levels, the types of portfolios we purchase, and our operating strategies.

We conduct business through two operating segments: portfolio purchasing and recovery, and tax lien transfer. Financial information regarding these segments is set forth in Note 16 “Segments” to our consolidated financial statements.

 

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We were incorporated in Delaware in 1999. Our headquarters is located at 3111 Camino Del Rio North, Suite 1300, San Diego, California 92108 and our telephone number is (877) 445-4581. Investors wishing to obtain more information about us may access the Investors section of our Internet site at http://www.encorecapital.com. The site provides access free of charge to relevant investor related information, such as Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) filings, press releases, featured articles, an event calendar, and frequently asked questions. SEC filings are available on our Internet site as soon as reasonably practicable after being filed with, or furnished to, the SEC. The content of the Internet site is not incorporated by reference into this Annual Report on Form 10-K. Any materials that we filed with the SEC may also be read and copied at the SEC’s Public Reference Room at 100 F Street, N.E., Washington, D.C. 20549. The public may obtain information on the operation of the Public Reference Room by calling the SEC at 1-800-SEC-0330. The SEC maintains an Internet site that contains reports, proxy and information statements, and other information regarding issuers that file electronically with the SEC (http://www.sec.gov).

Our Competitive Advantages

Analytic Strength. We believe that success in our business depends on the ability to establish and maintain an information advantage. Leveraging an industry-leading distressed consumer database, our in-house team of statisticians, business analysts, and software programmers have developed, and continually enhance, proprietary behavioral and valuation models, custom software applications, and other business tools that guide our portfolio purchases. Moreover, our collection channels are informed by powerful statistical models specific to each collection activity, and each year we deploy significant capital to purchase credit bureau and customized consumer data that describe demographic, account level, and macroeconomic factors related to credit, savings, and payment behavior.

Consumer Intelligence. At the core of our analytic approach is a focus on understanding, measuring, and predicting distressed consumer behavior. In this effort, we apply tools and methods from statistics, psychology, economics, and management science across the full extent of our business. During portfolio valuation, we use an internally developed and proprietary family of statistical models that determines the likelihood and expected amount of payment for each consumer within a portfolio. Subsequently, the expectations for each account are aggregated to arrive at a portfolio-level liquidation solution and a valuation for the entire portfolio is determined. During collections, we apply our “willingness-capability” framework, which allows us to match our collection approach to an individual consumer’s payment behavior.

Cost Leadership. Cost efficiency is central to our collection and purchasing strategies. We experience considerable cost advantages, stemming from our operations in India and Costa Rica, our enterprise-wide, activity-level cost database, and the development and implementation of operational models that enhance profitability. We believe that we are the only company in our industry with a successful, late-stage collection platform in India. This cost-saving, first-mover advantage helps to reduce our call center variable cost-to-collect.

Principled Intent. We strive to treat consumers with respect, compassion, and integrity. From discounts and payment plans to hardship solutions, we work with our consumers as they attempt to return to financial health. We are committed to dialogue that is honorable and constructive, and hope to play an important and positive role in our consumers’ lives.

Our Strategy

We have implemented a business strategy that emphasizes the following elements:

Extend our knowledge about distressed consumers. We believe our investments in data, analytic tools, and expertise related to both general and distressed consumers provide us with a competitive advantage. In addition to rigorous data collection practices that take advantage of our unique relationship with distressed consumers, our consumer intelligence program focuses on segmentation, marketing communications, and original research

 

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conducted in partnership with experts from both industry and academia. We believe this work will continue to bolster our operational success while fueling our efforts to understand the actions and motivations of our consumer base.

Realize the full strength of our international operations. We believe that our operations in India and Costa Rica will be critical for both our future collections strategy as well as our future growth. Our call centers have expanded over the past few years. Our attrition rate for experienced account managers in India is approximately 40% per year in an industry where 100% attrition is not uncommon. Moreover, we have expanded our talented work force in India beyond call center operations and are now developing software, managing portions of our IT infrastructure, handling complex analytics, supporting our bankruptcy servicing teams, and processing a large portion of our back-office needs. Our Costa Rica call center allows us to communicate more effectively with our Spanish speaking consumers. As portfolio prices fluctuate and the complexity of our industry continues to increase, we expect that our international operations will continue to provide a significant competitive advantage.

Safeguard and promote financial health and literacy. We believe that our interests, and those of the financial institutions from which we purchase portfolios, are closely aligned with the interests of government agencies seeking to protect consumer rights. Accordingly, we expect to continue investing in infrastructure and processes that support consumer advocacy and financial literacy, while promoting an appropriate balance between corporate and consumer responsibility.

Consider growth opportunities in adjacent businesses and new geographies. We may consider investments in or acquisitions of complementary companies in order to expand into new geographic markets or new types of defaulted consumer receivables, add capacity to our current business lines, or leverage our knowledge of the distressed consumer. We believe that our existing underwriting and collection processes can be extended to a variety of consumer receivables. These capabilities may allow us to develop and provide complementary products or services to specified distressed consumer segments.

Acquisition of Receivables

We provide sellers of delinquent receivables liquidity and immediate value through the purchase of charged-off consumer receivables. We believe that we are an appealing partner for these sellers given our financial strength, focus on principled intent, and track record of financial success.

Identify purchase opportunities. We maintain relationships with some of the largest credit originators and sellers of charged-off consumer receivables in the United States. We identify purchase opportunities and secure, where possible, exclusive negotiation rights. We believe that we are a valued partner for primary issuers and sellers from whom we purchase portfolios, and our ability to secure exclusive negotiation rights is typically a result of our strong relationships and our scale of purchasing. Receivable portfolios are sold either through a general auction, where the seller requests bids from market participants, or through an exclusive negotiation, where the seller and buyer negotiate the sale privately. The sale transaction can be either for a one-time spot purchase or for a “forward flow” contract. A “forward flow” contract is a commitment to purchase receivables over a duration that is typically three to twelve months with specifically defined volume, frequency, and pricing. Typically, these contracts have provisions that allow for early termination or price re-negotiation should the underlying quality of the portfolio deteriorate over time or if any particular month’s delivery is materially different than the original portfolio used to price the forward flow contract. We generally attempt to secure forward flow contracts for receivables because a consistent volume of receivables over a set duration can allow us more precision in forecasting and planning our operational needs.

Evaluate purchase opportunities using account level analytics. Once a portfolio of interest is identified, we obtain detailed information regarding the portfolio’s accounts, including certain information regarding the consumers themselves. We then purchase additional information for the consumers whose accounts we are contemplating purchasing, including credit, savings, or payment behavior. Our internal modeling team then

 

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analyzes this information to determine the expected value of each potential new consumer. Our collection expectations are based on these demographic data, account characteristics, and economic variables, which we use to predict a consumer’s willingness and ability to repay his or her debt. The expected value of collections for each account is aggregated to calculate an overall value for the portfolio. Additional adjustments are made to account for qualitative factors that may impact the payment behavior of our consumers (such as prior collection activities, or the underwriting approaches of the seller), and servicing related adjustments to ensure our valuations are aligned with our operations.

Formal approval process. Once we have determined the value of the portfolio and have completed our qualitative diligence, we present the purchase opportunity to our investment committee, which either sets the maximum purchase price for the portfolio based on corporate Internal Rate of Return (“IRR”) objectives or declines to bid. Members of the investment committee include our CEO, CFO, other members of our senior management team, and experts, as needed.

We believe long-term success is best pursued by combining a diverse sourcing approach with an account-level scoring methodology and a disciplined evaluation process.

Collection Approach

We expand and build upon the insight developed during our purchase process when developing our account collection strategies for portfolios we have acquired. Our proprietary consumer-level collectability analysis is the primary determinant of whether an account is actively serviced post-purchase. Generally, we pursue collection activities on only a fraction of the accounts we purchase, through one or more of our collection channels. The channel identification process is analogous to a decision tree where we first differentiate those consumers who we believe are unable to pay from those who we believe are able to pay. Consumers who we believe are financially incapable of making any payments, or are facing extenuating circumstances or hardships that would prevent them from making payments, are excluded from our collection process. It is our practice to assess each consumer’s willingness to pay through analytics, phone calls and/or letters. Despite our efforts to reach consumers and work out a settlement option, only a small number of consumers who we contact choose to engage with us. Those who do are often offered discounts on their obligations or are presented with payment plans that are intended to suit their needs. However, the majority of consumers we contact ignore our calls and our letters and we must then make the decision about whether to pursue collections through legal action. During 2012, we called approximately 13.2 million unique consumers, of which 3.1 million, or 23%, made contact with us. Similarly, during the same time period, we mailed 11.3 million consumers, of which 3.0% engaged with us. Throughout our ownership period, we periodically refine our collection approach to determine the most effective collection strategy to pursue for each account. These strategies consist of:

 

   

Inactive. We strive to use our financial resources judiciously and efficiently by not deploying resources on accounts where the prospects of collection are remote. For example, for accounts where we believe that the consumer is currently unemployed, overburdened by debt, incarcerated, or deceased, no collection method of any sort is assigned.

 

   

Direct Mail. We develop innovative, low-cost mail campaigns offering consumers appropriate discounts to encourage settlement of their accounts.

 

   

Call Centers. We maintain domestic collection call centers in San Diego, California, Phoenix, Arizona, and St. Cloud, Minnesota and international call centers in Gurgaon, India and San Jose, Costa Rica. Call centers generally consist of multiple collection departments. Account managers supervised by group managers are trained and divided into specialty teams. Account managers assess our consumers’ willingness and capacity to pay. They attempt to work with consumers to evaluate sources and means of repayment to achieve a full or negotiated lump sum settlement or develop payment programs customized to the individual’s ability to pay. In cases where a payment plan is developed, account managers encourage consumers to pay through automatic payment arrangements. During our new hire

 

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training period, we educate account managers to understand and apply applicable laws and policies that are relevant in the account manager’s daily collection activities. Our ongoing training and monitoring efforts help ensure compliance with applicable laws and policies by account managers.

 

   

Skip Tracing. If a consumer’s phone number proves inaccurate when an account manager calls an account, or if current contact information for a consumer is not available at the time of account purchase, then the account is automatically routed to our skip tracing process. We currently use a number of different skip tracing companies to provide phone numbers and addresses.

 

   

Legal Action. We generally refer accounts for legal action where the consumer has not responded to our direct mail efforts or our calls and it appears the consumer is able, but unwilling, to pay his or her obligations. When we decide to pursue legal action, we place the account into our internal legal channel or refer them to our network of retained law firms. If placed to our internal legal channel, management in that channel will evaluate the accounts and make the final determination whether to pursue legal action. If referred to our network of retained law firms, we rely on our law firms’ expertise with respect to applicable debt collection laws to evaluate the accounts placed in that channel in order to make the decision about whether or not to pursue collection litigation. Prior to engaging an external collection firm, we evaluate the firm’s operations, financial condition, and experience, among other key criteria. The law firms we have hired may also attempt to communicate with the consumers in an attempt to collect their debts prior to initiating litigation. We pay the law firms a contingency fee based on amounts they collect on our behalf.

 

   

Third Party Collection Agencies. We selectively employ a strategy that uses collection agencies. Collection agencies receive a contingency fee for each dollar collected. Generally, we use these agencies on accounts when we believe they can liquidate better or less expensively than we can or to supplement capacity in our internal call centers. We also use agencies to initially provide us a way to scale quickly when large purchases are made and as a challenge to our internal call center collection teams. Prior to engaging a collection agency, we evaluate, among other things, those aspects of the agency’s business that we believe are relevant to its performance and compliance with consumer credit laws and regulations.

 

   

Sale. We do not resell accounts to third parties in the ordinary course of our business. If we have an occasional instance when we do resell accounts, we only do so when we can provide the purchaser with documentation evidencing the amount owed on the account and clear title of ownership.

Tax Lien Transfer

We originate and service property tax lien transfers in Texas through our Propel subsidiary. With the property owner’s consent and participation, we pay the property owner’s delinquent property taxes directly to the taxing authority, which then transfers its tax lien to us. We work with the property owner to create an affordable payment plan. Tax lien transfers provide the local taxing authorities with much needed tax revenue and property owners with an alternative method to paying their property tax bills in one lump sum. Tax lien transfers typically carry a lower interest rate and fee structure than what the local taxing authority would charge. We offer competitive rates and flexible payment terms, and have the ability to fund the transaction with the property owner quickly, thus saving the property owner from incurring additional fees and interest levied by the local tax authority. Based in San Antonio, Texas, Propel is the largest tax lien transfer company in the state of Texas.

Enterprise Risk Management and Legal Oversight

Our compliance and legal oversight functions are divided between our legal and enterprise risk management departments. Our legal department manages regulatory oversight, litigation, corporate transactions, and compliance with our internal ethics policy, while our enterprise risk management department manages risk assessment, regulatory compliance, and internal audit.

 

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The legal department is responsible for interpreting and administering our Standards of Business Conduct (the “Standards”), which apply to all of our directors, officers, and employees and outlines our commitment to a culture of professionalism and ethical behavior. The Standards promote honest and ethical conduct, including the ethical handling of actual or apparent conflicts of interest between personal and professional relationships, compliance with applicable laws, rules and regulations, and full and fair disclosure in reports that we file with, or submit to, the SEC and in other public communications made by us. As described in the Standards, we have also established a toll-free Accounting and Fraud Hotline to allow directors, officers, and employees to report any detected or suspected fraud, misappropriations, or other fiscal irregularities, any good faith concern about our accounting and/or auditing practices, or any other violations of the Standards.

The enterprise risk management department is responsible for the development and administration of internal policies, procedures and controls which apply to all of our business units. The team manages and tests our Sarbanes Oxley 404 compliance. The team also performs periodic risk assessments and audits to evaluate the level of compliance to both regulations and standards of internal control for both internal operations and vendors/outsourcers.

Beyond written policies, one of our core internal goals is the adherence to principled intent as it pertains to all consumer interactions. We believe that it is in our shareholders’ and our employees’ best interest to treat all consumers with the highest standards of integrity. Specifically, we have strict policies and a code of ethics, which guide all dealings with our consumers. To reinforce existing written policies, we have established a number of quality assurance procedures. Through our Quality Assurance program, our Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”) training for new account managers, our FDCPA recertification program for continuing account managers, and our Consumer Support Services department, we take significant steps to ensure compliance with applicable laws and regulations and seek to promote consumer satisfaction. Our Quality Assurance team aims to enhance the skills of account managers and to drive compliance initiatives through active call monitoring, account manager coaching and mentoring, and the tracking and distribution of company-wide best practices. Finally, our Consumer Support Services department works directly with consumers to seek to resolve incoming consumer inquiries and to respond to consumer disputes as they may arise.

Information Technology

Technical Infrastructure. Our internal network has been configured to be redundant in all critical functions, at all sites. This backup system has been implemented within the local area network switches and the data center network, and includes our redundant Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) networks. We have the capability to handle high transaction volume in our server network architecture, which can be scaled seamlessly with our future growth plans.

Predictive Dialer Technology. Our upgraded predictive dialer technology continues to accommodate the ongoing expansion of our call centers. The technology allows additional call volume capacity and greater efficiency through shorter wait times and an increase in the number of live contacts. We believe this technology helps maximize account manager productivity and further optimizes the yield on our portfolio purchases. We also believe that the use of predictive dialing technology helps us to ensure compliance with certain applicable federal and state laws that restrict the time, place, and manner in which debt collectors can call consumers.

Computer Hardware. We use a robust computer platform to perform our daily operations, including the collection efforts of our global workforce. Because our custom software applications are integrated within our database server environment, we are able to process transaction loads with speed and efficiency. The computer platform offers us reliability and expansion opportunities. Furthermore, this hardware incorporates state of the art data security protection. We back up our data daily, and store copies at a secured off-site location. We also mirror our production data to a remote location to give us full protection in the event of the loss of our primary data center. To ensure the integrity and reliability of our computer platform we periodically engage outside auditors specializing in information technology and cybersecurity to examine both our operating systems and disaster recovery plans.

 

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Process Control. To ensure that our entire infrastructure continues to operate efficiently and securely we have developed a strong process and control environment. These controls govern all areas of the enterprise from physical security and virtual security, to change management, data protection and segregation of duties.

Ability to Attract and Retain Employees

Of crucial importance to our success is the recruitment and retention of our key employees, account managers, and executive management team. In addition to offering attractive compensation structures for account managers, we may offer employee programs that promote personal and professional goals, such as leadership and skills training, tuition assistance in support of continued education, and wellness initiatives. Our wellness initiatives earned us the distinction as San Diego’s Healthiest Company, Large Company category, in 2012, and in India, we were selected as one of “India’s Best Companies to Work For” by India’s Great Place to Work Institute. We believe that these tangible benefits, combined with intangible differentiators, such as a diverse employee base and the prospect of living and working in an extremely temperate climate where our Corporate Headquarters is located, all contribute to a sustainable competitive advantage with respect to recruitment and retention.

Competition

The consumer credit recovery industry is highly competitive and fragmented. We compete with a wide range of collection companies, financial services companies, and a number of well-funded entrants with limited experience in our industry. We also compete with traditional contingency collection agencies and in-house recovery departments. Competitive pressures affect the availability and pricing of receivable portfolios, as well as the availability and cost of qualified recovery personnel. In addition, some of our competitors may have signed forward flow contracts under which originating institutions have agreed to transfer charged-off receivables to them in the future, which could restrict those originating institutions from selling receivables to us. We believe some of our major competitors, which include companies that focus primarily on the purchase of charged-off receivable portfolios, have continued to diversify into third-party agency collections and into offering credit card and other financial services as part of their recovery strategy.

When purchasing receivables, we compete primarily on the basis of the price paid for receivable portfolios, the ease of negotiating and closing the prospective portfolio purchases with us, our ability to obtain funding and our reputation with respect to the quality of services that we provide. We believe that our ability to compete effectively in this market is also dependent upon, among other things, our relationships with originators and sellers of charged-off consumer receivables, and our ability to provide quality collection strategies in compliance with applicable collections laws.

The tax lien transfer industry is highly competitive and fragmented. We compete primarily on the basis of interest rate, the ease of negotiating and closing the tax lien transfers with the municipality and the consumer, and our reputation with respect to the quality of services that Propel provides. The industry has witnessed a downward trend in interest rates and fees as competition has increased.

