The Bail Bonds Industry Should Learn From The Banking Industry
Many in the bail bonds industry are happy to start a new year after a difficult 2010. The average bail bondsman faced pressure from things such as a harsh economic climate, increased regulatory scrutiny and unpopular pretrial release programs.
The issues are only compounded when the public and regulators read stories that portray bail bonds in a negative light. In 2010, there were quite a few. Last year headlines included everything from bondsmen changing bail bonds records at the courthouse to multiple instances of bail agents being arrested for improper solicitation. In one of the more shocking stories, a federal judge was removed from the bench by the U.S. Senate because he allegedly increased bail amounts to help a bail bondsman. In return the judge accepted trips, gifts and meals from the bondsman. This past year has given the industry some tough PR challenges to say the least.
Most of the public doesn't have an in depth understanding of what bail bondsmen do or how bail bonds work in the greater scheme of things. In a digital world of 30 second sound bites and access to overwhelming amounts of information 24 hours a day, their perception is shaped by the biggest headlines and splashiest news.
When news painting the industry in a negative light comes to the forefront, the entire bail bonds industry suffers. It makes potential clients more apprehensive, regulators more suspicious and pretrial release programs more attractive.
The Great Recession not only hurt the public economically, but it also damaged our collective pschye. As a nation we held certain institutions in high esteem and felt confident our interests were safeguarded. Entire industries that were once bedrocks of our economy and way of life, now fight a negative public perception of crime, corruption and morally bankrupt practices. It used to be prestigious to claim careers with nexus to banking, hedge funds or mortgages. Now those are considered four letter words. The public, which is still reeling, is calling for regulation and increased oversight. As a result, we've seen new laws enacted in record time and the creation of entirely new federal agencies.
Suspicion of business and a perception of a lax regulatory environment permeate all industries now. Unfortunately, bail bonds never carried the same prestige and reputation that other industries did. So a more suspicious public and regulatory community are more motivated now than ever before to impose additional regulations and levee sanctions or fines.Continued on the next page