Colombian Bill Collector Diego Arboleda offers valuable insights into the profession


Sept. 26, 2013

Reykjavik, Iceland ( — recently caught up with Colombian bill collector Diego Arboleda and put some questions to him about the personal and professional sides of the trade.

Arboleda holds a degree in political science with emphasis on business administration from Los Andes University, Bogotá, Colombia, and is currently the president of Interia Cartera Empresarial S.A.S. He has been active in the collection industry for over twenty years.


DEBITUM.BIZ: So, Mr. Arboleda, how did you end up in debt collection?
ARBOLEDA: Well … it was a natural extension to the business credit reporting services we were providing at the time. We knew how sound credit decisions do not guarantee payment and how ensuing credit management and debt recovery efforts can make a huge difference in the end result. With this in mind, we decided to support our clients with quality collection and recovery services.


DEBITUM.BIZ: What would you say are the three most important qualities for a successful debt collector?
ARBOLEDA: That’s a good question. In my experience, I would say good listening skills, persistence, and creativity are absolutely vital if a collector is going to be effective and ultimately successful.


DEBITUM.BIZ: Can you say a few words about how your family and friends view your job?
ARBOLEDA: Sure, that’s easy. Like most people, they simply don’t understand it!


DEBITUM.BIZ: Tell us why you like your job?
ARBOLEDA: Results depend very much on doing things correctly. If the job is done well, recovery probabilities are much higher; if efforts are sloppy and disorderly, the chances of recovery are very poor. There is something deeply gratifying, therefore, about doing the job well.

Furthermore, there is always room for improvement and coming up with new ways of doing things. I simply love innovation, generating new ideas, and developing new procedures and strategies, always of course with more efficiency and quality.


DEBITUM.BIZ: What role do you see credit playing in your clients’ businesses?
ARBOLEDA: As professional service providers in the commercial credit collection industry, we see credit as part of our client’s marketing mix. Our clients see credit as part of their competitive advantage, or at least as a means of remaining competitive. Many do not manage their credit function as professionally as they should though, so we see ourselves as supporting their business processes for optimum performance and return.


DEBITUM.BIZ: How would you define a debtor?
ARBOLEDA: Like creditors, debtors vary from case to case, but generally I would say a debtor is someone who stands in a negative relation to their finances. I would even go so far as to say that being overdue in debt is fundamentally a question of attitude—namely, a negative attitude to a difficult financial situation. When we contact a debtor, for instance, we work on their attitude even as we undertake specific collection procedures.


DEBITUM.BIZ: Can you describe your job in a few sentences?
ARBOLEDA: A tough one. We see ourselves as an extension of our clients’ credit and collection departments. In other words, we operate in partnership with them with the aim of preventing current accounts from becoming past due, recovering past due accounts, and reducing write-offs to a minimum.


DEBITUM.BIZ: What would you say has been the most striking debt collection story that you have come across in your time as a debt collector?
ARBOLEDA: Well there have been many claims that have, in hindsight, become interesting stories, but probably the most striking one for me can be found right on our own company’s doorstep.

Interia started up in the year 1985 as a division of the leading business credit information services company in Colombia. But because the division was not a part of the company’s core business, it could never really fully develop to its potential. Prior to the sale of the information business to a credit bureau, the collections division was carved out and made into an independent company with the same shareholders and the same employees in collections.

But the new company faced many challenging situations as suddenly it had to stand on its own feet, with considerable overhead, significant loss, recoveries well below expectations, and commercial efforts coming up short. We even considered liquidation and were forced to downsize by letting non-essential personnel go and doing away with superfluous functions. Management also took the policy of not trying to acquire any new clients until recoveries and services were up to industry standards. Our focus was placed squarely on adjusting our business and collection processes and developing relations to existing clients.

And since then? Well, I am happy to report that operational statistics on recoveries for 2012 doubled from the previous year, and 2013 has seen record figures in our operational accounts. Such outstanding results illustrate the dramatic difference between then and now and also testify to the soundness of our collection processes.