Government Regulation

In a number of states and cities we must maintain licenses to perform debt recovery services and must satisfy related bonding requirements. It is our policy to comply with all material licensing and bonding requirements. Our failure to comply with existing licensing requirements, changing interpretations of existing requirements, or adoption of new licensing requirements, could restrict our ability to collect in regions, subject us to increased regulation, increase our costs, or adversely affect our ability to collect our receivables.

Federal, state and local statutes establish specific guidelines and procedures which debt collectors must follow when collecting consumer receivables. The FDCPA and comparable state and local laws establish specific

 

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guidelines and procedures which debt collectors must follow when communicating with consumers, including the time, place and manner of the communications. It is our policy to comply with the provisions of the FDCPA and comparable regulations in all of our recovery activities. Our failure to comply with these laws and regulations could have a material adverse effect on us if they apply to some or all of our recovery activities. Alongside the FDCPA, the federal laws that apply to our business (in addition to the regulations that relate to these laws) include the following:

 

•    Truth-In-Lending Act

 

•    Credit CARD Act

•    Fair Credit Billing Act

 

•    Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act

•    Equal Credit Opportunity Act

 

•    Servicemembers’ Civil Relief Act

•    Fair Credit Reporting Act

•    Electronic Funds Transfer Act

•    U.S. Bankruptcy Code

•    Telephone Consumer Protection Act

 

•    Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act

•    Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act

•    Wire Act

 
 
 

State laws, among other things, may also limit the interest rate and the fees that a credit originator may impose on our consumers, and limit the time in which we may file legal actions to enforce consumer accounts.

The relationship between a consumer and a credit card issuer is extensively regulated by federal and state consumer protection and related laws and regulations. While we do not issue credit cards, these laws affect some of our operations because the majority of our receivables originate through credit card transactions. The laws and regulations applicable to credit card issuers, among other things, impose disclosure requirements when a credit card account is advertised, when it is applied for and when it is opened, at the end of monthly billing cycles and at year-end. Federal law requires, among other things, that credit card issuers disclose to consumers the interest rates, fees, grace periods, and balance calculation methods associated with their credit card accounts. Some laws prohibit discriminatory practices in connection with the extension of credit. If the originating institution fails to comply with applicable statutes, rules, and regulations, it could create claims and rights for the consumers that would reduce or eliminate their obligations related to those receivables. When we acquire receivables, we generally require the originating institution to contractually indemnify us against losses caused by its failure to comply with applicable statutes, rules and regulations relating to the receivables before they are sold to us.

Federal statutes further provide that, in some cases, consumers cannot be held liable for, or their liability is limited with respect to, charges to their credit card accounts that resulted from unauthorized use of their credit cards. These laws, among others, may give consumers a legal cause of action against us, or may limit our ability to recover amounts owing with respect to the receivables, whether or not we committed any wrongful act or omission in connection with the account.

Federal and state laws concerning identity theft, privacy, data security, the use of automated dialing equipment and other laws related to consumers and consumer protection, as well as laws applicable to specific types of debt, impose requirements or restrictions on collection methods or our ability to enforce and recover certain of our receivables.

Effects of the law, including those described above and any new or changed laws, rules or regulations and even reinterpretation of the same, may adversely affect our ability to recover amounts owing with respect to our receivables.

Subject to the provisions of the Dodd-Frank Act, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”) has responsibility to implement, examine for compliance with, and enforce “federal consumer financial law.” Those laws include, among others, (1) Title X itself, which prohibits unfair, deceptive, or abusive acts and practices in connection with consumer financial products and services, and (2) “enumerated consumer laws” (and their implementing regulations), which include the FDCPA, the Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”), and others.

 

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The CFPB’s authorities include the ability to issue regulations under all significant federal statutes that impact the collection industry, including the FCRA, FDCPA, and others. This means, for example, that the CFPB has the ability to adopt rules that interpret any of the provisions of the FDCPA, potentially impacting all facets of debt collection, and our activities. In addition, the Dodd-Frank Act mandates the submission of multiple studies and reports to Congress, and CFPB staff is regularly making speeches on topics related to credit and debt. All of these activities could trigger additional legislative or regulatory action.

The Dodd-Frank Act also gave the CFPB supervisory and examination authority over a variety of institutions that may engage in debt collection. The purpose of supervision, including examination, is to assess compliance with federal consumer financial laws, obtain information about activities and compliance systems or procedures, and detect and assess risks to consumers and to markets for consumer financial products and services. On October 24, 2012, the CFPB issued a regulation in the market of consumer debt collection, which took effect January 2, 2013. Under the rule, firms that have more than $10 million in annual receipts from consumer debt collection activities, as defined in the rule, are subject to the CFPB’s supervision authority. This definition covers us and, accordingly, authorizes the CFPB to conduct examinations of our business practices.

In order to conduct the tax lien transfer business in the State of Texas, Propel must be licensed by the State of Texas Office of Consumer Credit Commissioners.

Employees

As of December 31, 2012, we had approximately 2,800 employees. None of our employees is represented by a labor union. We believe that our relations with our employees are good.

Item 1A—Risk Factors

There are risks and uncertainties in our business that could cause our actual results to differ materially from those anticipated. We urge you to read these risk factors carefully in connection with evaluating our business and in connection with the forward-looking statements and other information contained in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. Any of the risks described herein could materially affect our business, financial condition, or future results and the actual outcome of matters as to which forward-looking statements are made. The list of risks is not intended to be exhaustive, and the order in which the risks appear is not intended as an indication of their relative weight or importance. Additional risks and uncertainties not currently known to us, or that we currently deem to be immaterial, also may materially adversely affect our business, financial condition and/or future results.

Risk Related to Our Business and Industry

Financial and economic conditions affect the ability of consumers to pay their obligations, which could harm our financial results.

Economic conditions globally and locally directly affect unemployment, credit availability, and real estate values. Adverse conditions, economic changes and financial disruptions place financial pressure on the consumer, which may reduce our ability to collect on our consumer receivable portfolios and may adversely affect the value of our consumer receivable portfolios. Further, increased financial pressures on the distressed consumer may result in additional regulatory requirements or restrictions on our operations and increased litigation filed against us. These conditions could increase our costs and harm our business, financial condition, and results of operations.

Our operating results may be impacted by factors that could cause them to fluctuate significantly in the future.

Our operating results will likely vary in the future due to a variety of factors that could affect our revenues and operating expenses. We expect that our operating expenses as a percentage of collections will fluctuate in the future as we expand into new markets, increase our business development efforts, hire additional personnel, and

 

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incur increased insurance and regulatory compliance costs. In addition, our operating results have fluctuated and may continue to fluctuate as a result of the factors described below and elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2012:

 

   

the timing and amount of collections on our receivable portfolios, including the effects of seasonality and economic conditions;

 

   

any charge to earnings resulting from an allowance against the carrying value of our receivable portfolios;

 

   

increases in operating expenses associated with the growth or change of our operations;

 

   

the cost of credit to finance our purchases of receivable portfolios; and

 

   

the timing and terms of our purchases of receivable portfolios.

Due, in part, to fluctuating prices for receivable portfolios, there has been considerable variation in our purchasing volume from quarter to quarter and we expect that to continue. The volume of our portfolio purchases will be limited when prices are high, and may or may not increase when portfolio pricing is more favorable to us. We believe our ability to collect on receivable portfolios may be negatively impacted because of current economic conditions, and this may require us to increase our projected return hurdles in calculating prices we are willing to pay for individual portfolios. An increase in portfolio return hurdles may decrease the volume of portfolios we are successful in purchasing. Because we recognize revenue on the basis of projected collections on purchased portfolios, we may experience variations in quarterly revenue and earnings due to the timing of portfolio purchases.

We may not be able to purchase receivables at favorable prices, which could limit our growth or profitability.

Our ability to continue to operate profitably depends upon the continued availability of receivable portfolios that meet our purchasing standards and are cost-effective based upon projected collections exceeding our costs. Our profitability also depends on our actual collections on accounts meeting or exceeding our projected collections. We do not know how long portfolios will be available for purchase on terms acceptable to us, or at all.

The availability of receivable portfolios at favorable prices depends on a number of factors, including:

 

   

defaults in consumer debt;

 

   

continued sale of receivable portfolios by originating institutions and portfolio resellers at sufficient volumes and acceptable price levels;

 

   

competition in the marketplace;

 

   

our ability to develop and maintain long-term relationships with key major credit originators and portfolio resellers;

 

   

our ability to obtain adequate data from credit originators or portfolio resellers to appropriately evaluate the collectability of, and estimate the value of, portfolios;

 

   

changes in laws and regulations governing consumer lending, bankruptcy, and collections.

In addition, because of the length of time involved in collecting charged-off consumer receivables on acquired portfolios and the volatility in the timing of our collections, we may not be able to identify trends and make changes in our purchasing strategies in a timely manner. Ultimately, if we are unable to continually purchase and collect on a sufficient volume of receivables to generate cash collections that exceed our costs, our business will be materially and adversely affected.

 

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We may experience losses on portfolios consisting of new types of receivables due to our lack of collection experience with these receivables, which could harm our results of operations.

We continually look for opportunities to expand the classes of assets that make up the portfolios we acquire. Therefore, we may acquire portfolios consisting of assets with which we have little or no collection experience. Our lack of experience with new types of receivables may cause us to pay too much for these receivable portfolios, which may substantially hinder our ability to generate profits from such portfolios. Further, our existing methods of collections may prove ineffective for such new receivables, and we may not be able to collect on these portfolios. Our inexperience may have a material adverse effect on our results of operations.

We may purchase receivable portfolios that are unprofitable or we may not be able to collect sufficient amounts to recover our costs and to fund our operations.

We acquire and service charged-off receivables that the obligors have failed to pay and the sellers have deemed uncollectible and have written off. The originating institutions generally make numerous attempts to recover on these nonperforming receivables, often using a combination of their in-house collection and legal departments, as well as third-party collection agencies. In order to operate profitably over the long term, we must continually purchase and collect on a sufficient volume of charged-off receivables to generate revenue that exceeds our costs. These receivables are difficult to collect, and we may not be successful in collecting amounts sufficient to cover the costs associated with purchasing the receivables and funding our operations. If we are not able to collect on these receivables or collect sufficient amounts to cover our costs, this may materially and adversely affect our results of operations.

Sellers may deliver portfolios that contain accounts which do not meet our account collection criteria and cannot be returned, which could have an adverse effect on our cash flows and our operations.

In the normal course of portfolio acquisitions, some accounts may be included in the portfolios that fail to conform to the terms of the purchase agreements and we may seek to return these accounts to the sellers for refund. However, sellers may not be able to meet their contractual obligations to us. Accounts that we are unable to return to sellers may yield no return. If sellers deliver portfolios containing too many accounts that do not conform to the terms of the purchase agreements, we may be unable to collect a sufficient amount and the portfolio purchase could be unprofitable, which would have an adverse effect on our cash flows and our operations. If cash flows from operations are less than anticipated, our ability to satisfy our debt obligations and purchase new portfolios, may be materially and adversely affected. If we are not able to satisfy our debt obligations and purchase new portfolios, our results of operations may be materially and adversely affected.

A significant portion of our portfolio purchases during any period may be concentrated with a small number of sellers, which could adversely affect our volume and timing of purchases.

A significant percentage of our portfolio purchases for any given fiscal year may be concentrated with a few large sellers, some of which may also involve forward flow arrangements. We cannot be certain that any of our significant sellers will continue to sell charged-off receivables to us on terms or in quantities acceptable to us, or that we would be able to replace such purchases with purchases from other sellers.

A significant decrease in the volume of purchases available from any of our principle sellers on terms acceptable to us would force us to seek alternative sources of charged-off receivables. We may be unable to find alternative sources from which to purchase charged-off receivables, and even if we could successfully replace such purchases, the search could take time, the receivables could be of lower quality, cost more, or both, any of which could materially and adversely affect our financial performance.

 

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The statistical models we use to project remaining cash flows from our receivable portfolios may prove to be inaccurate and, if so, our financial results may be adversely impacted.

We use our internally developed Unified Collection Score, or UCS model, and Behavioral Liquidation Score, or BLS model, to project the remaining cash flows from our receivable portfolios. Our UCS and BLS models consider known data about our consumers’ accounts, including, among other things, our collection experience and changes in external consumer factors, in addition to all data known when we acquired the accounts. However, we may not be able to achieve the collections forecasted by our UCS and BLS models. If we are not able to achieve these levels of forecasted collection, our revenues will be reduced or we may be required to record an allowance charge, which may materially and adversely impact our cash flows and results of operations.

We may incur allowance charges based on the authoritative guidance for loans and debt securities acquired with deteriorated credit quality.

We account for our portfolio revenue in accordance with the authoritative guidance for loans and debt securities acquired with deteriorated credit quality. The authoritative guidance limits the revenue that may be accrued to the excess of the estimate of expected future cash flows, over a portfolio’s initial cost and requires that the excess of the contractual cash flows over the expected cash flows not be recognized as an adjustment of revenue, expense, or on the balance sheet. The authoritative guidance also freezes the IRR originally estimated when the receivable portfolios are purchased and, rather than lower the estimated IRR if the expected future cash flow estimates are decreased, the carrying value of our receivable portfolios would be written down to maintain the then-current IRR. Increases in expected future cash flows would be recognized prospectively through an upward adjustment of the IRR over a portfolio’s remaining life. Any increased yield then becomes the new benchmark for allowance testing. Since the authoritative guidance does not permit yields to be lowered, there is an increased probability of us having to incur allowance charges in the future, which would negatively impact our results of operations.

If our goodwill or amortizable intangible assets become impaired we may be required to record a significant charge to earnings.

We carry approximately $55.4 million in goodwill and approximately $0.5 million in amortizable intangible assets on our balance sheet as of December 31, 2012. Under authoritative guidance, we review our goodwill for potential impairment at least annually, and review our amortizable intangible assets for impairment whenever events or changes in circumstances indicate that the carrying value may not be recoverable. Factors that may indicate that the carrying value of our goodwill or amortizable intangible assets may not be recoverable include adverse changes in estimated future cash flows, growth rates and discount rates. We may be required to record a significant charge in our financial statements during the period in which any impairment of our goodwill or amortizable intangible assets is determined, which could negatively impact our results of operations.

Our business is subject to extensive legislative action and regulatory oversight, which has increased and may continue to increase.

Laws relating to debt collection directly apply to key portions of our business. Our failure or the failure of third party agencies and attorneys, or the originators of our receivables, to comply with existing or new laws, rules, or regulations could limit our ability to recover on receivables or cause us to pay damages to the consumers, which could reduce our revenues, or increase our expenses, and harm our business.

We sometimes purchase accounts in asset classes that are subject to industry-specific restrictions that limit the collection methods that we can use on those accounts. Our inability to collect sufficient amounts from these accounts, through available collections methods, could materially and adversely affect our cash flows and results of operations.

 

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In response to the global economic downturn, or otherwise, additional consumer protection or privacy laws, rules and regulations may be enacted, or existing laws, rules or regulations may be reinterpreted, imposing additional restrictions or requirements on the collection of receivables or the facilitation of tax lien transfers. Such laws, rules and regulations and the enforcement of them or increased enforcement of existing consumer protection or privacy laws, rules and regulations may materially and adversely affect our ability to collect on our receivables, which could materially and adversely affect our business, our cash flows and results of operations.

The implementation of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act will subject us to substantial additional federal regulation, and we cannot predict the effect of such regulation on our business, results of operations, cash flows, or financial condition.

Federal and state consumer protection, privacy and related laws and regulations extensively regulate the relationship between debt collectors and consumers. In addition, federal and state laws may limit our ability to purchase or recover on our consumer receivables regardless of any act or omission on our part. On July 21, 2010, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (the “Dodd-Frank Act”) was enacted. Title X of the Dodd-Frank Act established the CFPB. Pursuant to the Dodd-Frank Act, the CFPB has rulemaking, supervisory, enforcement, and other authorities relating to consumer financial products and services, including debt collection. We generally are subject to the CFPB’s supervisory and enforcement authority.

Given the uncertainty associated with how provisions of the Dodd-Frank Act will be implemented and enforced by the various regulatory agencies, the full extent of the impact that such requirements will have on us is unclear. Changes resulting from the Dodd-Frank Act may impact the profitability of business activities, require changes to certain business practices, or otherwise adversely affect our business. In particular, we expect an increase in the cost of operating due to greater regulatory oversight, supervision, and compliance with consumer debt servicing and collection practices.

Subject to the provisions of the Dodd-Frank Act, the CFPB has responsibility to implement, examine for compliance with, and enforce “federal consumer financial law.” Those laws include, among others, (1) Title X itself, which prohibits unfair, deceptive, or abusive acts and practices in connection with consumer financial products and services, and (2) “enumerated consumer laws” (and their implementing regulations), which include the FDCPA, the FCRA, and others.

The CFPB’s authorities include the ability to issue regulations under all significant federal statutes that impact the collection industry, including the FCRA, FDCPA, and others. This means, for example, that the CFPB has the ability to adopt rules that interpret any of the provisions of the FDCPA, potentially impacting all facets of debt collection, and our activities. In addition, the Dodd-Frank Act mandates the submission of multiple studies and reports to Congress, and CFPB staff is regularly making speeches on topics related to credit and debt. All of these activities could trigger additional legislative or regulatory action.

The Dodd-Frank Act also gave the CFPB supervisory and examination authority over a variety of institutions that may engage in debt collection. The purpose of supervision, including examination, is to assess compliance with federal consumer financial laws, obtain information about activities and compliance systems or procedures, and detect and assess risks to consumers and to markets for consumer financial products and services. On October 24, 2012, the CFPB issued a consumer debt collection regulation which took effect January 2, 2013. Under the rule, firms that have more than $10 million in annual receipts from consumer debt collection activities, as defined in the rule, are subject to the CFPB’s supervision authority. This definition covers us and, accordingly, authorizes the CFPB to conduct examinations of our business practices.

The prospect of supervision has increased the potential consequences of noncompliance with federal consumer financial law. The CFPB can also conduct investigations, either unilaterally or jointly with other state and federal regulators, to determine if federal consumer financial law has been violated. The failure to comply with applicable laws could result in supervisory measures or enforcement actions seeking consumer redress, fines, penalties, short or long term suspensions or place limits on our activities.

