Some time ago, I attended an industry credit group meeting as a prospective member. The group was run by an NACM affiliate, but it was not run by Credit Management Association. Like every other industry credit group meeting, the President of the group read the antitrust statement, which was followed by introductions.
The group meeting proceeded normally for about half an hour. At that point, the discussion turned to a customer that everyone knew could be trouble for unsecured creditors. As you know, discussions must involve factual, historical information — and it is not permissible to discuss or even joke about creditors agreeing to take any joint action.
To my surprise, that was exactly where the discussion went. After about 30 seconds, I felt I had to make a comment. I said I thought the discussion had moved into an area that was out of bounds. I asked the Association representative for his input. He said the discussion was within the antitrust guidelines. I disagreed and when the discussion continued, I left. Was that too dramatic? I don’t think so.
After I left, I documented what had been discussed. I shared the information with my manager and our company’s attorney knowing that both civil and criminal penalties can be imposed for violation of federal or state antitrust laws! If I did not participate in the discussion or in the collusion, does that mean I get a free
pass? So what would you do in the same situation? Did I overreact? Does anyone have a similar experience?
Michael Dennis’ Covering Credit Commentary. Michael’s website is www.coveringcredit.com.
The opinions presented are those of the author. The opinions and recommendations do not necessarily reflect the views of CMA, or their Officers and Directors. Readers are encouraged to evaluate any suggestions or recommendations made, and accept and adopt only those concepts that make sense to them.