Needless to say, clients, employees, and shareholders are very happy we stayed the course. So what is the moral of the story? Well, I think it’s that collection efforts need to be scrupulously attended to and that operating a credit department as a mere necessity, without giving it the importance it requires, is a recipe for failure. Focus, persistence, and creativity need to take centre stage if a collection enterprise is going to be successful.


DEBITUM.BIZ: What do you consider to be the most challenging issues for Colombian debt collectors in 2014?
ARBOLEDA: Okay. The first thing one has to realize is that our economy is subject to frequent and volatile fluctuations. This in turn gives rise to bad debt. The big challenges here are the lack of information and excessive consumer protection, both of which help bad debtors avoid contact with their creditors and evade creditors’ collection efforts.

Another challenge for Colombian collectors is of course the legal system in the country. I think it is safe to say that the system here is somewhat of a farce and as such has become pretty much a non-option for equitable debt settlement.


DEBITUM.BIZ: What laws does your country need to introduce in order to improve the situation of creditors?
ARBOLEDA: I would give my full-throated support to regulations similar to those found in the EU—those that punish past due debt and support creditors. That said, I don’t think such regulations will be implemented here any time soon.

DEBITUM.BIZ: How do you think changes in interest rates influence debtors’ behaviour?
ARBOLEDA: The most obvious thing to say here is that low rates encourage debt and that cheap debt can easily go awry if rates shoot up again. Furthermore, negative credit information can only be maintained during the period before a limitation becomes active. Debtors benefit therefore from shorter periods of debtorship as they can get a fresh start after the time limit expires. More often than not, a chronically bad debtor uses this to his, her, or its advantage.


DEBITUM.BIZ: We are coming to the end of our questions now. Just a few more. Can you tell us how computerization has influenced your company?
ARBOLEDA: Yes, of course. Computerization has provided for much better controls, follow-up, and overall efficiency through standardization. As a tool in the business credit collection industry, however, a computer has its limitations, especially when it comes to crafting a personalized approach to every creditor and every debtor. What is required here are soft skills such as those I mentioned earlier: listening skills, persistence, and creativity.


DEBITUM.BIZ: Is it easy for you to find employees with the right profile for debt collection?
ARBOLEDA: It certainly is not. Good collectors are few and far between.


DEBITUM.BIZ: And now for the last question. When are field agents normally sent out for on-site visits in Colombia?
ARBOLEDA: This varies from case to case, but generally visits are normally undertaken when debtors are clearly evading contact or when we don’t have sufficient contact information on the debtor.


DEBITUM.BIZ: Well, that’ll be all for now. Thank you very much for your time and your illuminating answers. I’m sure our readers have a much better insight now into the life of a Colombian bill collector.
ARBOLEDA: You’re most welcome. My pleasure.


Mr. Arbolede may be contacted at darboleda(at) For more information on Interia Cartera Empresarial S.A.S., please visit