 

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We expect that we will be required to invest significant management attention and resources to continue to evaluate, develop, and make any changes to our policies and procedures necessary to comply with new statutory and regulatory requirements under the Dodd-Frank Act or other applicable laws, which may negatively impact our results of operations, cash flows, and our financial condition. However, we cannot predict the scope and substance of the regulations, guidance, and policies ultimately adopted by the CFPB related to our activities. The CFPB continues to initiate rulemakings, issue regulatory guidance and bulletins, and to exercise its supervisory and enforcement authority. It is therefore unclear at this time what affect such regulations will have on financial markets generally, on original creditors, or our business and service providers specifically; the additional costs associated with compliance with such regulations; or what changes, if any, to our operations may be necessary to comply with the CFPB’s expectations or the Dodd-Frank Act. Any of these factors could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, cash flows, or financial condition.

Our results of operations and cash flows may be materially and adversely affected if bankruptcy filings increase or if bankruptcy or other debt collection laws change.

Our business model may be uniquely vulnerable to an economic recession, which typically results in an increase in the amount of defaulted consumer receivables, thereby contributing to an increase in the amount of personal bankruptcy filings. Under certain bankruptcy filings, a consumer’s assets are sold to repay credit originators, with priority given to holders of secured debt. Since the defaulted consumer receivables we purchase are generally unsecured, we often are not able to collect on those receivables. In addition, since we purchase receivables that may have been delinquent for a long period of time, this may be an indication that many of the consumers from whom we collect will be unable to pay their debts going forward and are more likely to file for bankruptcy in an economic recession. We cannot be certain that our collection experience would not decline with an increase in bankruptcy filings. If our actual collection experience with respect to a defaulted consumer receivable portfolio is significantly lower than we projected when we purchased the portfolio, our results of operations and cash flows could be materially and adversely affected.

Failure to comply with government regulation could result in the suspension or termination of our ability to conduct business, may require the payment of significant fines and penalties, or require other significant expenditures.

The collections industry is heavily regulated under various federal, state, and local laws, rules, and regulations. Many states and several cities require that we be licensed as a debt collection company. The CFPB, Federal Trade Commission, state Attorneys General and other regulatory bodies have the authority to investigate a variety of matters, including consumer complaints against debt collection companies, and can bring enforcement actions and seek monetary penalties. If we, or our third party collection agencies or law firms fail to comply with applicable laws, rules, and regulations, including, but not limited to, identity theft, privacy, data security, the use of automated dialing equipment, laws related to consumer protection, debt collection, and laws applicable to specific types of debt, it could result in the suspension or termination of our ability to conduct collection operations, which would materially adversely affect us. Further, our ability to collect our receivables may be impacted by state laws, which require that certain types of account documentation be in our possession prior to the institution of any collection activities. In addition, new federal, state or local laws or regulations, or changes in the ways these rules or laws are interpreted or enforced, could limit our activities in the future and/or significantly increase the cost of regulatory compliance.

We are dependent upon third parties to service a substantial portion of our consumer receivable portfolios.

We use outside collection services to collect a substantial portion of our charged-off receivables. We are dependent upon the efforts of third-party collection agencies and attorneys to service and collect our charged-off receivables. Any failure by our third-party collection agencies and attorneys to perform collection services for us adequately or remit such collections to us could materially reduce our revenue and our profitability. In addition, if one or more of those third-party collection agencies or attorneys were to cease operations abruptly, or to

 

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become insolvent, such cessation or insolvency could materially reduce our revenue and profitability. Our revenue and profitability could also be materially adversely affected if we were not able to secure replacement third party collection agencies or attorneys or promptly transfer account information to our new third party collection agencies, attorneys or in-house in the event our agreements with our third-party collection agencies and attorneys were terminated. Our revenue and profitability could also be materially and adversely affected if our third-party collection agencies or attorneys fail to perform their obligations adequately, or if our relationships with such third-party collection agencies and attorneys otherwise change adversely.

Increases in costs associated with our collections through collection litigation can materially raise our costs associated with our collection strategies and the individual lawsuits brought against consumers to collect on judgments in our favor.

We hire in-house counsel and contract with a nationwide network of attorneys that specialize in collection matters. In connection with collection litigation, we advance certain out-of-pocket court costs. Amounts we believe we will recover from our consumers, in addition to the amounts owed on our consumers’ accounts that we expect to collect, are classified as deferred court costs. These court costs may be difficult or impossible to collect, and we may not be successful in collecting amounts sufficient to cover the amounts deferred in our financial statements. If we are not able to recover these court costs, our results of operations and cash flows may be materially and adversely affected.

Further, we have substantial collection activity through our legal channel and as a consequence, increases in deferred court costs, increases in costs related to counterclaims and an increase in other court costs, may increase our costs in collecting on these accounts, which may have a material and adverse effect on our results of operations and cash flows.

Our network of third party agencies and attorneys may not utilize amounts collected on our behalf or amounts we advance for court costs in the manner for which they were intended.

In the normal course of operations our third party collection agencies and attorneys collect funds on our behalf. These third parties may fail to remit amounts owed to us in a timely manner or at all. Additionally, we advance court costs to our third party attorneys which are intended for their use in filing lawsuits on our behalf. These third party attorneys may misuse some or all of the funds we advance to them. Our ability to recoup our funds may be diminished if these third parties become insolvent or enter into bankruptcy proceedings. If we are not able to recover such funds, our results of operations and cash flows may be materially and adversely affected.

A significant portion of our collections relies upon our success in individual lawsuits brought against consumers and our ability to collect on judgments in our favor.

We generate a significant portion of our revenue by collecting on judgments that are granted by courts in lawsuits filed against consumers. A decrease in the willingness of courts to grant such judgments, a change in the requirements for filing such cases or obtaining such judgments, or a decrease in our ability to collect on such judgments could have a material and adverse effect on our results of operations. As we increase our use of the legal channel for collections, our short-term margins may decrease as a result of an increase in upfront court costs and costs related to counter claims. We may not be able to collect on certain aged accounts because of applicable statutes of limitations and we may be subject to adverse effects of regulatory changes. Further, courts in certain jurisdictions require that a copy of the account statements or applications be attached to the pleadings in order to obtain a judgment against consumers. If we are unable to produce those account documents, these courts could deny our claims, and our results of operations and cash flows may be materially and adversely affected.

 

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We are subject to ongoing risks of litigation, including individual and class action lawsuits, under consumer credit, consumer protection, theft, privacy, collections, and other laws, and may be subject to awards of substantial damages.

We operate in an extremely litigious climate and currently are, and may in the future be, named as defendants in litigation, including individual and class action lawsuits under consumer credit, consumer protection, theft, privacy, data security, automated dialing equipment, debt collections and other laws. Many of these cases present novel issues on which there is no clear legal precedent, which increases the difficulty in predicting both the potential outcomes and costs of defending these cases. We are subject to ongoing risks of regulatory investigations, inquiries, litigation, and other actions by the CFPB, Federal Trade Commission, state Attorneys General or other governmental bodies relating to our activities. Such litigation and regulatory actions involve potential compensatory or punitive damage claims, fines, sanctions, or injunctive relief that, if granted, could require us to pay damages or make other expenditures in amounts that could have a material and adverse effect on our financial position or otherwise negatively impact results of operations. We have recorded loss contingencies in our financial statements only for matters on which losses are probable and can be reasonably estimated. Our assessments of these matters involve significant judgments, and may change from time to time. Actual losses incurred by us in connection with judgments or settlements of these matters may be more than our associated reserves. Furthermore, defending lawsuits and responding to governmental inquiries or investigations, regardless of their merit, could be costly and divert management’s attention from the operation of our business. All of these factors could have a material and adverse effect on our business, cash flows, financial condition, and results of operations.

Negative publicity associated with litigation, governmental investigations, regulatory actions, and other public statements could damage our reputation.

From time to time there are negative news stories about our industry or company, especially with respect to alleged conduct in collecting debt from consumers. Such stories may follow the announcements of litigation or regulatory actions involving us or others in our industry. Negative publicity about our alleged or actual debt collection practices or about the debt collection industry in general could adversely impact our stock price, our position in the marketplace in which we compete, and our ability to purchase charged-off receivable.

We may make acquisitions that prove unsuccessful or our time spent on mergers and acquisitions activities may strain or divert our resources.

From time to time, we may make acquisitions of other companies that could complement our business, including the acquisition of entities in diverse geographic regions and entities offering greater access to businesses and markets that we do not currently serve. We may not be able to successfully acquire other businesses or, if we do, the acquisition may be unprofitable. If we do acquire one or more businesses, we may not successfully operate the businesses acquired, or may not successfully integrate such businesses with our own, which may result in our inability to maintain our goals, objectives, standards, controls, policies, culture, or profitability. Through acquisitions, we may enter markets in which we have limited or no experience. Any acquisition may result in a potentially dilutive issuance of equity securities, and the incurrence of additional debt which could reduce our profitability. In addition, our time spent on mergers and acquisitions activities may place additional constraints on our resources and divert the attention of our management from other business concerns, which may materially and adversely affect our operations and financial condition.

We are dependent on our management team for the adoption and implementation of our strategies and the loss of its services could have a material and adverse effect on our business.

Our management team has considerable experience in finance, banking, consumer collections, and other industries. We believe that the expertise of our executives obtained by managing businesses across numerous other industries has been critical to the enhancement of our operations. Our management team has created a

 

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culture of new ideas and progressive thinking, coupled with increased use of technology and statistical analysis. The loss of the services of one or more of our key executive officers could disrupt our operations and seriously impair our ability to continue to acquire or collect on portfolios of charged-off receivables and to manage and expand our business. Our success depends on the continued service and performance of our management team, and we may not be able to retain such individuals.

Regulatory, political, and economic conditions in India expose us to risk, including loss of business.

A significant element of our business strategy is to continue to develop and expand offshore operations in India. While wage costs in India are significantly lower than in the U.S. and other industrialized countries for comparably skilled workers, wages in India are increasing at a faster rate than in the U.S., and we experience higher employee turnover in our operations in India than is typical in our U.S. locations. The continuation of these trends could result in the loss of the cost savings we sought to achieve by establishing a portion of our collection operations in India. In the past, India has experienced significant inflation and shortages of readily available foreign currency for exchange and has been subject to civil unrest. We may be adversely affected by changes in inflation, exchange rate fluctuations, interest rates, tax provisions, social stability or other political, economic or diplomatic developments in or affecting India in the future. In addition, the infrastructure of the economy in India is relatively poor. Further, the Indian government is significantly involved in and exerts considerable influence over its economy through its complicated tax code and pervasive bureaucracy. In the recent past, the Indian government has provided significant tax incentives and relaxed certain regulatory restrictions in order to encourage foreign investment in certain sectors of the economy, including the technology industry. Changes in the business or regulatory climate of India could have a material and adverse effect on our business, results of operations, and financial condition.

We may not be able to manage our growth effectively, including the expansion of our foreign operations in India and Costa Rica.

We have expanded significantly in recent years. However, future growth will place additional demands on our resources, and we cannot be sure that we will be able to manage our growth effectively. Continued growth could place a strain on our management, operations, and financial resources. Our infrastructure, facilities, and personnel may not be adequate to support our future operations or to effectively adapt to future growth. To support our growth and improve our operations, we continue to make investments in infrastructure, facilities, and personnel in our operations in the U.S., India and Costa Rica; however, these additional investments may not be successful or our investments may not produce profitable results. If we cannot manage our growth effectively, our results of operations may be materially and adversely affected.

If our technology and telecommunications systems were to fail, or if we are not able to successfully anticipate, invest in, or adopt technological advances within our industry, it could have a material and adverse effect on our operations.

Our success depends in large part on sophisticated computer and telecommunications systems. The temporary or permanent loss of our computer and telecommunications equipment and software systems, through casualty, operating malfunction, software virus, or service provider failure, could disrupt our operations. In the normal course of our business, we must record and process significant amounts of data quickly and accurately to properly bid on prospective acquisitions of receivable portfolios and to access, maintain, and expand the databases we use for our collection activities. Any simultaneous failure of our information systems and their backup systems would interrupt our business operations.

In addition, our business relies on computer and telecommunications technologies, and our ability to integrate new technologies into our business is essential to our competitive position and our success. We may not be successful in anticipating, investing in, or adopting technological changes in a timely basis. Computer and telecommunications technologies are evolving rapidly and are characterized by short product life cycles.

 

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We continue to make significant modifications to our information systems to ensure that they continue to meet our current and foreseeable demands and continued expansion, and our future growth may require additional investment in these systems. These system modifications may exceed our cost or time estimates for completion or may be unsuccessful. If we cannot update our information systems effectively, our results of operations may be materially and adversely affected.

In the event of a security breach, our business and operations could suffer.

We rely on information technology networks and systems to process and store electronic information. We collect and store sensitive data, including personally identifiable information of our consumers, on our information technology networks. Despite the implementation of security measures, our information technology networks and systems may be vulnerable to disruptions and shutdowns due to attacks by hackers or breaches due to malfeasance by contractors, employees and others who have access to our networks and systems. The occurrence of any of these events could compromise our networks and the information stored on our networks could be accessed. Any such access could result in legal claims, liability or regulatory penalties under laws protecting the privacy of personal information or disrupt our operations.

We may not be able to adequately protect the intellectual property rights upon which we rely and, as a result, any lack of protection may materially diminish our competitive advantage.

We rely on proprietary software programs and valuation and collection processes and techniques, and we believe that these assets provide us with a competitive advantage. We consider our proprietary software, processes, and techniques to be trade secrets, but they are not protected by patent or registered copyright. We may not be able to protect our technology and data resources adequately, which may materially diminish our competitive advantage.

Risk Related to Our Convertible Notes

Our $115.0 million in aggregate principal amount of 3.0% convertible senior notes due November 27, 2017 (collectively, the “Convertible Notes”) are effectively subordinated to our secured indebtedness and any liabilities of our subsidiaries.

The Convertible Notes rank senior in right of payment to our future indebtedness that is expressly subordinated in right of payment to the Convertible Notes; equal in right of payment to our existing and future liabilities that are not so subordinated; effectively junior in right of payment to any of our secured indebtedness to the extent of the value of the assets securing such indebtedness; and structurally junior to all existing and future liabilities of our subsidiaries. In the event of our bankruptcy, liquidation, reorganization, or other winding up, our assets that secure indebtedness ranking senior in right of payment to our Convertible Notes will be available to pay obligations on our Convertible Notes only after the secured indebtedness has been repaid in full from these assets. There may not be sufficient assets remaining to pay amounts due on any or all of our Convertible Notes then outstanding. The indenture governing our Convertible Notes does not prohibit us from incurring additional senior indebtedness or secured indebtedness, nor does it prohibit any of our subsidiaries from incurring additional liabilities.

Our operations are conducted through, and substantially all of our consolidated assets are held by, our subsidiaries, and accordingly, we must rely on our subsidiaries to provide us with cash in order to pay amounts due on our Convertible Notes.

Our Convertible Notes are our obligations exclusively. Our Convertible Notes are not guaranteed by any of our subsidiaries. Our operations are conducted through, and substantially all of our consolidated assets are held by, our subsidiaries. Accordingly, our ability to service our indebtedness, including our Convertible Notes, depends on the results of operations of our subsidiaries and upon the ability of such subsidiaries to provide us with cash, whether in the form of dividends, loans or otherwise, to pay amounts due on our obligations, including

 

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our Convertible Notes. Our subsidiaries are separate and distinct legal entities, and our subsidiaries have no obligation, contingent or otherwise, to make payments on our Convertible Notes or to make any funds available for that purpose. In addition, dividends, loans, or other distributions to us from such subsidiaries may be subject to contractual and other restrictions and are subject to other business considerations.

Servicing our indebtedness requires a significant amount of cash, and we may not have sufficient cash flow from our business to pay our substantial indebtedness.

Our ability to make scheduled payments of the principal of, to pay interest on or to refinance our indebtedness, including our Convertible Notes, or to make cash payments in connection with any conversion of our Convertible Notes depends on our future performance, which is subject to economic, financial, competitive, and other factors beyond our control. Our business may not continue to generate cash flow from operations in the future sufficient to service our indebtedness and make necessary capital expenditures. If we are unable to generate such cash flow, we may be required to adopt one or more alternatives, such as selling assets, restructuring indebtedness, or obtaining additional equity capital on terms that may be onerous or highly dilutive. Our ability to refinance our indebtedness will depend on the capital markets and our financial condition at such time. We may not be able to engage in any of these activities or engage in these activities on desirable terms, which could result in a default on our debt obligations.

Recent regulatory actions may adversely affect the trading price and liquidity of our Convertible Notes.

We expect that many investors in, and potential purchasers of, our Convertible Notes will employ, or seek to employ, a convertible arbitrage strategy either by selling short our common stock underlying our Convertible Notes and dynamically adjusting their short position while holding our Convertible Notes, or by entering into swaps on our common stock in lieu of or in addition to short selling our common stock. Accordingly, any rules regulating short selling of securities or equity swaps or other governmental action that interferes with the ability of market participants to establish and maintain a convertible arbitrage strategy with respect to our Convertible Notes could adversely affect the trading price and liquidity of our Convertible Notes. The SEC and other authorities have implemented rules and may adopt additional rules that may impact those engaging in short selling activity involving equity securities. In particular, Rule 201 of SEC Regulation SHO generally restricts short selling when the price of a “covered security” (including our common stock) triggers a “circuit breaker” by falling 10% or more from the security’s closing price as of the end of regular trading hours on the prior day. If this circuit breaker is triggered, short sale orders can be displayed or executed only if the order price is above the current national best bid, subject to certain limited exceptions. Additionally, the SEC approved a pilot program (which was extended and expired on February 4, 2013) allowing securities exchanges and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc., or “FINRA”, with respect to securities included in the S&P 500 Index, Russell 1000 Index and over 300 exchange traded funds, to halt trading in the securities if the price of any such security moves 10% or more from a sale price in a five-minute period; or with respect to National Market System stocks, to halt trading in the event of any price movement of 30% or more or 50% or more depending upon the trading price of the stock in a five-minute period. The pilot program excludes all rights and warrants from the trading halt. The SEC has also approved two proposals submitted by FINRA and the exchanges to establish a “Limit Up-Limit Down” plan. The proposal, which went into effect on February 4, 2013, establishes procedures, including trading pauses, to prevent trading in particular stocks outside of specified price bands during trading hours.

