NAPBS 2005 Annual Conference

NAPBS 2005 Annual Conference San Antonio, Texas April 2005


Would you believe these stats for the Second Conference?
• Over 400 in attendance–last year was 226.
• 225 different companies represented.
• 26 exhibitors.
• Total membership of NAPBS is now over 400 vs. 268 a year ago.

Thanks to Mike Sankey and Catherine Aldridge and Tracy, Rebecca and Stevie of the NAPBS staff for putting together one really great conference. The location was nice, the hotel was right on the RiverWalk, the meeting rooms were almost big enough (who would have thought there were going to be so many in attendance), the food was good and plentiful, the schedule was full and the exhibit floor was full.

I have been honored with the co-chairpersonship (along with Alicia Jones) of the Membership Committee, so if you are not already a member, you better sign up before I get after you!! We will add at least 150 members in 2005 and at least 25 of these will be non-US based companies. A representative of an Australian company, Steve Benton of Intellisec, has volunteered to help make this happen. Steve made a very interesting comment, “US methods/laws/regulations flow out to become a world standard.” What NAPBS is accomplishing will become the standard.

The big point of discussion at the conference centered what was happening with ChoicePoint and Lexis-Nexis with their data compromises. The concern relates to the stronger and stronger potential of both state and local governments further legislating our industry, and local regulators imposing restrictions on researchers, background checking companies and data. Given this environment, it looks like we formed this organization just in time. We will need some strong, proactive efforts to educate the federal and state legislative people about why backgrounds are important and why the information should be made available and should be made available readily, at least to reputable companies doing business as accredited NAPBS members.

Les Rosen said it most succinctly at the opening general meeting: our industry is at the very intersection of demands regarding Privacy vs. Safety and Security. We all want our privacy protected and we all want our safety and security. A strong self-regulated industry can help both things get accomplished with the least interference from the other.

There was much discussion about the need for a professional, fulltime staff to handle government relations. At an estimated cost of $500,000 a year, this is only $1250 per year per member company (equal to less than a cup of Starbucks a day per company). A small investment to help protect our industry and our businesses. In addition to contributions from all members, a steering committee will look to the top tier companies to make more substantial contributions.

If we don’t regulate ourselves, someone else will. That is why NAPBS will be establishing standards for
• Accreditation of member companies.
• For certification of employees.
• For proper handling of FCRA (Federal and State) issues.
• Field researcher’s certification.

Report on the 2nd Annual NAPBS Conference

National Association of Professional Background Screening is REALLY for REAL!

  • A 50 state legal compliance service for the tiny annual fee of $600 ($550 if at the show)–about the cost of 2 hours of attorney time. Members can contact Pam Devata at Seyfarth Shaw, phone number312-269-8882
  • Business Verification Service ($46.50 for NAPBS members or $40 if you attended the conference). This service will accomplish the due diligence required to assure that your new customer is legitimate (read: credit bureau requirements). Contact Kattie Huntsman at 619-718-7467, or e-mail her at
  • E&O insurance program through Lloyds of London. Contact: Carole Brown 415-733-3356,
  • A nicely done professional brochure on NAPBS (available free to members) highlighting:
    • Member Benefits
      • Best practices and accreditation
      • Government advocacy
      • Education and training
      • Communications and web resources
      • Industry enhancement
      • Annual forums and regional meetings
    • Employer Benefits
      • Recommendations for screening practices
      • Help minimize the cost of new hires
      • Increase productivity and profitability
      • Locate an accredited screening company
      • Reduce the risk of negligent hiring
    • Consumer Benefits
      • Promote consumer privacy awareness
      • Advocate dispute resolution
      • Ensure a safe place to live, work and play
      • Assist with homeland security
      • Support legal compliance efforts.
  • A small card was created for field researchers to give to the court clerks to explain the function of the field researcher, that they are doing this for the safety and security of the workplace and not to gather data to put into some database for some untoward purpose.
    In support of NAPBS (and Berg Consulting Group) we were an exhibitor this year, so I was unable to attend all the educational sessions and panel discussions as in the past, but I am told they were all well presented and most educational. Topics included:

    • Healthcare background checks.
    • Sales, marketing and business development for CRAs.
    • Tenant Screening.
    • FCRA compliance and criminal access laws.
    • Terrorist searching.
    • Best practices for working with field researchers.