  1. Pingback: Micheal

  2. Pingback: Gregory Smith

  3. Pingback: частный займ денег

  4. Pingback: займы на счет

  5. Pingback: chapter 7 bankruptcy

  6. Pingback: chapter 13 bankruptcy rules

  7. Pingback: filing bankruptcy

  8. Pingback: chapter 11 bankruptcy

  9. Pingback: bankruptcy forms

  10. Pingback: bankruptcy lawyers

  11. Pingback: joel

  12. Pingback: Julian

  13. Pingback: Neil

  14. Pingback: donald

  15. Pingback: harold

  16. Pingback: jaime

  17. Pingback: stephen

  18. Pingback: nelson

  19. Pingback: Maurice

  20. Pingback: mario

  21. Pingback: jack

  22. Pingback: Robert

  23. Pingback: travis

  24. Pingback: enrique

  25. Pingback: cameron

  26. Pingback: dave

  27. Pingback: alvin

  28. Pingback: tyrone

  29. Pingback: Dwayne

  30. Pingback: Kurt

  31. Pingback: guy

  32. Pingback: eric

  33. Pingback: Glenn

  34. Pingback: Gordon

  35. Pingback: luis

  36. Pingback: bernard

  37. Pingback: Angelo

  38. Pingback: Harold

  39. Pingback: Mathew

  40. Pingback: Aaron

  41. Pingback: leon

  42. Pingback: gordon

  43. Pingback: Joel

  44. Pingback: marion

  45. Pingback: steven

  46. Pingback: dave

  47. Pingback: darrell

  48. Pingback: Christian

  49. Pingback: Ernest

  50. Pingback: Arnold

  51. Pingback: Michael

  52. Pingback: chad

  53. Pingback: Wendell

  54. Pingback: Tony

  55. Pingback: george

  56. Pingback: Frank

  57. Pingback: jeremy

  58. Pingback: craig

  59. Pingback: jaime

  60. Pingback: clifton

  61. Pingback: Bob

  62. Pingback: Victor

  63. Pingback: Alejandro

  64. Pingback: Paul

  65. Pingback: Carlos

  66. Pingback: Julius

  67. Pingback: shawn

  68. Pingback: Robert

  69. Pingback: Clifford

  70. Pingback: Lance

  71. Pingback: julian

  72. Pingback: Mitchell

  73. Pingback: ryan

  74. Pingback: Glen

  75. Pingback: james

  76. Pingback: Carlton

  77. Pingback: Ryan

  78. Pingback: joshua

  79. Pingback: dan

  80. Pingback: Gregory

  81. Pingback: Adam

  82. Pingback: maurice

  83. Pingback: Brandon

  84. Pingback: Robert

  85. Pingback: michael

  86. Pingback: Gene

  87. Pingback: ricky

  88. Pingback: gregory

  89. Pingback: Jim

  90. Pingback: phillip

  91. Pingback: salvador

  92. Pingback: tracy

  93. Pingback: lee

  94. Pingback: Gerald

  95. Pingback: dwayne

  96. Pingback: cory

  97. Pingback: trevor

  98. Pingback: Jared

  99. Pingback: daniel

  100. Pingback: luke

  101. Pingback: Nelson

  102. Pingback: kenny

  103. Pingback: Brent

  104. Pingback: Eduardo

  105. Pingback: Kelly

  106. Pingback: ricky

  107. Pingback: Carlos

  108. Pingback: clifton

  109. Pingback: Kent

  110. Pingback: Ricardo

  111. Pingback: evan

  112. Pingback: karl

  113. Pingback: Don

  114. Pingback: Wayne

  115. Pingback: Fredrick

  116. Pingback: tyrone

  117. Pingback: Harvey

  118. Pingback: Raul

  119. Pingback: rex

  120. Pingback: herman

  121. Pingback: angel

  122. Pingback: Brent

  123. Pingback: alejandro

  124. Pingback: jose

  125. Pingback: Leroy

  126. Pingback: Aaron

  127. Pingback: Carlos

  128. Pingback: marvin

  129. Pingback: Henry

  130. Pingback: darrell

  131. Pingback: warren

  132. Pingback: Shaun

  133. Pingback: lee

  134. Pingback: adam

  135. Pingback: Fred

  136. Pingback: andrew

  137. Pingback: bill

  138. Pingback: Brandon

  139. Pingback: Daniel

  140. Pingback: mario

  141. Pingback: andy

  142. Pingback: Maurice

  143. Pingback: bruce

  144. Pingback: Doug

  145. Pingback: trevor

  146. Pingback: Ted

  147. Pingback: gary

  148. Pingback: marc

  149. Pingback: Austin

  150. Pingback: Clarence

  151. Pingback: max

  152. Pingback: Chris

  153. Pingback: Jose

Comments are closed.