The enactment of the Dodd-Frank Act also introduced regulatory uncertainty that may impact trading activities relevant to our Convertible Notes. This new legislation, when fully implemented through regulatory rulemaking, will require many over-the-counter swaps and security-based swaps to be centrally cleared through regulated clearinghouses and traded on exchanges or comparable trading facilities. In addition, swap dealers, security-based swap dealers, major swap participants and major security-based swap participants will be required to register with the SEC or the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and comply with margin and capital requirements, as well as public reporting requirements.

 

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Although the direction and magnitude of the effect that the amendments to Regulation SHO, FINRA , and exchange rule changes and implementation of the Dodd-Frank Act may have on the trading price and the liquidity of our Convertible Notes will depend on a variety of factors, many of which cannot be determined at this time, past regulatory actions (such as the emergency orders issued by the SEC in 2008 prohibiting short sales of stock of certain financial services companies) have had a significant impact on the trading prices and liquidity of convertible debt instruments. Any governmental action that similarly restricts the ability of investors in, or potential purchasers of, our Convertible Notes to establish and maintain a convertible arbitrage strategy with respect to our Convertible Notes (including any increasing costs incurred by investors in implementing such strategy) could adversely affect the trading price and the liquidity of our Convertible Notes.

Future sales of our common stock in the public market could lower the market price for our common stock and adversely impact the trading price of our Convertible Notes.

In the future, we may sell additional shares of our common stock to raise capital. In addition, a substantial number of shares of our common stock is reserved for issuance upon the exercise of stock options and upon conversion of our Convertible Notes. We cannot predict the size of future issuances or the effect, if any, that they may have on the market price for our common stock. The issuance and sale of substantial amounts of common stock, or the perception that such issuances and sales may occur, could adversely affect the trading price of our Convertible Notes and the market price of our common stock and impair our ability to raise capital through the sale of additional equity securities.

Our common stock price may be subject to significant fluctuations and volatility, which could adversely impact the trading price of our Convertible Notes and our shares issuable upon conversion.

The market price of our common stock has been subject to significant fluctuations. Since the beginning of fiscal year 2012, our closing stock price has ranged from a low of $21.01 on March 22, 2012 to a high of $30.62 on December 31, 2012.

These fluctuations could continue. Among the factors that could affect our stock price are:

 

   

our operating and financial performance and prospects;

 

   

our ability to repay our debt;

 

   

our access to financial and capital markets to refinance our debt;

 

   

investor perceptions of us and the industry and markets in which we operate;

 

   

future sales of equity or equity-related securities;

 

   

changes in earnings estimates or buy/sell recommendations by analysts;

 

   

changes in the supply of, demand for or price of portfolios;

 

   

our acquisition activity, including our expansion into new markets;

 

   

regulatory changes affecting our industry generally or our business and operations; and

 

   

general financial, domestic, international, economic and other market conditions.

The stock market in recent years has experienced significant price and volume fluctuations that have often been unrelated to the operating performance of companies. The market price of our common stock could fluctuate significantly for many reasons, including in response to the risks described in this section, or for reasons unrelated to our operations, such as reports by industry analysts, investor perceptions or negative announcements by our customers, competitors, or suppliers regarding their own performance, as well as industry conditions, and general financial, economic and political instability. A decrease in the market price of our common stock would likely adversely impact the trading price of our Convertible Notes.

 

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The price of our common stock could also be affected by possible sales of our common stock by investors who view our Convertible Notes as a more attractive means of equity participation in us and by hedging or arbitrage trading activity that we expect to develop involving our common stock. This trading activity could, in turn, affect the trading prices of our Convertible Notes. If securities or industry analysts have a negative outlook regarding our stock or our industry, or our operating results do not meet their expectations, our stock price could decline. The trading market for our common stock is influenced by the research and reports that industry or securities analysts publish about us. If one or more of the analysts who cover our company downgrade our stock or if our operating results do not meet their expectations, our stock price could decline.

Future sales of our common stock or the issuance of other equity may adversely affect the market price of our common stock.

Subject to restrictions we agreed to in connection with the issuance of our Convertible Notes, which restrictions expire on February 25, 2013, we are not restricted from issuing additional common stock, including securities that are convertible into or exchangeable for, or that represent the right to receive, common stock. The issuance of additional shares of our common stock or convertible securities, including our outstanding options and restricted shares, or otherwise, would dilute the ownership interest of our common stockholders.

The liquidity and trading volume of our common stock is limited. For the twelve months ended December 31, 2012, the average daily trading volume of our common stock was approximately 150,000 shares. Sales of a substantial number of shares of our common stock or other equity-related securities in the public market by us or others could depress the market price of our common stock and impair our ability to raise capital through the sale of additional equity securities. We cannot predict the effect that future sales of our common stock or other equity-related securities would have on the market price of our common stock.

Despite our current indebtedness levels, we may still incur substantially more indebtedness or take other actions which would intensify the risks discussed above.

Despite our current consolidated indebtedness levels, we and our subsidiaries may be able to incur substantial additional indebtedness in the future, subject to the restrictions contained in our debt instruments, (some of which may be secured indebtedness). We will not be restricted under the terms of the indenture governing our Convertible Notes from incurring additional indebtedness, securing existing or future indebtedness, recapitalizing our indebtedness or taking a number of other actions that are not limited by the terms of the indenture governing our Convertible Notes that could have the effect of diminishing our ability to make payments on our Convertible Notes.

We may not have the ability to raise the funds necessary to settle conversions of our Convertible Notes in cash to the extent required or to repurchase our Convertible Notes upon a fundamental change, and our future indebtedness may contain limitations on our ability to pay cash upon conversion of our Convertible Notes and our current indebtedness contains, and our future indebtedness may contain, limitations on our ability to repurchase our Convertible Notes.

Holders of Convertible Notes will have the right to require us to repurchase their Convertible Notes upon the occurrence of a fundamental change at a repurchase price equal to 100% of their principal amount, plus accrued and unpaid interest. In addition, upon conversion of our Convertible Notes, we will be required to make cash payments for each $1,000 in principal amount of Convertible Notes converted of at least the lesser of $1,000 and the sum of certain daily conversion values. However, we may not have enough available cash or be able to obtain financing at the time we are required to make repurchases of Convertible Notes surrendered or being converted. In addition, our restated credit agreement contains certain restrictive covenants that limit our ability to engage in specified types of transactions, which may affect our ability to repurchase our Convertible Notes. Further, our ability to repurchase our Convertible Notes or to pay cash upon conversions of our Convertible Notes may be limited by law, by regulatory authority, or by agreements governing our future indebtedness. Our

 

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failure to repurchase Convertible Notes at a time when the repurchase is required by the indenture or to pay any cash payable on future conversions of our Convertible Notes as required by the indenture would constitute a default under the indenture. A default under the indenture or the fundamental change itself could also lead to a default under agreements governing our future indebtedness. If the repayment of the related indebtedness were to be accelerated after any applicable notice or grace periods, we may not have sufficient funds to repay the indebtedness and repurchase our Convertible Notes or make cash payments upon conversions thereof.

The conditional conversion feature of our Convertible Notes, if triggered, may adversely affect our financial condition and operating results.

In the event the conditional conversion feature of our Convertible Notes is triggered, holders of our Convertible Notes will be entitled to convert our Convertible Notes at any time during specified periods at their option. If one or more holders elect to convert their Convertible Notes, we would be required to settle any converted principal through the payment of cash, which could adversely affect our liquidity. In addition, even if holders do not elect to convert their Convertible Notes, we could be required under applicable accounting rules to reclassify all or a portion of the outstanding principal of our Convertible Notes as a current rather than long-term liability, which would result in a material reduction of our net working capital.

Holders of our Convertible Notes will not be entitled to any rights with respect to our common stock, but will be subject to all changes made with respect to them to the extent our conversion obligation includes shares of our common stock.

Holders of Convertible Notes will not be entitled to any rights with respect to our common stock (including, without limitation, voting rights and rights to receive any dividends or other distributions on our common stock) prior to the last trading day of the observation period set forth in our Convertible Notes, but, to the extent our conversion obligation includes shares of our common stock, holders of Convertible Notes will be subject to all changes affecting our common stock. For example, if an amendment is proposed to our certificate of incorporation or bylaws requiring stockholder approval and the record date for determining the stockholders of record entitled to vote on the amendment occurs prior to the last trading day of the relevant observation period, then to the extent our conversion obligation includes shares of our common stock, such holder will not be entitled to vote on the amendment, although such holder will nevertheless be subject to any changes affecting our common stock.

The conditional conversion feature of our Convertible Notes could result in holders of our Convertible Notes receiving less than the value of our common stock into which our Convertible Notes would otherwise be convertible.

Prior to the close of business on the business day immediately preceding May 27, 2017, holders of our Convertible Notes may convert our Convertible Notes only if specified conditions are met. If the specific conditions for conversion are not met, holders of our Convertible Notes will not be able to convert our Convertible Notes, and such holders may not be able to receive the value of the cash and shares of common stock, if any, into which our Convertible Notes would otherwise be convertible.

Upon conversion of our Convertible Notes, holders of our Convertible Notes may receive less valuable consideration than expected because the value of our common stock may decline after the exercise of conversion right but before we settle our conversion obligation under the Convertible Note.

Under our Convertible Notes, a converting holder will be exposed to fluctuations in the value of our common stock during the period from the date such holder surrenders our Convertible Notes for conversion until the date we settle our conversion obligation. Under our Convertible Notes, the amount of consideration that a holder will receive upon conversion of our Convertible Notes will be determined by reference to the volume-weighted average prices of our common stock for each trading day in a 50 consecutive trading-day observation

 

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period. This period would be (i) if the relevant conversion date occurs prior to May 27, 2017, the 50 consecutive trading-day period beginning on, and including, the second trading day after such conversion date; and (ii) if the relevant conversion date occurs on or after May 27, 2017, the 50 consecutive trading days beginning on, and including, the 52nd scheduled trading day immediately preceding November 27, 2017; provided that such observation period may be extended by no more than one scheduled trading day for each trading day during which there was a “market disruption event” prior to November 27, 2017. Accordingly, if the price of our common stock decreases during this period, the amount and/or value of consideration a holder of our Convertible Notes will receive will be adversely affected. In addition, if the market price of our common stock at the end of such period is below the average of the volume-weighted average price of our common stock during such period, the value of any shares of our common stock that such holder will receive in satisfaction of our conversion obligation will be less than the value used to determine the number of shares that such holder will receive.

Our Convertible Notes are not protected by restrictive covenants.

The indenture governing our Convertible Notes does not contain any financial or operating covenants or restrictions on the payments of dividends, the incurrence of indebtedness or the issuance or repurchase of securities by us or any of our subsidiaries. The indenture contains no covenants or other provisions to afford protection to holders of our Convertible Notes in the event of a fundamental change or other corporate transaction involving us except to the extent described in our Convertible Notes and the indenture.

The adjustment to the conversion rate for our Convertible Notes converted in connection with a make-whole fundamental change may not adequately compensate holders of our Convertible Notes for any lost value of our Convertible Notes as a result of such transaction.

If a make-whole fundamental change occurs prior to November 27, 2017, under certain circumstances, we will increase the conversion rate by a number of additional shares of our common stock for Convertible Notes converted in connection with such make-whole fundamental change. The increase in the conversion rate will be determined based on the date on which the specified corporate transaction becomes effective and the price paid (or deemed to be paid) per share of our common stock in such transaction. The adjustment to the conversion rate for Convertible Notes converted in connection with a make-whole fundamental change may not adequately compensate holders of our Convertible Notes for any lost value of our Convertible Notes as a result of such transaction. In addition, if the price of our common stock in the transaction is greater than $150.00 per share or less than $25.25 per share (in each case, subject to adjustment), no additional shares will be added to the conversion rate. Moreover, in no event will the conversion rate per $1,000 principal amount of notes as a result of this adjustment exceed 39.6039, subject to adjustments as described in our Convertible Notes.

The conversion rate of our Convertible Notes may not be adjusted for all dilutive events.

The conversion rate of our Convertible Notes is subject to adjustment for certain events, including, but not limited to, the issuance of certain stock dividends on our common stock, the issuance of certain rights or warrants, subdivisions, combinations, distributions of capital stock, indebtedness, or assets, cash dividends and certain issuer tender or exchange offers. However, the conversion rate will not be adjusted for other events, such as a third-party tender or exchange offer or an issuance of common stock for cash, that may adversely affect the trading price of our Convertible Notes or our common stock. In addition, for so long as the aggregate share cap applies to conversion of Convertible Notes, we will not be able to increase the conversion rate to the extent the number of shares deliverable under our Convertible Notes would exceed the aggregate share cap. An event that adversely affects the value of our Convertible Notes may occur, and that event may not result in an adjustment to the conversion rate.

Our obligation to increase the conversion rate upon the occurrence of a make-whole fundamental change could be considered a penalty, in which case the enforceability thereof would be subject to general principles of reasonableness of economic remedies.

 

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Some significant restructuring transactions may not constitute a fundamental change under the terms of our Convertible Notes, in which case we would not be obligated to offer to repurchase our Convertible Notes.

Upon the occurrence of a fundamental change, holders of our Convertible Notes have the right to require us to repurchase our Convertible Notes. However, the fundamental change provisions will not afford protection to holders of our Convertible Notes in the event of other transactions that could adversely affect our Convertible Notes. For example, transactions such as leveraged recapitalizations, refinancings, restructurings, or acquisitions initiated by us may not constitute a fundamental change requiring us to repurchase our Convertible Notes, even though each of these transactions could increase the amount of our indebtedness, or otherwise adversely affect our capital structure or any credit ratings, thereby adversely affecting the holders of our Convertible Notes.

We have not registered our Convertible Notes or our common stock issuable upon conversion, which will limit the ability to resell them.

Our Convertible Notes and the shares of common stock issuable upon conversion of our Convertible Notes, if any, have not been registered under the Securities Act or any state securities laws. Unless our Convertible Notes and the shares of common stock issuable upon conversion of our Convertible Notes, if any, have been registered, they may not be transferred or resold except in a transaction exempt from or not subject to the registration requirements of the Securities Act and applicable state securities laws. We do not intend to file a registration statement for the resale of our Convertible Notes and our common stock, if any, into which our Convertible Notes are convertible.

An active trading market may not develop for our Convertible Notes.

Prior to the offering of our Convertible Notes, there was no trading market for our Convertible Notes. We do not intend to apply to list our Convertible Notes on any securities exchange or to arrange for quotation on any automated dealer quotation system. We were informed by the initial purchasers of our Convertible Notes that they intended to make a market in our Convertible Notes after the offering was completed. However, the initial purchasers of our Convertible Notes may cease their market-making at any time without notice. In addition, the liquidity of the trading market in our Convertible Notes, and the market price quoted for our Convertible Notes, may be adversely affected by changes in the overall market for this type of security and by changes in our financial performance or prospects or in the prospects for companies in our industry generally. As a result, we cannot assure holders of our Convertible Notes that an active trading market will develop for our Convertible Notes. If an active trading market does not develop or is not maintained, the market price and liquidity of our Convertible Notes may be adversely affected. In that case, holders of our Convertible Notes may not be able to sell our Convertible Notes at a particular time or at a favorable price.

Any adverse rating of our Convertible Notes may cause their trading price to fall.

We do not intend to seek a rating on our Convertible Notes. However, if a rating service were to rate our Convertible Notes and if such rating service were to lower its rating on our Convertible Notes below the rating initially assigned to our Convertible Notes or otherwise announces its intention to put our Convertible Notes on credit watch, the trading price of our Convertible Notes could decline.

Holders of our Convertible Notes should carefully consider the U.S. federal income tax consequences of converting our Convertible Notes.

The U.S. federal income tax treatment of the conversion of our Convertible Notes into a combination of our common stock and cash is not entirely certain. Holders of our Convertible Notes should consult their tax advisors with respect to the U.S. federal income tax consequences resulting from the conversion of Convertible Notes into a combination of cash and common stock.

 

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Holders of our Convertible Notes may be deemed to have received a taxable distribution without the receipt of any cash.

The conversion rate of our Convertible Notes will be adjusted in certain circumstances. Under Section 305(c) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (the “Code”), adjustments (or failures to make adjustments) that have the effect of increasing a holder’s proportionate interest in our assets or earnings and profits may in some circumstances result in a deemed distribution to such holder. Certain of the conversion rate adjustments with respect to our Convertible Notes (including, without limitation, adjustments in respect of taxable dividends to holders of our common stock) will result in deemed distributions to the holders of Convertible Notes even though they have not received any cash or property as a result of such adjustments. In addition, an adjustment to the conversion rate in connection with a make-whole fundamental change may be treated as a deemed distribution. Any deemed distributions will be taxable as a dividend, return of capital or capital gain in accordance with the distribution rules under the Code. If a holder of Convertible Notes is a non-U.S. holder (as defined under “Certain U.S. Federal Income Tax Considerations”), any deemed dividend may be subject to U.S. withholding tax at a 30% rate or such lower rate as may be specified by an applicable tax treaty, which may be set off against subsequent payments on our Convertible Notes (or in certain circumstances, on our common stock). Under proposed regulations, certain “dividend equivalent” payments, which generally will be deemed to occur as a result of an adjustment to the conversion rate of our Convertible Notes in connection with the payment of a dividend on our common stock, may be subject to withholding tax at a different time or in a different amount than the withholding tax otherwise imposed on dividends and constructive dividends.

The convertible note hedge and warrant transactions may affect the value of our Convertible Notes and our common stock.

In connection with the pricing of our Convertible Notes, we entered into convertible note hedge transactions with certain option counterparties. The convertible note hedge transactions are expected to reduce the potential dilution and/or offset any cash payments we are required to make in excess of the principal amount upon conversion of our Convertible Notes. We also entered into warrant transactions with the same option counterparties. The warrant transactions could separately have a dilutive effect on our earnings per share to the extent that the market price per share of our common stock exceeds the applicable strike price of the warrants. However, subject to certain conditions, we may elect to settle the warrant transactions in cash. In connection with establishing their hedge of the convertible note hedge and warrant transactions, the option counterparties or their respective affiliates may have entered into various derivative transactions with respect to our common stock and/or purchase shares of our common stock in privately negotiated transactions and/or open market transactions concurrently with or shortly after the pricing of our Convertible Notes. This activity could increase (or reduce the size of any decrease in) the market price of our common stock or our Convertible Notes at that time. In addition, the option counterparties or their respective affiliates may have modified their hedge positions by entering into or unwinding various derivatives with respect to our common stock and/or purchasing or selling our common stock in secondary market transactions following the pricing of our Convertible Notes and prior to the maturity of our Convertible Notes (and are likely to do so during any observation period related to a conversion of our Convertible Notes). This activity could also cause or avoid an increase or a decrease in the market price of our common stock or our Convertible Notes, which could affect the ability to convert our Convertible Notes and, to the extent the activity occurs during any observation period related to a conversion of our Convertible Notes, it could affect the amount and value of the consideration that a holder of our Convertible Notes will receive upon conversion of our Convertible Notes.

