NAPBS 2010 Mid Year Meeting Recap

NAPBS 2010 Mid Year Meeting Recap Torrey Pines, California October 9-12, 2010

by Evan Zatt

The total count of attendees at this mid-year conference was 294. That is up from 249 attendees at last year’s mid-year conference in Atlanta. For those of you who like percentages, this year’s attendance was up 18%.

The conference kicked off on Sunday night with the opening ceremony followed by the exhibit floor open to all. One of the highlights during the opening ceremony was the introduction of the first CRAs to become NAPBS accredited. From what I hear, the process was very long and very thorough, so I congratulate all the companies who can say they have completed the accreditation process. The next major announcement for companies who have passed the accreditation process will be at the 2011 Annual NAPBS show in Denver, CO. If you have not looked into what it takes to become accredited, go onto the NAPBS website and it will have everything you need to get the
process started.

There were 32 exhibitors, down by one booth exhibitor from last years’ show. The following is a breakdown of the exhibitors:

  • 8 Wholesalers
  • 8 Consumer Reporting Agencies
  • 8 Third Party Platforms
  • 2 Automated Data Retriever
  • 2 Other
  • 1 Consultant
  • 1 Education Verifier
  • 1 MVR Provider
  • 1 Assessment Provider(Please keep in mind that some of these companies offer multiple services)

The show was pretty light on Sunday night with a lot of exhibitors asking themselves where everyone was. However, the exhibit hall activity did pick up on Monday and on Tuesday. I asked a few exhibitors about how satisfied they were with the show after it wrapped up on Tuesday afternoon. Some of the responses I received ranged from unsure if they were going to exhibit next Mid-Year to exhibitors telling me that Tuesday was a very good day for them and one exhibitor even used the word “slammed” to describe how busy they were.

The keynote speaker was Denise Ryan from FireStar. Denise spoke about the ten characteristics leaders must have, common mistakes leaders make and different ways to create an exciting work environment. During Denise’s breakout session, she spoke about a book written by Steven Reiss called “Who am I? The 16 Basic Desires that Motivate Our Actions and Define Our Personalities”. If you are the owner or a leader in your company, pick up the book. You will learn about what makes your employees tick.

Some of the other topics in the breakout sessions included:

  • Accelerating your bottom line through real performance management
  • Protecting and leveraging your brand’s intellectual property
  • Fair housing issues
  • FCRA 101
  • EI3PA (Experian Independent 3rd Party Assessment)
  • C.A.U.S.E. Certification Program new software
  • Advanced topics in FCRA/State law
  • Negotiating the tough political waters to win
  • 10 questions to ask your researcher network
  • Background screening certification
  • I-9 and E-Verify
  • Sales trends and services
  • Criminal record reporting from an operational standpoint
  • Accreditation panel discussion
  • ATS panel discussion
  • ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) mutual agreement between government and employers
  • Background checks and global data privacy compliance

I was pleased with the sessions I attended. Some were better attended than others, but I always learn at least one nugget of information from each session. For that reason alone, attending the Mid-Year meeting is well worth the cost. There was a town hall meeting set up to review the NAPBS financial statements and also to field comments, questions and/or concerns regarding the organization. This was a great opportunity to ask the Board of Directors questions about anything since it was an open forum. I was surprised to see that only one person raised their hand to ask a question. It is understandable that people may not want to ask a question and potentially stand out like a sore thumb, but this is one of the few times you have all the decision makers of the NAPBS in the same room. Maybe if there is a town hall at the Annual meeting in Denver, there could be a comment box placed somewhere or questions solicited by email in advance of the conference, so questions can be asked.

Industry Trends:

  • Business is up on average around 30% from last Mid-Year. The biggest reason for this up tick in business is from clients that did not order last year are ordering once again.
  • There are rumors (many confirmed) circulating that some of the “big boys” are for sale. Consolidation can be a very good thing for medium and smaller companies within the industry.
  • Although CRAs feel their biggest competitive advantage is the customer service they give, when making a decision on a new background screener, larger end-users are still concentrating on pricing as a major determination factor. Is your pricing as competitive
    as your competition? If not, there are people in this industry that can help achieve this goal (wink, wink).
  • Automated data retrievers are becoming more widely used in the industry. CRAs are combining this service with the field researcher service to decrease turnaround time, increase thoroughness of the search and decrease costs. If you are not familiar with an automated data retriever, become familiar.
  • The M&A world is coming back to life. I have even heard that some banks have begun to lend money once again.

Join a Committee:

Each of the NAPBS committees is looking for new people to help accomplish their goals. There are a lot of people who are part
of the NAPBS who give endless amounts of time to their committee, but more people are needed. Are you part of a committee?

Are you a member of the NAPBS? If not, I highly recommend signing up for both. The following is a list of the NAPBS committees:

  • Best Practices
  • Conference
  • Education
  • Government Relations
  • International
  • Membership Recruitment and Retention
  • Media Relations
  • Providers
  • Tenant Screening

If you can spare a few hours out of your month to help one of these Committees, you are guaranteed to make a difference. Join a committee here

People Stuff:

  • Vince Pascarella (formally at USA-FACT) is now with
  • Laurel Stoddard (formally at American Background) is now with Innovative Enterprises.
  • Gary Hanley (formally of USA-FACT) is now with A-Check America
  • Phil Smith (formally at USA-FACT) is now with
  • Kym Kurey (formerly at USA-FACT) is now with First Choice
  • Maureen Plotke (formerly of HR Plus) is now with Inquiries
  • Cat Phan (formerly of Accurate Backgrounds) is now with HireRight.

The North Carolina Court System Effective starting January 1st, 2011, the North Carolina’s AOC (Administrative Office of the Courts) will no longer offer daily updates to their licensees who purchase their statewide database. There are many reasons rumored as to the reason for this. Some licensees say it’s because not all licensees followed the rule that they must do a daily download of updated information thus making the data stale, while other licensees feels that the AOC recognized they are losing revenue by providing these daily updates. How are you performing a North Carolina search? Are you buying it from a researcher/wholesaler? Have they told you how they plan on performing these searches in 2011?

Overall, I thought this was a good conference with great educational seminars, meaningful conversations during the trade show and an overall positive vibe from the attendees regarding this industry and the future of the industry. My only complaints were that in order to explore La Jolla, you either needed to know someone who had access to a car or take a very expensive cab ride. Do not get me wrong, Torrey Pines is a beautiful place, but most people felt they were confined to the hotel.

The only other comment I heard from people was the trade show floor could have been better organized. The two end rows were not even filled up half way. Those two rows should have been combined into one row so those exhibitors did not feel they were left out in the boondocks. Besides those two small complaints, I think everyone was happy with the show. Great job to Dean Carras and Tracy Seabrook and her staff for organizing another stellar meeting.

See you all in Denver!!!!