There was much networking and cross education going on over coffee, lunch, after sessions, on the exhibit floor. For the small cost of attending, this is a unique opportunity to invest in the future of you, your company and the industry.

The spirit level among the group was even higher than last year. In the membership committee alone, we had 7 new people join the committee. I know the other committees experienced the same sort of volunteerism, which recognizes the huge need for what NAPBS is doing.

The highlights of the committee meetings and goals for 2005 will be posted on the website shortly, so I won’t repeat them here, but some of the accomplishments for our first real year in 2004 included:

    • Increasing membership by 50%.
    • E&O insurance program.
    • 50 state compliance legal source.
    • Low cost source for business verifications.
    • NAPBS webcast to SHRM about screening and NAPBS.
    • A quarterly printed newsletter.
    • NAPBS brochure for CRAs to use with their prospective customers.
    • PowerPoint presentation developed about NAPBS-What is a screening company.
    • Delegation to Washington to start the process.
    • Creation of List-serve on yahoo for member exchange of information.
    • Legislative alert program-email alerts as to proposed state and federal legislation that could harm the industry and constituents.
    • NAPBS meetings with ASIS and CDIA (Consumer Data Industry Assn) to work toward greater cooperate.
    • White papers, including dealing with consumer disputes on social trace information.
    • Beginning of development for CRA certification, provider certification and CRA employee certification.
    • Best practices and compliance.
    • Legal and operational.
    • CRA best practices.
    • Electronic signatures.

Monday night was highlighted with Texas Hold ‘em Poker that turned out to be a lot of fun. Eighty people played and there were about 50 kibitzers.


  • Everyone seemed to having an excellent year so far. Sales increases reported to me by different companies ranged from 5 to 45% over last year for the first quarter, and this is over a great year in 2004.
  • Given the threats of legislative action regarding the industry, there was a lot of talk about should I sell now or continue to grow. Then, the news broke about the additional data leak at Lexis-Nexus/Accurint and the possible resulting legislation and the joke was “should I get into compliance or just call Bruce and sell the company.” I heard this was said “tongue in cheek”, but this is for many smaller companies, a real consideration. How much can one spend on compliance as a small company?


Usually I hear a lot. For this meeting, everyone was positive and focused on the success of the association.

Also interesting was that the attendance by “the big boys” was, in some cases somewhat limited. Except for NBD with 4, only one person was there from First Advantage, ChoicePoint had 5, Kroll-1,Lexis Nexis-2 (Gary Cornick recently resigned as President of Peoplewise), USIS-5, Verifications-3,HireRight-3, CARCO-1, ADP/Avert-0 (not NAPBS member), Sterling-1, InfoMart-2, Acxiom-1, GIS-1(not NAPBS member), Yale-0 (not NAPBS member), Accufacts-0 (not NAPBS member). NAPBS is truly an egalitarian organization.

Interesting to note that 24 companies who are not members came and brought 35 people. Guess they were just checking us out.

Again the big concern was about legislative and regulatory action that will impact our industry. This may be just the fear of the unknown, but let’s face it, other industries have been shut down by legislative action. My feeling is that almost every law that is made feels at first like a “lemon” and our challenge is to turn it into “lemonade.”

  • When the Polygraph Protection Act was implemented in 1988 it gave an impetus to the Background Screening Industry.
  • When workers comp history information was severely restricted and when the government said this information could only be used on a post-offer basis, this was a loss of revenue, but we hardly even think about that today.
  • When the FCRA was changed in 1997 and we were forced to recognize that we were CRAs and had to comply, it was a pain, but then it helped make us a legitimate industry.
  • When the “National Databases” came out, we all thought they were bad for us and now we recognize their value as an adjunct search.
  • Today’s environment of threats of limiting legislative action will spur the NAPBS and the industry to be better. That too is a good thing.

The industry is alive and thriving.

If you are not already participating in your industry as a NAPBS member, please go to NAPBS and signup today. Dues are pro-rated quarterly. If you have any questions, please contact me or NAPBS.