Provisions in our charter documents and Delaware law may delay or prevent acquisition of us, which could decrease the value of shares of our common stock.

Our certificate of incorporation and bylaws and Delaware law contain provisions that could make it more difficult for a third party to acquire us without the consent of our board of directors. These provisions include advance notice provisions, limitations on actions by our stockholders by written consent, and special approval

 

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requirements for transactions involving interested stockholders. We are authorized to issue up to five million shares of preferred stock, the relative rights and preferences of which may be fixed by our board of directors, subject to the provisions of our articles of incorporation, without stockholder approval. The issuance of preferred stock could be used to dilute the stock ownership of a potential hostile acquirer. The provisions that discourage potential acquisitions of us and adversely affect the voting power of the holders of common stock may adversely affect the price of our common stock and the value of our Convertible Notes.

We do not intend to pay dividends on our common stock for the foreseeable future.

We have never declared or paid cash dividends on our common stock. In addition, we must comply with the covenants in our credit facilities if we want to pay cash dividends. We currently intend to retain our future earnings, if any, to finance the further development and expansion of our business and do not intend to pay cash dividends in the foreseeable future. Any future determination to pay dividends will be at the discretion of our board of directors and will depend upon our financial condition, results of operations, capital requirements restrictions contained in current or future financing instruments, and such other factors as our board of directors deems relevant.

Item 1B—Unresolved Staff Comments

None.

Item 2—Properties

Our corporate headquarters and primary operations facility are located in approximately 99,000 square feet in two separate leased locations in San Diego, California.

We lease a facility for our call center located in Phoenix, Arizona with approximately 33,000 square feet of space. We also lease a facility for our call center located in St. Cloud, Minnesota with approximately 46,000 square feet of space.

We also lease a facility in Gurgaon, India. The facility in India has approximately 111,500 square feet of space and can accommodate approximately 1,850 employees. Our facility in India serves as a call center and administrative offices.

We lease approximately 32,000 square feet of space in San Jose, Costa Rica. This facility can accommodate approximately 300 employees. The facility serves as a call center.

Our subsidiary, Propel Financial Services, LLC, leases approximately 7,000 square feet of space in San Antonio, Texas. The facility serves as Propel’s corporate offices. This lease will expire in June 2013 and Propel will be moving to a new 14,000 square foot leased facility.

We also lease other immaterial office space in the United States.

We believe that our current leased facilities are generally well maintained and in good operating condition. We believe that these facilities are suitable and sufficient for our operational needs. Our policy is to improve, replace, and supplement the facilities as considered appropriate to meet the needs of our operations.

Item 3—Legal Proceedings

We are involved in disputes, legal actions, regulatory investigations, inquiries, and other actions from time to time in the ordinary course of business. We, along with others in our industry, are routinely subject to legal

 

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actions based on the FDCPA, comparable state statutes, the TCPA, state and federal unfair competition statutes, and common law causes of action. The violations of law alleged in these actions often include claims that we lack specified licenses to conduct our business, attempt to collect debts on which the statute of limitations has run, have made inaccurate assertions of fact in support of our collection actions and/or have acted improperly in connection with our efforts to contact consumers. Such litigation and regulatory actions involve potential compensatory or punitive damage claims, fines, sanctions, or injunctive relief. Many continue on for some length of time and involve substantial litigation, effort, and negotiation before a result is achieved, and during the process we often cannot determine the substance or timing of any eventual outcome.

On May 19, 2008, an action captioned Brent v. Midland Credit Management, Inc. et. al was filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio Western Division, in which the plaintiff filed a class action counter-claim against two of our subsidiaries (the “Midland Defendants”). The complaint alleged that the Midland Defendants’ business practices violated consumers’ rights under the FDCPA and the Ohio Consumer Sales Practices Act. The plaintiff sought actual and statutory damages for the class of Ohio residents, plus attorney’s fees and costs of class notice and class administration. On August 12, 2011, the court issued an order granting final approval to the parties agreed upon settlement of this lawsuit, as well as two other pending lawsuits in the Northern District of Ohio entitled Franklin v. Midland Funding LLC and Vassalle v. Midland Funding LLC, on a national class basis, and dismissed the cases against the Midland Defendants with prejudice. That order has been appealed by certain objectors to the settlement, which appeals remain pending.

On November 2, 2010 and December 17, 2010, two national class actions entitled Robinson v. Midland Funding LLC and Tovar v. Midland Credit Management, respectively, were filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. The complaints allege that certain of our subsidiaries violated the TCPA by calling consumers’ cellular phones without their prior express consent. The complaints seek monetary damages under the TCPA, injunctive relief, and other relief, including attorney fees. On May 10, 2011 and May 11, 2011 two class actions entitled Scardina v. Midland Credit Management, Inc., Midland Funding LLC and Encore Capital Group, Inc. and Martin v. Midland Funding, LLC, respectively, were filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. The complaints allege on behalf of a putative class of Illinois consumers that certain of our subsidiaries violated the TCPA by calling consumers’ cellular phones without their prior express consent. The complaints seek monetary damages under the TCPA, injunctive relief, and other relief, including attorney fees. On July 28, 2011, we filed a motion to transfer the Scardina and Martin cases to the United States District Court for the Southern District of California to be consolidated with the Tovar and Robinson cases. On October 11, 2011, the United States Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation granted our motion to transfer. All four of these cases are now pending in the United States District Court for the Southern District of California in a multidistrict litigation titled In re Midland Credit Management Inc. Telephone Consumer Protection Act Litigation. The lead plaintiffs filed an amended consolidated complaint on July 11, 2012. On October 17, 2012, a national class action titled Hartman v. Midland Credit Management, Inc. was filed in the Middle District of Florida. The complaint in Hartman alleged that our subsidiary violated the TCPA by calling consumers’ cellular phones without their prior express consent. On November 20, 2012, the Hartman case was transferred to the Southern District of California to be consolidated with the multidistrict litigation.

In certain legal proceedings, we may have recourse to insurance or third party contractual indemnities to cover all or portions of our litigation expenses, judgments, or settlements. In accordance with authoritative guidance, we record loss contingencies in our financial statements only for matters in which losses are probable and can be reasonably estimated. Where a range of loss can be reasonably estimated with no best estimate in the range, we record the minimum estimated liability. We continuously assess the potential liability related to our pending litigation and revise our estimates when additional information becomes available. As of December 31, 2012, we have no material reserves for litigation. Additionally, based on the current status of litigation matters, either the estimate of exposure is immaterial to our financial statements or an estimate cannot yet be determined. Our legal costs are recorded to expense as incurred.

 

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Item 4—Mine Safety Disclosures

Not applicable.

 

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PART II

Item 5—Market for the Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities

Our common stock is traded on the NASDAQ Global Select Market under the symbol “ECPG.”

The high and low sales prices of our common stock, as reported by NASDAQ Global Select Market for each quarter during our two most recent fiscal years, are reported below:

 

     Market Price  
     High      Low  

Fiscal Year 2012

     

First Quarter

   $ 24.91       $ 20.87   

Second Quarter

     29.64         21.42   

Third Quarter

     30.91         27.01   

Fourth Quarter

     30.72         24.34   

Fiscal Year 2011

     

First Quarter

     27.67         21.65   

Second Quarter

     33.16         23.85   

Third Quarter

     31.78         18.96   

Fourth Quarter

     28.50         19.40   

The closing price of our common stock on February 1, 2013, was $30.44 per share and there were 16 stockholders of record. Because many of our shares of common stock are held by brokers and other institutions on behalf of stockholders, we are unable to estimate the total number of stockholders represented by these stockholders of record.

Issuer Repurchases of Equity Securities

The following table presents information with respect to purchases of common stock of the Company during the three months ended December 31, 2012, by the Company or an “affiliated purchaser” of the Company, as defined in Rule 10b-18(a)(3) under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended:

 

Period

   Total Number of
Shares  Purchased
     Average
Price Paid
Per Share
     Total Number of
Shares  Purchased
as Part of Publicly
Announced Plans
or Programs(1)
     Maximum Number
of Shares (or
Approximate Dollar
Value) That May

Yet Be Purchased
Under the Publicly
Announced Plans
or Programs
 

October 1, 2012 to October 31, 2012

     —          —          —          —    

November 1, 2012 to November 30, 2012

     1,058,667       $ 25.3075         1,058,667       $ 23,207,770   

December 1, 2012 to December 31, 2012

     803,838       $ 27.9642         803,838       $ 729,065   
  

 

 

       

 

 

    

Total

     1,862,505       $ 26.4541         1,862,505      
  

 

 

       

 

 

    

 

(1) 

On November 15, 2012, we publicly announced that our Board of Directors had authorized a plan (the “2012 Plan”) for the Company to purchase $50.0 million of our Company’s common stock. This column discloses the number of shares purchased pursuant to the 2012 Plan during the indicated time periods.

 

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Performance Graph

The following Performance Graph and related information shall not be deemed “soliciting material” or “filed” with the SEC, nor shall such information be incorporated by reference into any future filing under the Securities Act of 1933 or Securities Exchange Act of 1934, each as amended, except to the extent that we specifically incorporate it by reference into such filing.

The following graph compares the total cumulative stockholder return on our common stock for the period from December 31, 2007 through December 31, 2012, with the cumulative total return of (a) the NASDAQ Index and (b) Asset Acceptance Capital Corp., Asta Funding, Inc. and Portfolio Recovery Associates, Inc., which we believe are comparable companies. The comparison assumes that $100 was invested on December 31, 2007, in our common stock and in each of the comparison indices. The stock price performance on the following graph is not necessarily indicative of future stock performance.

 

LOGO

 

     12/07      12/08      12/09      12/10      12/11      12/12  

Encore Capital Group, Inc.

     100.00         74.38         179.75         242.25         219.63         316.32   

NASDAQ Composite

     100.00         59.03         82.25         97.32         98.63         110.78   

Peer Group

     100.00         54.86         76.70         111.84         98.17         148.65   

 

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Table of Contents

Equity Compensation Plans

Information regarding our equity compensation plan required by this item is incorporated by reference to the information in Part III, Note 12 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

Recent Sales of Unregistered Securities

In November and December 2012, we sold $115.0 million of 3.0% convertible senior notes due November 27, 2017 in a private placement transaction. Information regarding this transaction is set forth on our Form 8-K filed on December 3, 2012.

Dividend Policy

As a public company, we have never declared or paid dividends on our common stock. However, the declaration, payment, and amount of future dividends, if any, is subject to the discretion of our board of directors, which may review our dividend policy from time to time in light of the then existing relevant facts and circumstances. Under the terms of our revolving credit facility, we are permitted to declare and pay dividends in an amount not to exceed, during any fiscal year, 20% of our audited consolidated net income for the then most recently completed fiscal year, so long as no default or unmatured default under the facility has occurred and is continuing or would arise as a result of the dividend payment. We may also be subject to additional dividend restrictions under future financing facilities.

 

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Item 6—Selected Financial Data

This table presents selected historical financial data of Encore Capital Group, Inc. and its consolidated subsidiaries. This information should be carefully considered in conjunction with the consolidated financial statements and notes thereto appearing elsewhere in this report. The selected data in this section are not intended to replace the consolidated financial statements. The selected financial data (except for “Selected Operating Data”) in the table below, as of December 31, 2010, 2009, and 2008 and for the years ended December 31, 2009 and 2008, were derived from our audited consolidated financial statements not included in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. The selected financial data as of December 31, 2012, and 2011 and for the years ended December 31, 2012, 2011, and 2010, were derived from our audited consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. The Selected Operating Data were derived from our books and records (in thousands, except per share data):

 

     As of and For The Year Ended December 31,  
     2012     2011     2010     2009     2008  

Revenues

          

Revenue from receivable portfolios, net(1)

   $ 545,412      $ 448,714      $ 364,294      $ 299,732      $ 240,802   

Net interest income—tax lien transfer

     10,460        —         —         —         —    
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Total revenues

     555,872        448,714        364,294        299,732        240,802   
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Operating expenses

          

Salaries and employee benefits

     101,084        77,805        64,077        54,587        54,445   

Cost of legal collections

     168,703        157,050        121,085        112,570        96,187   

Other operating expenses

     48,939        35,708        32,055        22,620        20,146   

Collection agency commissions

     15,332        14,162        20,385        19,278        13,118   

General and administrative expenses

     61,798        39,760        29,798        25,738        17,928   

Depreciation and amortization

     5,840        4,081        2,552        1,771        1,707   
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Total operating expenses

     401,696        328,566        269,952        236,564        203,531   
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Income from operations

     154,176        120,148        94,342        63,168        37,271   
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Other (expense) income

          

Interest expense

     (25,564     (21,116     (19,349     (16,160     (20,572

Other income (expense)

     1,713        (363     368        3,266        5,235   
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Total other expense

     (23,851     (21,479     (18,981     (12,894     (15,337
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Income from continuing operations before income taxes

     130,325        98,669        75,361        50,274        21,934   

Provision for income taxes

     (51,754     (38,076     (27,967     (19,360     (9,036
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Income from continuing operations

     78,571        60,593        47,394        30,914        12,898   

(Loss) income from discontinued operations, net of tax

     (9,094     365        1,658        2,133        948   
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Net income

   $ 69,477      $ 60,958      $ 49,052      $ 33,047      $ 13,846   
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Weighted-average shares outstanding:

          

Basic

     24,855        24,572        23,897        23,215        23,046   

Diluted

     25,836        25,690        25,091        24,082        23,577   

Basic earnings (loss) per share from:

          

Continuing operations

   $ 3.16      $ 2.47      $ 1.98      $ 1.33      $ 0.56   

Discontinued operations

   $ (0.36   $ 0.01      $ 0.07      $ 0.09      $ 0.04   
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Net basic earnings per share

   $ 2.80      $ 2.48      $ 2.05      $ 1.42      $ 0.60   
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Diluted earnings (loss) per share from:

          

Continuing operations

   $ 3.04      $ 2.36      $ 1.89      $ 1.28      $ 0.55   

Discontinued operations

   $ (0.35   $ 0.01      $ 0.06      $ 0.09      $ 0.04   
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Net diluted earnings per share

   $ 2.69      $ 2.37      $ 1.95      $ 1.37      $ 0.59   
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

 

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Table of Contents
     As of and For The Year Ended December 31,  
     2012     2011     2010     2009     2008  

Cash flow data:

          

Cash flows provided by (used in):

          

Operating activities

   $ 98,520      $ 84,579      $ 75,475      $ 76,519      $ 63,071   

Investing activities

     (343,770     (88,088     (142,807     (79,171     (107,252

Financing activities

     254,713        651        69,849        699        45,846   

Selected operating data:

          

Purchases of receivable portfolios, at cost

   $ 562,335      $ 386,850      $ 361,957      $ 256,632      $ 230,278   

Gross collections for the period

     948,055        761,158        604,609        487,792        398,633   

Consolidated statements of financial condition data:

          

Cash and cash equivalents

   $ 17,510      $ 8,047      $ 10,905      $ 8,388      $ 10,341   

Investment in receivable portfolios, net

     873,119        716,454        644,753        526,877        461,346   

Total assets

     1,171,340        812,483        736,468        595,159        549,079   

Total debt

     706,036        388,950        385,264        303,075        303,655   

Total liabilities

     765,524        440,948        433,771        352,068        345,653   

Total stockholders’ equity

     405,816        371,535        302,697        243,091        203,426   

 

(1)

Includes net allowance reversal of $4.2 million for the year ended December 31, 2012, and net allowance charges of $10.8 million, $22.2 million, $19.3 million, and $41.4 million for the years ended December 31, 2011, 2010, 2009, and 2008, respectively.

 

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Table of Contents

Item 7—Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations

This Annual Report on Form 10-K contains “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the securities laws. The words “believe,” “expect,” “anticipate,” “estimate,” “project,” “intend,” “plan,” “will,” “may,” and similar expressions often characterize forward-looking statements. These statements may include, but are not limited to, projections of collections, revenues, income or loss, estimates of capital expenditures, plans for future operations, products or services, and financing needs or plans, as well as assumptions relating to these matters. Although we believe that the expectations reflected in these forward-looking statements are reasonable, we caution that these expectations or predictions may not prove to be correct or we may not achieve the financial results, savings or other benefits anticipated in the forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements are necessarily estimates reflecting the best judgment of our senior management and involve a number of risks and uncertainties, some of which may be beyond our control or cannot be predicted or quantified, that could cause actual results to differ materially from those suggested by the forward-looking statements. Many factors, including but not limited to, those set forth in this Annual Report on Form 10-K under “Part I, Item 1A. Risk Factors,” could cause our actual results, performance, achievements, or industry results to be very different from the results, performance, achievements or industry results expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements. Our business, financial condition, or results of operations could also be materially and adversely affected by other factors besides those listed. Forward-looking statements speak only as of the date the statements were made. We do not undertake any obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements to reflect new information or future events, or for any other reason, even if experience or future events make it clear that any expected results expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements will not be realized. In addition, it is generally our policy not to make any specific projections as to future earnings, and we do not endorse projections regarding future performance that may be made by third parties.

Our Business and Operating Segments

We are a leading provider of debt management and recovery solutions for consumers and property owners across a broad range of assets. We purchase portfolios of defaulted consumer receivables and manage them by partnering with individuals as they repay their obligations and work toward financial recovery. In addition, through our subsidiary Propel Financial Services, LLC (“Propel”), we assist Texas property owners who are delinquent on their property taxes by paying these taxes on behalf of the property owners in exchange for payment agreements collateralized by tax liens on the property.

We conduct business through two operating segments: portfolio purchasing and recovery and tax lien transfer. The operating results from our tax lien transfer segment are immaterial to our total consolidated operating results. However, the total segment assets are significant as compared to our total consolidated assets. As a result, in accordance with authoritative guidance on segment reporting, our tax lien transfer segment is determined to be a reportable segment.

