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Credit Q&A – Mike Denson

What is your background?
My first collection job was in 1971 right after serving in the United States Marine Corp for 4 years.  I graduated from the City University of New York – Brooklyn College with a degree in Business Administration, and then attended PACE University in White Plains a few years later and majored in accounting.

How did you first enter the field of credit and collections?
No one aspires to be in the credit & collections field.  You fall into it.  After the military, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with my life, except that I knew that I had to earn my way.  I was a street smart kid who knew how to work with people.  An uncle suggested that I go to work for a finance company in Brooklyn, collecting on personal loans.  There were no real Fair Credit rules at the time and things were done differently than they are now.  It helped that I had a New York attitude, swag and determination.

Over the decades of working in credit & collections for various companies, I still have a passion for what I do.  I began in the media industry in the mid 80’s and have been involved ever since.

What is your job title and what are your responsibilities?
My job title is Director of Credit Services and I manage two credit groups for ABC-Amega: NMCP (National Media Credit Professionals) and PGI (Print & Graphics Industry Credit Executives).  NMCP is comprised of approximately 50 member companies around the country, of which the members are the credit managers of the media companies. PGI is currently a small group of credit managers who primarily represent paper merchants in the Northeast.  In addition, I work closely with the groups’ Executive Boards and am responsible for organizing all monthly meetings, events and securing speakers for all monthly educational sessions.

Can you describe your typical work day?
First off, every day is different and in some cases, they are adventures.  Often times at the end of the day, I’m at the point of where I wanted to be at the beginning of the day.  There are always challenges that come up that distract you and lead in other directions.

What would you say has been your greatest accomplishments in this industry?
Over the years, I have had a number of great accomplishments. The best, however, has been my ability to learn and grow from working with people from a variety of different companies and industries.  This is a relationship business, and I’ve been able to build many great and lasting relationships.  I keep in touch with the members of the credit groups on a regular basis and still stay in touch with some people that I worked with at other companies.  It’s amazing to me that people still call me to ask my opinions about how to handle certain credit, collection and life situations.  Some of these people are seasoned professionals.  It’s always good to get a different perspective on tricky situations.  I’m also proud of my ability to get things done.

Where do you see yourself in the profession in five years?
Sitting on a beach along with my wife with tropical drinks in our hands with little umbrellas in them and listening to local island music. I moved to the west coast of Florida in 2017 to be near my daughter, son-in-law and 3 grandkids, so I’m partially on my way!

What advice would you give someone thinking of entering the field?
In my opinion, you need to have a certain personality to be successful in collecting money and making tough credit decisions.  Not everyone is comfortable doing this.
If you are that person, learn whatever you can about the company and industry.  Don’t be afraid to ask questions, no matter how silly you think they are.  That’s the only way to learn what you may not know. Speak to others to hear their perspectives.  However, the decision is yours to decide what direction you will take and how successful you will be.

We are all sales organizations for the most part.  Always look for a way to say “yes”, while still maintaining a comfortable balance of risk.