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Interview: Joel Bernheim EVP of Asset Recovery Solutions, LLC

– Please tell us about yourself and / or your business?

Asset Recovery Solutions, LLC is a full-service asset recovery management company that is committed to establishing unmatched standards of performance. ARS is a strategic partner to many of the largest credit issuers in the country. We offer a full range of solutions across a vast array of asset classes that includes credit cards, student loans, consumer loan, automotive and retail. Our servicing platforms are enhanced by an outstanding team of employees as well as application of the latest technology to maximize performance on behalf of our partners.

– What inspired you to start your company?

The company that I had worked for previously was acquired by a Fortune 100 company. I was 46 years old at that time and possessed a lifetime of experience. I felt that it was ‘now or never’ if I was to venture out on my own, so rather than accepting a position with the company that acquired mine, I decided to take a leap of faith.

– How long have you been in business?

It will have been 11 years on March 2nd, 2020.

– What are some of the challenges you face in your industry?

The Asset Receivables Management industry is highly regulated. The cost of compliance in conjunction with fee compression over the last 10 years not only provides a large barrier to entry, but also creates high hurdles to profitability for existing ARM entities.

– How do you overcome those challenges?

We run the business very efficiently with whom I divide and conquer responsibilities. We each have unique skillsets and fortunately one of them is well versed in the art of negotiation. His ability to manage the expense side of our company is integral to our profitability. His desire and ability to hone in on the details of our expenses in an effort to mitigate is something that I appreciate each and every day.

– Favorite motivational quote?

‘The best way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing…’

– One thing that you are most proud of?

My kids.

– What inspires you?

We have approximately 150 employees with diverse socio-economic backgrounds. I feel  an obligation to push hard each and every day as those employees represent 150 families that Asset Recovery Solutions currently supports.

– What’s your favorite book?

The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference’ by Malcom Gladwell.  The book’s excerpt says it best;

‘ Blink is a book about how we think without thinking, about choices that seem to be made in an instant-in the blink of an eye-that actually aren’t as simple as they seem. Why are some people brilliant decision makers, while others are consistently inept? Why do some people follow their instincts and win, while others end up stumbling into error? How do our brains really work-in the office, in the classroom, in the kitchen, and in the bedroom? And why are the best decisions often those that are impossible to explain to others?’

– How do you balance business and home life?

This is an ongoing challenge. In the early stages of my career, I was admittedly terrible at maintaining any sort of balance. However, as the years went by, I found that the sacrifices I had made provided me with the current opportunities I have to be the type of husband and father that I always wanted to be.  Short term sacrifice for long term gain – this was the best I could do.

– What does a typical day look like for you?

I wake up at 6a to have coffee with my wife every morning. This is followed by 30-60 minutes at the gym and then I head into the office.  My workdays are extremely challenging and typically non-stop. I do not have time for breaks or to go out to lunch, so I bring healthy food options to nibble on throughout the day which helps me keep my energy up. I am a firm believer in the benefits of family dinners, so I am almost always home to have dinner with my family by 6:30p.

– One thing you’d like to achieve that you have not done yet.

To build the company in such a manner and scale so that it would be sustainable without my business partners and me. It is a great company and I would like to see it continue to flourish without me when I am ready to retire.

– Most desired vacation destination?

The island of Maui. It is the second largest of the Hawaiian Islands and is the 17th largest island in the United States. To be fair, I could take my family now, but my youngest are in school which means that they can only go at certain times of year such as winter and spring break. Unfortunately, the hotels and resorts significantly raise the prices during those times, and I cannot bring myself to pay those premiums.

– What are your future goals for yourself and / or your business?

To further diversify the company’s client and associated fee base. A distribution of fee across a variety of clientele representing various asset classes is the most effective means of protecting the company from the unknown. For example, many years ago one of our larger clients was acquired, this resulted in a significant loss of business for us at that time. The lesson learned was not to allow any one client to have too large of a footprint on our P&L.

– If you had to give startups or business owners any tips, what would they 
be?

  1. Take risks – be willing to fail
  2. Never stop networking
  3. Be flexible
  4. Take care of yourself

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Jan Hines

A startup nerd and compulsive writer, Jan provides streamline information on the hottest trends and news.

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