Portfolio purchasing and recovery

Our portfolio purchasing and recovery segment purchases receivables based on robust, account-level valuation methods and employs proprietary statistical and behavioral models across the full extent of our operations. These investments allow us to value portfolios accurately (and limit the risk of overpaying), avoid buying portfolios that are incompatible with our methods or goals and align the accounts we purchase with our operational channels to maximize future collections. As a result, we have been able to realize significant returns from the receivables we acquire. We maintain strong relationships with many of the largest credit and telecommunication providers in the United States and possess one of the industry’s best collection staff retention rates.

While seasonality does not have a material impact on our portfolio purchasing and recovery segment, collections are generally strongest in our first calendar quarter, slower in the second and third calendar quarters,

 

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Table of Contents

and slowest in the fourth calendar quarter. Relatively higher collections in the first quarter could result in a lower cost-to-collect ratio compared to the other quarters, as our fixed costs would be constant and applied against a larger collection base. The seasonal impact on our business may be influenced by our purchasing levels, the types of portfolios we purchase, and our operating strategies.

Collection seasonality with respect to our portfolio purchasing and recovery segment can also impact our revenue recognition rate. Generally, revenue for each pool group declines steadily over time, whereas collections can fluctuate from quarter to quarter based on seasonality, as described above. In quarters with lower collections (e.g., the fourth calendar quarter), revenue as a percentage of collections can be higher than in quarters with higher collections (e.g., the first calendar quarter).

In addition, seasonality could have an impact on the relative level of quarterly earnings. In quarters with stronger collections, total costs are higher as a result of the additional efforts required to generate those collections. Since revenue for each pool group declines steadily over time, in quarters with stronger collections and higher costs (e.g., the first calendar quarter), all else being equal, earnings could be lower than in quarters with slower collections and lower costs (e.g., the fourth calendar quarter). Additionally, in quarters where a greater percentage of collections come from our legal and agency outsourcing channels, cost to collect will be higher than if there were more collections from our internal collection sites.

Tax lien transfer

Our tax lien transfer segment focuses on the property tax financing industry. Our principal activity is originating and servicing property tax lien transfers in the state of Texas. With the property owner’s consent, we pay the property owner’s delinquent property taxes directly to the taxing authority, which then transfers its tax lien to us. We then enter into a payment agreement with the property owner, creating an affordable payment plan. Revenue from our tax lien transfer segment for the period May 8, 2012 (date of acquisition) through December 31, 2012, comprised 2% of total consolidated revenues for the year ended December 31, 2012. Operating income from our tax lien transfer segment for the period May 8, 2012 (date of acquisition) through December 31, 2012, comprised 3% of our total consolidated operating income for the year ended December 31, 2012.

Discontinued Operations

On May 16, 2012, we completed the sale of substantially all of the assets and certain of the liabilities of our bankruptcy servicing subsidiary, Ascension Capital Group, Inc. (“Ascension”). Accordingly, Ascension’s results of operations are reflected as discontinued operations in our consolidated statements of comprehensive income.

Purchases and Collections

Purchases by Type

The following table summarizes the types of charged-off consumer receivable portfolios we purchased during the periods presented (in thousands):

 

     Year Ended December 31,  
     2012      2011      2010  

Credit card

   $ 395,404       $ 346,324       $ 341,910   

Purchased bankruptcy receivables(1)

     83,578         1,644         12,205   

Telecom

     83,353         38,882         7,842   
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 
   $ 562,335       $ 386,850       $ 361,957   
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

 

(1) 

Represents portfolio receivables subject to Chapter 13 and Chapter 7 bankruptcy proceedings acquired from issuers.

 

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During the year ended December 31, 2012, we invested $562.3 million in portfolios, primarily of charged-off credit card, telecommunications, and bankruptcy portfolios, with face values aggregating $18.5 billion, for an average purchase price of 3.0% of face value. This is a $175.4 million increase, or 45.3%, in the amount invested, compared with the $386.9 million invested during the year ended December 31, 2011, to acquire portfolios with a face value aggregating $11.7 billion, for an average purchase price of 3.3% of face value. During the year ended December 31, 2010, we invested $362.0 million for portfolios with face values aggregating $10.9 billion, for an average purchase price of 3.3% of face value.

Average purchase price, as a percentage of face value, varies from period to period depending on, among other things, the quality of the accounts purchased and the length of time from charge-off to the time we purchase the portfolios.

We have recently seen a meaningful increase in the prices for portfolios directly from credit issuers, especially for fresh portfolios. These are portfolios that are generally transacted within 6 months of the consumer’s account being charged-off by the financial institution. We believe this pricing increase is due to a reduction in supply of charged-off accounts and constant demand in the marketplace. Given shifts in underwriting standards by financial institutions resulting in the lower volumes of charged-off accounts, we expect that the pricing will remain at these elevated levels for a period of time. We believe that pricing will decline when buyers who have paid prices that are too high are unable to realize a profit. The current supply environment did not have a material impact on our portfolio purchases for 2012, as we fulfilled much of our planned 2012 portfolio acquisition in the first half of the year, when pricing was more favorable. However, our ability to purchase portfolios in 2013 at favorable prices may be adversely impacted. Should pricing trends continue in this manner, we expect to adjust our purchasing strategies away from fresh portfolios, and towards portfolios in alternative asset classes or aged portfolios, where pricing is not as elevated and where we believe that our operational model allows us to maintain acceptable profit margins.

Collections by Channel

During 2012, 2011 and 2010, we utilized numerous business channels for the collection of charged-off credit card receivables and other charged-off receivables. The following table summarizes gross collections by collection channel (in thousands):

 

     Year Ended December 31,  
   2012      2011      2010  

Legal collections

   $ 448,377       $ 377,455       $ 266,762   

Collection sites

     442,083         335,992         268,205   

Collection agencies

     57,595         47,657         68,042   

Other

     —          54         1,600   
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 
   $ 948,055       $ 761,158       $ 604,609   
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

Gross collections increased $186.9 million, or 24.6%, to $948.1 million during the year ended December 31, 2012, from $761.2 million during the year ended December 31, 2011, primarily due to increased portfolio purchases in the current and prior years.

Gross collections increased $156.6 million, or 25.9%, to $761.2 million during the year ended December 31, 2011, from $604.6 million during the year ended December 31, 2010, primarily due to increased portfolio purchases in the current and prior years.

 

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Table of Contents

Results of Operations

Results of operations, in dollars and as a percentage of total revenue, were as follows (in thousands, except percentages):

 

     Year Ended December 31,  
     2012     2011     2010  

Revenues

            

Revenue from receivable portfolios, net

   $ 545,412        98.0   $ 448,714        100.0   $ 364,294        100.0

Net interest income—tax lien transfer

     10,460        2.0     —         0.0     —         0.0
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Total revenues

     555,872        100.0     448,714        100.0     364,294        100.0
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Operating expenses

            

Salaries and employee benefits

     101,084        18.2     77,805        17.3     64,077        17.6

Cost of legal collections

     168,703        30.3     157,050        35.0     121,085        33.2

Other operating expenses

     48,939        8.8     35,708        8.0     32,055        8.8

Collection agency commissions

     15,332        2.8     14,162        3.1     20,385        5.6

General and administrative expenses

     61,798        11.1     39,760        8.9     29,798        8.2

Depreciation and amortization

     5,840        1.1     4,081        0.9     2,552        0.7
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Total operating expenses

     401,696        72.3     328,566        73.2     269,952        74.1
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Income from operations

     154,176        27.7     120,148        26.8     94,342        25.9
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Other (expense) income

            

Interest expense

     (25,564     (4.6 )%      (21,116     (4.7 )%      (19,349     (5.3 )% 

Other income (expense)

     1,713        0.3     (363     (0.1 )%      368        0.1
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Total other expense

     (23,851     (4.3 )%      (21,479     (4.8 )%      (18,981     (5.2 )% 
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Income from continuing operations before income taxes

     130,325        23.4     98,669        22.0     75,361        20.7

Provision for income taxes

     (51,754     (9.3 )%      (38,076     (8.5 )%      (27,967     (7.7 )% 
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Income from continuing operations

     78,571        14.1     60,593        13.5     47,394        13.0

(Loss) income from discontinued operations, net of tax

     (9,094     (1.6 )%      365        0.1     1,658        0.5
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Net income

   $ 69,477        12.5   $ 60,958        13.6   $ 49,052        13.5
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Non-GAAP Disclosure

In addition to the financial information prepared in conformity with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (“GAAP”), we provide historical non-GAAP financial information. Management believes that presentation of non-GAAP financial information is meaningful and useful in understanding the activities and business metrics of our operations. Management believes that these non-GAAP financial measures reflect an additional way of viewing aspects of our business that, when viewed with our GAAP results, provide a more complete understanding of factors and trends affecting our business.

Management believes that the presentation of these measures provides investors with greater transparency and facilitates comparison of operating results across a broad spectrum of companies with varying capital structures, compensation strategies, derivative instruments, and amortization methods, which provide a more complete understanding of our financial performance, competitive position, and prospects for the future. Readers should consider the information in addition to, but not instead of, our financial statements prepared in accordance with GAAP. This non-GAAP financial information may be determined or calculated differently by other companies, limiting the usefulness of these measures for comparative purposes.

 

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Adjusted Earnings Per Share. Management believes that investors regularly rely on non-GAAP adjusted earnings and adjusted earnings per share, to assess operating performance, in order to highlight trends in our business that may not otherwise be apparent when relying on financial measures calculated in accordance with GAAP. The following table provides a reconciliation between net income from continuing operations and diluted earnings per share from continuing operations calculated in accordance with GAAP to adjusted earnings and adjusted earnings per share, respectively (in thousands, except per share data):

 

     Year Ended December 31,  
     2012      2011      2010  
     $      Per Diluted
Share
     $      Per Diluted
Share
     $      Per Diluted
Share
 

GAAP net income from continuing operations, as reported

   $ 78,571       $ 3.04       $ 60,593       $ 2.36       $ 47,394       $ 1.89   

Adjustment:

                 

Convertible notes non-cash interest and issuance cost amortization, net of tax

     191         0.01         —          —          —          —    
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

Adjusted earnings from continuing operations

   $ 78,762       $ 3.05       $ 60,593       $ 2.36       $ 47,394       $ 1.89   
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

Adjusted EBITDA. Management utilizes adjusted EBITDA, which is materially similar to a financial measure contained in covenants used in the our credit agreement, in the evaluation of our operations and believes that this measure is a useful indicator of our ability to generate cash collections in excess of operating expenses through the liquidation of our receivable portfolios (in thousands):

 

     Year Ended December 31,  
   2012      2011     2010  

GAAP net income, as reported

   $ 69,477       $ 60,958      $ 49,052   

Adjustments:

       

Loss (income) from discontinued operations, net of tax

     9,094         (365     (1,658

Interest expense

     25,564         21,116        19,349   

Provision for income taxes

     51,754         38,076        27,967   

Depreciation and amortization

     5,840         4,081        2,552   

Amount applied to principal on receivable portfolios

     402,594         312,297        240,100   

Stock-based compensation expense

     8,794         7,709        6,010   

Acquisition related expenses

     4,263         —         —    
  

 

 

    

 

 

   

 

 

 

Adjusted EBITDA

   $ 577,380       $ 443,872      $ 343,372   
  

 

 

    

 

 

   

 

 

 

Adjusted operating expenses. We have included information concerning adjusted operating expenses, excluding stock-based compensation expense, tax lien transfer segment operating expenses, and acquisition related expenses, in order to facilitate a comparison of approximate cash costs to cash collections for the portfolio purchasing and recovery business in the periods presented. (in thousands):

 

     Year Ended December 31,  
   2012     2011     2010  

GAAP total operating expenses, as reported

   $ 401,696      $ 328,566      $ 269,952   

Adjustments:

      

Stock-based compensation expense

     (8,794     (7,709     (6,010

Tax lien transfer segment operating expenses

     (5,681     —         —    

Acquisition related expenses

     (4,263     —         —    
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Adjusted operating expenses for the portfolio purchasing and recovery business

   $ 382,958      $ 320,857      $ 263,942   
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

 

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Table of Contents

Comparison of Results of Operations

Year Ended December 31, 2012 Compared to Year Ended December 31, 2011

Revenues

Our revenues consist primarily of portfolio revenue. Portfolio revenue consists of accretion revenue and zero basis revenue. Accretion revenue represents revenue derived from pools (quarterly groupings of purchased receivable portfolios) with a cost basis that has not been fully amortized. Revenue from pools with a remaining unamortized cost basis is accrued based on each pool’s effective interest rate applied to each pool’s remaining unamortized cost basis. The cost basis of each pool is increased by revenue earned and decreased by gross collections and portfolio allowances. The effective interest rate is the Internal Rate of Return (“IRR”) derived from the timing and amounts of actual cash received and anticipated future cash flow projections for each pool. All collections realized after the net book value of a portfolio has been fully recovered, or Zero Basis Portfolios, are recorded as revenue, or Zero Basis Revenue. We account for our investment in receivable portfolios utilizing the interest method in accordance with the authoritative guidance for loans and debt securities acquired with deteriorated credit quality. Interest income, net of related interest expense, represents net interest income on property tax payment agreements receivable.

The following tables summarize collections, revenue, end of period receivable balance and other related supplemental data, by year of purchase from our portfolio purchasing and recovery segment (in thousands, except percentages):

 

     Year Ended December 31, 2012     As of
December 31, 2012
 
     Collections(1)      Gross
Revenue(2)
     Revenue
Recognition
Rate(3)
    Net
Reversal

(Portfolio
Allowance)
    Revenue
% of Total
Revenue
    Unamortized
Balances
     Monthly
IRR
 

ZBA

   $ 26,275       $ 22,575         85.9   $ 3,702        4.2   $ —          —    

2005

     11,859         3,647         30.8     2,024        0.7     2,115         5.6

2006

     12,818         7,910         61.7     (4,247     1.5     8,238         5.1

2007

     17,055         8,922         52.3     129        1.6     10,449         5.1

2008

     59,037         32,567         55.2     2,613        6.0     34,316         6.9

2009

     111,379         70,210         63.0     —         13.0     47,230         10.0

2010

     220,647         134,875         61.1     —         24.9     104,466         8.8

2011

     301,215         163,165         54.2     —         30.1     195,629         5.9

2012

     187,721         97,320         51.8     —         18.0     470,676         2.8
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

    

 

 

 

Total

   $ 948,006       $ 541,191         57.1   $ 4,221        100.0   $ 873,119         4.8
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

    

 

 

 

 

     Year Ended December 31, 2011     As of
December 31, 2011
 
     Collections(1)      Gross
Revenue(2)
     Revenue
Recognition
Rate(3)
    Net
Reversal

(Portfolio
Allowance)
    Revenue
% of Total
Revenue
    Unamortized
Balances
     Monthly
IRR
 

ZBA

   $ 20,609       $ 16,171         78.5   $ 4,448        3.5   $ —          —    

2004

     1,462         196         13.4     102        0.0     —          —    

2005

     18,276         8,492         46.5     771        1.9     8,304         5.7

2006

     18,294         13,958         76.3     (7,160     3.0     17,394         5.1

2007

     38,654         23,578         61.0     (4,564     5.1     18,483         5.1

2008

     87,083         49,985         57.4     (4,420     10.9     58,249         5.4

2009

     164,358         105,080         63.9     —         22.9     88,436         8.0

2010

     288,679         169,588         58.7     —         36.9     190,948         6.5

2011

     123,596         72,489         58.6     —         15.8     334,640         4.2
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

    

 

 

 

Total

   $ 761,011       $ 459,537         60.4   $ (10,823     100.0   $ 716,454         5.5
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

    

 

 

 

 

39


Table of Contents

 

(1) 

Does not include amounts collected on behalf of others.

(2) 

Gross revenue excludes the effects of net portfolio allowance or net portfolio allowance reversals.

(3) 

Revenue recognition rate excludes the effects of net portfolio allowance or net portfolio allowance reversals.

Total revenues were $555.9 million for the year ended December 31, 2012, an increase of $107.2 million, or 23.9%, compared to total revenues of $448.7 million for the year ended December 31, 2011. Portfolio revenue was $545.4 million for the year ended December 31, 2012, an increase of $96.7 million, or 21.6%, compared to portfolio revenue of $448.7 million for the year ended December 31, 2011. The increase in portfolio revenue for the year ended December 31, 2012 was primarily the result of additional accretion revenue associated with a higher portfolio balance and a net portfolio allowance reversal during the year ended December 31, 2012. During the year ended December 31, 2012, we recorded a net portfolio allowance reversal of $4.2 million, compared to a net portfolio allowance provision of $10.8 million in the prior year.

Net interest income from our tax lien transfer segment was $10.5 million for the period from acquisition (May 8, 2012) through December 31, 2012.

Operating Expenses

Total operating expenses were $401.7 million for the year ended December 31, 2012, an increase of $73.1 million, or 22.3%, compared to total operating expenses of $328.6 million for the year ended December 31, 2011.

Operating expenses are explained in more detail as follows:

Salaries and employee benefits

Total salaries and employee benefits increased $23.3 million, or 29.9%, to $101.1 million during the year ended December 31, 2012, from $77.8 million during the year ended December 31, 2011. The increase was primarily the result of increased headcount to support our growth in our portfolio purchasing and recovery business and the acquisition of Propel Financial Services, LLC, BNC Retax, LLC, RioProp Ventures, LLC, and certain related affiliates (collectively, the “Propel Entities”). Salaries and employee benefits related to our internal legal channel were approximately $7.0 million and $2.6 million for the years ended December 31, 2012 and 2011, respectively.

Stock-based compensation increased $1.1 million, or 14.1%, to $8.8 million during the year ended December 31, 2012, from $7.7 million during the year ended December 31, 2011. This increase was primarily attributable to the higher fair value of equity awards granted in recent periods due to an increase in our stock price and an increase in the number of shares granted.

Salaries and employee benefits broken down between the reportable segments are as follows (in thousands):

 

     Year Ended December 31,  
         2012              2011      

Salaries and employee benefits:

     

Portfolio purchasing and recovery

   $ 89,379       $ 77,805   

Tax lien transfer(1)

     2,911         —    
  

 

 

    

 

 

 
   $ 92,290       $ 77,805   
  

 

 

    

 

 

 

 

(1) 

Tax lien transfer segment only includes the period from May 8, 2012 (date of acquisition) through December 31, 2012.

 

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Table of Contents

Cost of legal collections—Portfolio purchasing and recovery

The cost of legal collections increased $11.6 million, or 7.4%, to $168.7 million during the year ended December 31, 2012, compared to $157.1 million during the year ended December 31, 2011. These costs represent contingent fees paid to our nationwide network of attorneys and costs of litigation. The increase in the cost of legal collections was primarily the result of an increase of $7.3 million in contingent fees paid to our network of attorneys related to an increase of $70.9 million, or 18.8%, in gross collections through our legal channel, offset by a decrease in the average commission rate we pay our network of attorneys. The increase was also attributable to an increase of $3.8 million in upfront litigation costs expensed during the period. Gross legal collections amounted to $448.4 million during the year ended December 31, 2012, up from $377.5 million during the year ended December 31, 2011. During the year ended December 31, 2012, the cost of legal collections decreased as a percent of gross collections through this channel to 37.6%, from 41.6% during the year ended December 31, 2011, as a result of the decrease in commission rates mentioned above and an increase in our court cost recovery rate due to our improved ability to more accurately and consistently identify those consumers with the financial means to repay their obligations.

The following table summarizes our legal collection channel performance and related direct costs (in thousands, except percentages):

 

     Year Ended December 31,  
     2012     2011  

Collections(1)

   $ 448,377        100.0   $ 377,455        100.0
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Court costs advanced

   $ 93,889        20.9   $ 95,672        25.4

Court costs deferred

     (38,104     (8.5 )%      (43,664     (11.6 )% 
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Court cost expense(2)

     55,785        12.4     52,008        13.8

Other(3)

     2,662        0.6     2,029        0.5

Commissions

     110,256        24.6     103,013        27.3
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Total Costs

   $ 168,703        37.6   $ 157,050        41.6
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

 

(1) 

Collections include approximately $18.8 million and $2.3 million from our internal legal channel for the years ended December 31, 2012 and 2011, respectively.

(2) 

In connection with our agreement with contracted attorneys, we advance certain out-of-pocket court costs. We capitalize these costs in our consolidated financial statements and provide a reserve and corresponding court cost expense for the costs that we believe will be ultimately uncollectible. This amount includes changes in our anticipated recovery rate of court costs expensed. This amount also includes court costs expensed through our internal legal channel of approximately $6.4 million and $1.7 million for the years ended December 31, 2012 and 2011, respectively.

(3) 

Other costs consist of costs related to counter claims and legal network subscription fees.

Other operating expenses

Other operating expenses increased $13.2 million, or 37.1%, to $48.9 million during the year ended December 31, 2012, from $35.7 million during the year ended December 31, 2011. The increase was primarily the result of an increase of $4.1 million in direct mail campaign expenses, other operating expenses incurred by Propel of $1.4 million, an increase of $1.4 million in telephone expenses, an increase of $1.3 million in media related expenses, an increase of $1.0 million in advertising expenses, and a net increase in various other operating expenses of $4.0 million, all to support our growth.

 

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Table of Contents

Other operating expenses broken down between the reportable segments are as follows (in thousands):

 

     Year Ended December 31,  
         2012              2011      

Other operating expenses:

     

Portfolio purchasing and recovery

   $ 47,501       $ 35,708   

Tax lien transfer(1)

     1,438         —    
  

 

 

    

 

 

 
   $ 48,939       $ 35,708   
  

 

 

    

 

 

 

 

(1) 

Tax lien transfer segment only includes the period from May 8, 2012 (date of acquisition) through December 31, 2012.

Collection agency commissions—Portfolio purchasing and recovery

During the year ended December 31, 2012, we incurred $15.3 million in commissions to third party collection agencies, or 26.6% of the related gross collections of $57.6 million, compared to $14.2 million in commissions, or 29.7% of the related gross collections of $47.7 million during the year ended December 31, 2011. During the quarter ended June 30, 2012, we acquired a large portfolio from a competitor where most of the customer’s accounts had been placed with third party collection agencies. We have slowly transitioned these accounts from collection agencies to our internal operating sites. Until such transition is complete, there may be an increase in agency collections and related commissions. During the third and fourth quarter of 2012, we experienced an increase in such collections and commissions. During the same period, the commission rate decreased as compared to the prior year as a result of the lower commission rates paid to the agencies where these accounts had been placed.

General and administrative expenses

General and administrative expenses increased $22.0 million, or 55.4%, to $61.8 million during the year ended December 31, 2012, from $39.8 million during the year ended December 31, 2011. The increase was primarily the result of an increase of $8.9 million in litigation and corporate legal expenses associated with governmental investigations or inquiries and litigation, general and administrative expenses incurred by Propel of $1.3 million, an increase of $1.1 million in building rent, an increase of $1.1 million in consulting fees, an increase of $0.7 million in system maintenance costs, and a net increase in other general and administrative expenses of $8.9 million, primarily to support our growth.

General and administrative expenses broken down between the reportable segments are as follows (in thousands):

 

     Year Ended December 31,  
         2012              2011      

General and administrative expenses:

     

Portfolio purchasing and recovery

   $ 60,466       $ 39,760   

Tax lien transfer(1)

     1,332         —    
  

 

 

    

 

 

 
   $ 61,798       $ 39,760   
  

 

 

    

 

 

 

 

(1) 

Tax lien transfer segment only includes the period from May 8, 2012 (date of acquisition) through December 31, 2012.

Depreciation and amortization

Depreciation and amortization expense increased $1.7 million, or 43.1%, to $5.8 million during the year ended December 31, 2012, from $4.1 million during the year ended December 31, 2011. The increase was primarily due to increased depreciation expenses resulting from our acquisition of fixed assets in the current and prior years.

 

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Table of Contents

Cost per Dollar Collected—Portfolio purchasing and recovery

The following table summarizes our cost per dollar collected (in thousands, except percentages):

 

    Year Ended December 31,  
    2012     2011  
    Collections     Cost     Cost Per
Channel
Dollar
Collected
    Cost Per
Total
Dollar
Collected
    Collections     Cost     Cost Per
Channel
Dollar
Collected
    Cost Per
Total
Dollar
Collected
 

Legal networks(1)

  $ 448,377      $ 168,703 (1)      37.6     17.8   $ 377,455      $ 157,050 (1)      41.6     20.6

Collection sites(2)

    442,083        27,606        6.2     2.9     335,992        25,112        7.5     3.3

Collection agencies

    57,595        15,332        26.6     1.6     47,657        14,162        29.7     1.9

Other

    —         —         —         —         54        —         —         —    

Other indirect costs(3)

    —         171,317        —         18.1     —         124,533        —         16.4
 

 

 

   

 

 

     

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

     

 

 

 

Total

  $ 948,055      $ 382,958 (4)        40.4   $ 761,158      $ 320,857 (4)        42.2
 

 

 

   

 

 

     

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

     

 

 

 

 

(1) 

Collections include approximately $18.8 million and $2.3 million from our internal legal channel for the years ended December 31, 2012 and 2011, respectively. Cost includes court costs expensed through our internal legal channel of approximately $6.4 million and $1.7 million for the years ended December 31, 2012 and 2011, respectively.

(2) 

Cost in collection sites represents only account managers and their supervisors’ salaries, variable compensation, and employee benefits.

(3) 

Other indirect costs represent non-collection site salaries and employee benefits, general and administrative expenses, other operating expenses, and depreciation and amortization. Included in other indirect costs were costs related to our internal legal channel of approximately $9.9 million and $3.8 million for the years ended December 31, 2012 and 2011, respectively.

(4) 

Represents all operating expenses, excluding stock-based compensation expense, tax lien transfer segment operating expenses, and acquisition related expenses. We include this information in order to facilitate a comparison of approximate cash costs to cash collections for the debt purchasing business in the periods presented. Refer to the “Non-GAAP Disclosure” section for further details.

During the year ended December 31, 2012, cost per dollar collected decreased by 180 basis points to 40.4% of gross collections from 42.2% of gross collections during the year ended December 31, 2011. This decrease was primarily due to several factors, including:

 

   

The cost of legal collections as a percentage of total collections decreased to 17.8% during the year ended December 31, 2012, from 20.6% during year ended December 31, 2011 and, as a percentage of legal collections, decreased to 36.7% from 41.6%. The decreases were primarily due to an improvement in our court cost recovery rate and a decrease in the commission rate we pay our contracted attorneys.

 

   

The costs from our collection sites, including account managers and their supervisors’ salaries, variable compensation and employee benefits, as a percentage of total collections, decreased to 2.9% during the year ended December 31, 2012, from 3.3% during the year ended December 31, 2011 and, as a percentage of our site collections, decreased to 6.2% during the year ended December 31, 2012, from 7.5% during the year ended December 31, 2011. The decreases were primarily due to the continued growth of our collection workforce in India and improvements in our consumer insights, which allow us to more effectively determine which consumers have the ability to pay and how to best engage with them.

 

   

Collection agency commissions, as a percentage of total collections, decreased to 1.6% during the year ended December 31, 2012, from 1.9% during the year ended December 31, 2011. The decrease in the percentage of commissions to total collections was due to our strategy to place more accounts internally, resulting in a significant decline in collections through this channel. Commissions as a percentage of channel collections declined to 26.6% during the year ended December 31, 2012, as compared to 29.7% during the prior year. As discussed above, the decrease in our commission rate was primarily a result of the lower commission rates we paid to the collection agencies that had collection agreements with the seller of our large portfolio purchase in the second quarter of 2012.

The decrease in cost per dollar collected was partially offset by an increase in other costs not directly attributable to specific channel collections (other indirect costs) of 170 basis points, to 18.1% for the year ended

 

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Table of Contents

December 31, 2012, from 16.4% for the year ended December 31, 2011. These costs include non-collection site salaries and employee benefits, general and administrative expenses, other operating expenses, and depreciation and amortization. The dollar increase and the increase in cost per dollar collected were due to several factors, including increases in corporate legal expenses and increases in headcount and general and administrative expenses, to support growth, and to invest in initiatives relating to the evolving regulatory environment.

Interest Expense—Portfolio purchasing and recovery

The following table summarizes our interest expense (in thousands, except percentages):

 

     Year Ended December 31,  
     2012      2011      $ Change      % Change  

Stated interest on debt obligations

   $ 23,015       $ 19,283       $ 3,732         19.4

Amortization of loan fees and other loan costs

     2,289         1,833         456         24.9

Amortization of debt discount—convertible notes

     260         —          260         —    
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

Total interest expense

   $ 25,564       $ 21,116       $ 4,448         21.1
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

Stated interest on debt obligations increased $3.7 million to $23.0 million during the year ended December 31, 2012, compared to the prior year. This increase was primarily due to higher outstanding loan balances, which increased as a result of our increased purchase volumes.

Other income and expense

During the year ended December 31, 2012, total other income was $1.7 million. Total other income consisted primarily of other service income from our tax lien transfer operating segment. During the year ended December 31, 2011, we incurred other expense of $0.4 million. This expense was primarily attributable to our revaluation of foreign currency monetary assets and liabilities held by our India subsidiary.

Provision for income taxes

During the year ended December 31, 2012, we recorded an income tax provision of $51.8 million, reflecting an effective rate of 39.7% of pretax income from continuing operations. The effective tax rate for the year ended December 31, 2012 primarily consisted of a provision for federal income taxes of 32.7% (which is net of a benefit for state taxes of 2.3%), a provision for state taxes of 6.6% and a net provision for the effect of permanent book versus tax differences of 0.4%.

During the year ended December 31, 2011, we recorded an income tax provision of $38.1 million, reflecting an effective rate of 38.6% of pretax income from continuing operations. The effective tax rate for the year ended December 31, 2011 primarily consisted of a provision for federal income taxes of 32.7% (which is net of a benefit for state taxes of 2.3%), a provision for state taxes of 6.5%, and a net benefit for the effect of permanent book versus tax differences of 0.6%.

 

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Table of Contents

Year Ended December 31, 2011 Compared to Year Ended December 31, 2010

Revenues

The following tables summarize collections, revenue, end of period receivable balance and other related supplemental data, by year of purchase from our portfolio purchasing and recovery segment (in thousands, except percentages):

 

     Year Ended December 31, 2011     As of
December 31, 2011
 
     Collections(1)      Gross
Revenue(2)
     Revenue
Recognition
Rate(3)
    Net
Reversal

(Portfolio
Allowance)
    Revenue
% of Total
Revenue
    Unamortized
Balances
     Monthly
IRR
 

ZBA

   $ 20,609       $ 16,171         78.5   $ 4,448        3.5   $ —          —    

2004

     1,462         196         13.4     102        0.0     —          —    

2005

     18,276         8,492         46.5     771        1.9     8,304         5.7

2006

     18,294         13,958         76.3     (7,160     3.0     17,394         5.1

2007

     38,654         23,578         61.0     (4,564     5.1     18,483         5.1

2008

     87,083         49,985         57.4     (4,420     10.9     58,249         5.4

2009

     164,358         105,080         63.9     —         22.9     88,436         8.0

2010

     288,679         169,588         58.7     —         36.9     190,948         6.5

2011

     123,596         72,489         58.6     —         15.8     334,640         4.2
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

    

 

 

 

Total

   $ 761,011       $ 459,537         60.4   $ (10,823     100.0   $ 716,454         5.5
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

    

 

 

 

 

     Year Ended December 31, 2010     As of
December 31, 2010
 
     Collections(1)      Gross
Revenue(2)
     Revenue
Recognition
Rate(3)
    Net
Reversal

(Portfolio
Allowance)
    Revenue
% of Total
Revenue
    Unamortized
Balances
     Monthly
IRR
 

ZBA

   $ 10,590       $ 9,689         91.5   $ 901        2.5   $ —          —    

2002

     417         —          0.0     417        0.0     —          —    

2003

     3,215         759         23.6     1,829        0.2     —          —    

2004

     7,799         2,822         36.2     1,553        0.7     1,166         6.6

2005

     27,034         16,301         60.3     (2,750     4.2     17,315         5.6

2006

     26,185         21,592         82.5     (9,605     5.6     28,890         5.1

2007

     70,569         44,689         63.3     (4,527     11.6     38,302         7.5

2008

     126,496         78,579         62.1     (10,027     20.3     99,802         5.1

2009

     206,360         135,096         65.5     —         35.0     147,830         6.4

2010

     125,729         76,976         61.2     —         19.9     311,448         4.2
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

    

 

 

 

Total

   $ 604,394       $ 386,503         63.9   $ (22,209     100.0   $ 644,753         5.1
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

    

 

 

 

 

(1) 

Does not include amounts collected on behalf of others.

(2) 

Gross revenue excludes the effects of net portfolio allowance or net portfolio allowance reversals.

(3) 

Revenue recognition rate excludes the effects of net portfolio allowance or net portfolio allowance reversals.

Revenue from receivable portfolios was $448.7 million for the year ended December 31, 2011, an increase of $84.4 million, or 23.2%, compared to portfolio revenue of $364.3 million for the year ended December 31, 2010. The increase in portfolio revenue for the year ended December 31, 2011 was primarily the result of additional accretion revenue associated with a higher portfolio balance and lower net portfolio allowance provision during the year ended December 31, 2011, compared to the year ended December 31, 2010. During the year ended December 31, 2011, we recorded a net portfolio allowance provision of $10.8 million, compared to a net portfolio allowance provision of $22.2 million in the prior year. The portfolio allowances for the years ended December 31, 2011 and 2010 were largely due to a shortfall in collections in certain pool groups against our

 

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forecast. While our total collections exceeded our forecast, there is often variability at the pool group level between our actual collections and our forecasted collections, primarily our 2006 through 2008 vintage portfolios. This is the result of several factors, including pressures on our consumers due to a weakened economy, changes in internal operating strategies, shifts in consumer payment patterns, and the inherent challenge of forecasting collections at the pool group level.

Operating Expenses

Total operating expenses were $328.6 million for the year ended December 31, 2011, an increase of $58.6 million, or 21.7%, compared to total operating expenses of $270.0 million for the year ended December 31, 2010.

Operating expenses are explained in more detail as follows:

Salaries and employee benefits

Total salaries and employee benefits increased $13.7 million, or 21.4%, to $77.8 million during the year ended December 31, 2011, from $64.1 million during the year ended December 31, 2010. The increase was primarily the result of increased headcount to support our growth. Salaries and employee benefits related to our internal legal channel were approximately $2.6 million and $0.1 million for the years ended December 31, 2011 and 2010, respectively.

Stock-based compensation increased $1.7 million, or 28.3%, to $7.7 million during the year ended December 31, 2011, from $6.0 million during the year ended December 31, 2010. This increase was primarily attributable to the higher fair value of equity awards granted in recent periods due to an increase in our stock price.

Cost of legal collections

The cost of legal collections increased $36.0 million, or 29.7%, to $157.1 million during year ended December 31, 2011, compared to $121.1 million during the year ended December 31, 2010. These costs represent contingent fees paid to our nationwide network of attorneys and costs of litigation. The increase in the cost of legal collections was primarily the result of an increase of $26.8 million in contingent fees paid to our network of attorneys related to an increase of $110.7 million, or 41.5%, in gross collections through our legal channel, in addition to an increase of $9.5 million in upfront litigation costs expensed during the period. Gross legal collections amounted to $377.5 million during the year ended December 31, 2011, up from $266.8 million collected during the year ended December 31, 2010. During the year ended December 31, 2011, the cost of legal collections decreased as a percent of gross collections through this channel to 41.6% from 45.4% during the year ended December 31, 2010, as a result of improvements in our ability to more accurately and consistently identify those consumers with the financial means to repay their obligations.

The following table summarizes our legal collection channel performance and related direct costs (in thousands, except percentages):

 

     Year Ended December 31,  
     2011     2010  

Collections(1)

   $ 377,455        100.0   $ 266,762        100.0
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Court costs advanced

   $ 95,672        25.4   $ 74,758        28.0

Court costs deferred

     (43,664     (11.6 )%      (32,247     (12.1 )% 
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Court cost expense(2)

     52,008        13.8     42,511        15.9

Other(3)

     2,029        0.5     2,403        0.9

Commissions

     103,013        27.3     76,171        28.6
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Total Costs

   $ 157,050        41.6   $ 121,085        45.4
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

 

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(1) 

Collections include approximately $2.3 million from our internal legal channel for the year ended December 31, 2011. We had no collections through our internal legal channel during the year ended December 31, 2010.

(2) 

In connection with our agreement with contracted attorneys, we advance certain out-of-pocket court costs. We capitalize these costs in our consolidated financial statements and provide a reserve and corresponding court cost expense for the costs that we believe will be ultimately uncollectible. This amount includes changes in our anticipated recovery rate of court costs expensed. This amount also includes court costs expensed through our internal legal channel of approximately $1.7 million for the year ended December 31, 2011. We did not incur court costs through our internal legal channel during the year ended December 31, 2010.

(3) 

Other costs consist of costs related to counter claims and legal network subscription fees.

Other operating expenses

Other operating expenses increased $3.6 million, or 11.4%, to $35.7 million during the year ended December 31, 2011, from $32.1 million during the year ended December 31, 2010. The increase was primarily the result of an increase of $1.0 million in direct mail campaign expenses, an increase of $0.8 million in telephone expenses, an increase of $0.5 million in recruiting expenses, and a net increase in various other operating expenses of $1.3 million, all to support our growth.

Collection agency commissions

During the year ended December 31, 2011, we incurred $14.2 million in commissions to third party collection agencies, or 29.7% of the related gross collections of $47.7 million, compared to $20.4 million in commissions, or 30.0% of the related gross collections of $68.0 million during the year ended December 31, 2010. The decline in commissions and collections in this channel is part of our strategy to place more accounts internally to reduce our overall cost to collect. The decrease in the net commission rate as a percentage of the related gross collections was primarily due to the mix of accounts placed with the agencies. Commissions, as a percentage of collections through this channel, vary from period to period depending on, among other things, the time from charge-off of the accounts placed with an agency. Generally, freshly charged-off accounts have a lower commission rate than accounts that have been charged off for a longer period of time.

General and administrative expenses

General and administrative expenses increased $10.0 million, or 33.4%, to $39.8 million during the year ended December 31, 2011, from $29.8 million during the year ended December 31, 2010. The increase was primarily the result of an increase of $3.8 million in litigation and corporate legal expenses associated with governmental investigations or inquiries and litigation, an increase of $1.3 million in building rent, an increase of $0.9 million in consulting fees, an increase of $0.9 million in system maintenance costs, and a net increase in other general and administrative expenses of $3.1 million, primarily to support our growth.

Depreciation and amortization

Depreciation and amortization expense increased $1.5 million, or 59.9%, to $4.1 million during the year ended December 31, 2011, from $2.6 million during the year ended December 31, 2010. The increase was primarily due to increased depreciation expenses resulted from our acquisition of fixed assets in the current and prior years.

 

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Cost per Dollar Collected

The following table summarizes our cost per dollar collected (in thousands, except percentages):

 

    Year Ended December 31,  
    2011     2010  
    Collections     Cost     Cost Per
Channel
Dollar
Collected
    Cost Per
Total
Dollar
Collected
    Collections     Cost     Cost Per
Channel
Dollar
Collected
    Cost Per
Total
Dollar
Collected
 

Legal networks(1)

  $ 377,455      $ 157,050 (1)      41.6     20.6   $ 266,762      $ 121,085 (1)      45.4     20.0

Collection sites(2)

    335,992        25,112        7.5     3.3     268,205        24,312        9.1     4.0

Collection agencies

    47,657        14,162        29.7     1.9     68,042        20,385        30.0     3.4

Other

    54        —         —         —         1,600        —         —         —    

Other indirect costs(3)

    —         124,533        —         16.4     —         98,160        —         16.3
 

 

 

   

 

 

     

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

     

 

 

 

Total

  $ 761,158      $ 320,857 (4)        42.2   $ 604,609      $ 263,942 (4)        43.7
 

 

 

   

 

 

     

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

     

 

 

 

 

(1) 

Collections include approximately $2.3 million from our internal legal channel for the year ended December 31, 2011. Costs include court costs expensed through our internal legal channel of approximately $1.7 million for the year ended December 31, 2011. We had no collections and did not incur any court costs through our internal legal channel during the year ended December 31, 2010.

(2) 

Cost in collection sites represents only account managers and their supervisors’ salaries, variable compensation, and employee benefits.

(3) 

Other indirect costs represent non-collection site salaries and employee benefits, general and administrative expenses, other operating expenses and depreciation and amortization. Included in other indirect costs were costs related to our internal legal channel of approximately $3.8 million and $0.3 million for the years ended December 31, 2011 and 2010, respectively.

(4) 

Represents all operating expenses, excluding stock-based compensation expense. We include this information in order to facilitate a comparison of approximate cash costs to cash collections for the debt purchasing business in the periods presented. Refer to the “Non-GAAP Disclosure” section for further details.

During the year ended December 31, 2011, cost per dollar collected decreased by 150 basis points to 42.2% of gross collections from 43.7% of gross collections during the year ended December 31, 2010. This decrease was primarily due to several factors, including:

 

   

The costs from our collection sites, including account managers and their supervisors’ salaries, variable compensation and employee benefits, as a percentage of total collections, decreased to 3.3% during the year ended December 31, 2011, from 4.0% during the year ended December 31, 2010 and, as a percentage of our site collections, decreased to 7.5% during the year ended December 31, 2011, from 9.1% during the year ended December 31, 2010. The decrease was primarily due to the continued growth of our collection workforce in India.

 

   

Collection agency commissions, as a percentage of total collections, decreased to 1.9% during the year ended December 31, 2011, from 3.4% during the year ended December 31, 2010. The decrease in the percentage of commissions to total collections was due to our strategy to place more accounts internally, resulting in a significant decline in collections through this channel. Commissions as a percentage of channel collections declined to 29.7% during the year ended December 31, 2011, as compared to 30.0% during the prior year due to the mix of accounts placed in this channel.

The decrease was slightly offset by:

 

   

An increase in cost of legal collections, as a percent of total collections, to 20.6% during the year ended December 31, 2011, from 20.0% during the year ended December 31, 2010. The increase in the cost of legal collections to total collections was due to collections in our legal channel growing at a rate faster than total collections. Cost per dollar collected in this channel declined to 41.6% during the year ended December 31, 2011, from 45.4% during the prior year. This decrease was primarily the result of improvements in our ability to more accurately and consistently identify those consumers with the financial means to repay their obligations (see “Cost of legal collections” section above for details).

 

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Interest expense

The following table summarizes our interest expense (in thousands, except percentages):

 

     Year Ended December 31,  
     2011      2010      $ Change     % Change  

Stated interest on debt obligations

   $ 19,283       $ 15,667       $ 3,616        23.1

Amortization of loan fees and other loan costs

     1,833         1,669         164        9.7

Amortization of debt discount—convertible notes

     —          2,013         (2,013     (100.0 )% 
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

   

Total interest expense

   $ 21,116       $ 19,349       $ 1,767        9.1
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

   

Stated interest on debt obligations increased $3.6 million to $19.3 million during the year ended December 31, 2011, compared to the prior year. This increase was primarily due to higher interest rates on our senior secured notes, offset by lower outstanding loan balances under our revolving credit facility.

Other income and expense

During the year ended December 31, 2011, we incurred other expense of $0.4 million. This expense was primarily attributable to our revaluation of foreign currency monetary assets and liabilities held by our India subsidiary. During the year ended December 31, 2010, total other income was $0.3 million. This was primarily the result of a $0.3 million gain recognized in connection with the early termination of a contract.

Provision for income taxes

During the year ended December 31, 2011, we recorded an income tax provision of $38.1 million, reflecting an effective rate of 38.6% of pretax income from continuing operations. The effective tax rate for the year ended December 31, 2011 primarily consisted of a provision for federal income taxes of 32.7% (which is net of a benefit for state taxes of 2.3%), a provision for state taxes of 6.5%, and a net benefit for the effect of permanent book versus tax differences of 0.6%.

During the year ended December 31, 2010, we recorded an income tax provision of $28.0 million, reflecting an effective rate of 37.1% of pretax income from continuing operations. The effective tax rate for the year ended December 31, 2010 primarily consisted of a provision for federal income taxes of 32.7% (which is net of a benefit for state taxes of 2.3%), a provision for state taxes of 6.7%, a 0.6% beneficial adjustment to federal taxes payable as a result of state tax true ups, and a net benefit for the effect of permanent book versus tax differences of 1.7%.

 

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Supplemental Performance Data

Cumulative Collections to Purchase Price Multiple

The following table summarizes our purchases and related gross collections by year of purchase (in thousands, except multiples):

 

Year of
Purchase

  Purchase
Price(1)
    Cumulative Collections through December 31, 2012  
    <2006     2006     2007     2008     2009     2010     2011     2012     Total(2)     CCM(3)  

Charged-off consumer receivables:

  

<2005

  $ 385,469 (4)    $ 974,411      $ 164,211      $ 85,333      $ 45,893      $ 27,708      $ 19,986      $ 15,180      $ 11,461      $ 1,344,183        3.5   

2005

    192,585        66,491        129,809        109,078        67,346        42,387        27,210        18,651        12,669        473,641        2.5   

2006

    141,027        —         42,354        92,265        70,743        44,553        26,201        18,306        12,825        307,247        2.2   

2007

    204,067        —         —         68,048        145,272        111,117        70,572        44,035        29,619        468,663        2.3   

2008

    227,787        —         —         —         69,049        165,164        127,799        87,850        59,507        509,369        2.2   

2009

    253,330        —         —         —         —         96,529        206,773        164,605        111,569        579,476        2.3   

2010

    346,115        —         —         —         —         —         125,465        284,541        215,088        625,094        1.8   

2011

    383,143        —         —         —         —         —         —         122,224        300,536        422,760        1.1   

2012

    477,500        —         —         —         —         —         —         —         186,472        186,472        0.4   
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Subtotal

  $ 2,611,023      $ 1,040,902      $ 336,374      $ 354,724      $ 398,303      $ 487,458      $ 604,006      $ 755,392      $ 939,746      $ 4,916,905        1.9   
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Purchased bankruptcy receivables:

  

2010

  $ 11,975      $ —       $ —       $ —       $ —       $ —       $ 388      $ 4,247      $ 5,598      $ 10,233        0.9   

2011

    1,644        —         —         —         —         —         —         1,372        1,413        2,785        1.7   

2012

    83,578        —         —         —         —         —         —         —         1,249        1,249        0.0   
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Subtotal

  $ 97,197      $ —       $ —       $ —       $ —       $ —       $ 388      $ 5,619      $ 8,260      $ 14,267        0.1   
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Total

  $ 2,708,220      $ 1,040,902      $ 336,374      $ 354,724      $ 398,303      $ 487,458      $ 604,394      $ 761,011      $ 948,006      $ 4,931,172        1.8   
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

 

(1) 

Adjusted for put-backs and account recalls. Put-backs represent accounts that are returned to the seller in accordance with the respective purchase agreement (“Put-Backs”). Recalls represent accounts that are recalled by the seller in accordance with the respective purchase agreement (“Recalls”).

(2) 

Cumulative collections from inception through December 31, 2012, excluding collections on behalf of others.

(3) 

Cumulative Collections Multiple (“CCM”) through December 31, 2012—collections as a multiple of purchase price.

(4) 

From inception through December 31, 2004.

Total Estimated Collections to Purchase Price Multiple

The following table summarizes our purchases, resulting historical gross collections, and estimated remaining gross collections, by year of purchase (in thousands, except multiples):

 

     Purchase  Price(1)     Historical
Collections(2)
     Estimated
Remaining
Collections(3)
     Total Estimated
Gross Collections
     Total Estimated Gross
Collections to
Purchase Price
 

Charged-off consumer receivables:

             

<2005

   $ 385,469 (4)    $ 1,344,183       $ —         $ 1,344,183         3.5   

2005

     192,585        473,641         7,442         481,083         2.5   

2006

     141,027        307,247         15,527         322,774         2.3   

2007

     204,067        468,663         33,654         502,317         2.5   

2008

     227,787        509,369         82,192         591,561         2.6   

2009

     253,330        579,476         164,009         743,485         2.9   

2010

     346,115        625,094         328,981         954,075         2.8   

2011

     383,143        422,760         493,603         916,363         2.4   

2012

     477,500        186,472         724,514         910,986         1.9   
  

 

 

   

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

Subtotal

   $ 2,611,023      $ 4,916,905       $ 1,849,922       $ 6,766,827         2.6   
  

 

 

   

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

Purchased bankruptcy receivables:

             

2010

   $ 11,975      $ 10,233       $ 12,593       $ 22,826         1.9   

2011

     1,644        2,785         1,014         3,799         2.3   

2012

     83,578        1,249         103,445         104,694         1.3   
  

 

 

   

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

Subtotal

   $ 97,197      $ 14,267       $ 117,052       $ 131,319         1.4   
  

 

 

   

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

Total

   $ 2,708,220      $ 4,931,172       $ 1,966,974       $ 6,898,146         2.5   
  

 

 

   

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

 

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Table of Contents

 

(1) 

Adjusted for Put-Backs and Recalls.

(2) 

Cumulative collections from inception through December 31, 2012, excluding collections on behalf of others.

(3)

Estimated remaining collections for charged off consumer receivables includes $101.7 million related to accounts that converted to bankruptcy after purchase.

(4) 

From inception through December 31, 2004.

Estimated Remaining Gross Collections by Year of Purchase

The following table summarizes our estimated remaining gross collections by year of purchase (in thousands):

 

    Estimated Remaining Gross Collections by Year of Purchase(1), (2)  
    2013     2014     2015     2016     2017     2018     2019     2020     2021     2022     Total  

Charged-off consumer receivables:

  

2005

  $ 4,534      $ 2,201      $ 707      $ —       $ —       $ —       $ —       $ —       $ —       $ —       $ 7,442   

2006

    8,976        4,429        1,494        628        —         —         —         —         —         —         15,527   

2007

    17,923        9,059        3,887        2,194        591        —         —         —         —         —         33,654   

2008

    37,370        22,290        12,063        6,247        2,981        1,241        —         —         —         —         82,192   

2009

    61,277        45,481        25,569        15,766        9,956        4,293        1,667        —         —         —         164,009   

2010

    118,914        84,759        54,805        32,745        19,986        9,090        6,048        2,634        —         —         328,981   

2011

    178,889        125,601        79,281        48,613        27,794        16,264        8,672        6,020        2,469        —         493,603   

2012

    244,992        199,237        115,419        69,876        41,404        24,831        16,531        6,618        4,539        1,067        724,514   
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Subtotal

  $ 672,875      $ 493,057      $ 293,225      $ 176,069      $ 102,712      $ 55,719      $ 32,918      $ 15,272      $ 7,008      $ 1,067      $ 1,849,922   
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Purchased bankruptcy receivables:

  

2010

  $ 4,914      $ 4,063      $ 2,761      $ 855      $ —       $ —       $ —       $ —       $ —       $ —       $ 12,593   

2011

    788        110        69        43        4        —         —         —         —         —         1,014   

2012

    22,171        22,796        21,002        16,610        11,562        9,304        —         —         —         —         103,445   
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Subtotal

  $ 27,873      $ 26,969      $ 23,832      $ 17,508      $ 11,566      $ 9,304      $ —       $ —       $ —       $ —       $ 117,052   
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Total

  $ 700,748      $ 520,026      $ 317,057      $ 193,577      $ 114,278      $ 65,023      $ 32,918      $ 15,272      $ 7,008      $ 1,067      $ 1,966,974   
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

 

(1) 

Estimated remaining collections for Zero Basis Portfolios can extend beyond our collection forecasts.

(2) 

Estimated remaining collections for charged off consumer receivables includes $101.7 million related to accounts that converted to bankruptcy after purchase.

Unamortized Balances of Portfolios

The following table summarizes the remaining unamortized balances of our purchased receivable portfolios by year of purchase (in thousands, except percentages):

 

     Unamortized
Balance as of
December 31, 2012
     Purchase
Price(1)
     Unamortized
Balance as a
Percentage of
Purchase Price
    Unamortized
Balance as a
Percentage
of Total
 

Charged-off consumer receivables:

          

2005

   $ 2,115       $ 192,585         1.1     0.3

2006

     8,238         141,027         5.8     1.1

2007

     10,449         204,067         5.1     1.3

2008

     34,316         227,787         15.1     4.3

2009

     47,230         253,330         18.6     6.0

2010

     97,533         346,115         28.2     12.5

2011

     195,477         383,143         51.0     25.0

2012

     387,918         477,500         81.2     49.5
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

   

 

 

 

Subtotal

   $ 783,276       $ 2,225,554         35.2     100.0
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

   

 

 

 

Purchased bankruptcy receivables:

          

2010

   $ 6,933       $ 11,975         57.9     7.7

2011

     152         1,644         9.2     0.2

2012

     82,758         83,578         99.0     92.1
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

   

 

 

 

Subtotal

   $ 89,843       $ 97,197         92.4     100.0
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

   

 

 

 

Total

   $ 873,119       $ 2,322,751         37.6     100.0
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

   

 

 

 

 

(1) 

Purchase price refers to the cash paid to a seller to acquire a portfolio less Put-Backs, plus an allocation of our forward flow asset (if applicable), and less the purchase price for accounts that were sold at the time of purchase to another debt purchaser.

 

51


Table of Contents

Changes in the Investment in Receivable Portfolios

Revenue related to our investment in receivable portfolios comprises two groups. First, revenue from those portfolios that have a remaining book value and are accounted for on the accrual basis (“Accrual Basis Portfolios”), and second, revenue from those portfolios that have fully recovered their book value Zero Basis Portfolios and, therefore, every dollar of gross collections is recorded entirely as Zero Basis Revenue. If the amount and timing of future cash collections on a pool of receivables are not reasonably estimable, we account for such portfolios on the cost recovery method (“Cost Recovery Portfolios”). No revenue is recognized on Cost Recovery Portfolios until the cost basis has been fully recovered, at which time they become Zero Basis Portfolios.

The following tables summarize the changes in the balance of the investment in receivable portfolios and the proportion of revenue recognized as a percentage of collections (in thousands, except percentages):

 

     Year Ended December 31, 2012  
     Accrual Basis
Portfolios
    Cost Recovery
Portfolios
    Zero Basis
Portfolios
    Total  

Balance, beginning of period

   $ 716,454      $ —       $ —       $ 716,454   

Purchases of receivable portfolios

     562,335        —         —         562,335   

Gross collections(1)

     (921,730     —         (26,276     (948,006

Put-backs and recalls

     (3,076     —         —         (3,076

Revenue recognized

     518,617        —         22,574        541,191   

Portfolio allowances reversals, net

     519        —         3,702        4,221   
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Balance, end of period

   $ 873,119      $ —       $ —       $ 873,119   
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Revenue as a percentage of collections(2)