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TheStreet Open House

Encore Capital Group Responds To West Virginia Attorney General's Announcement

Stocks in this article: ECPG

SAN DIEGO, March 8, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- On March 8, 2012, the West Virginia Attorney General's office issued a press release and filed suit in that state. The suit alleges that Midland Credit Management, Inc. and Midland Funding LLC engage in certain collection practices in violation of the law. The suit in substantial part echoes old claims that were asserted and redressed in connection with litigation filed against the companies in 2008.

The Midland defendants are both wholly-owned subsidiaries of Encore Capital Group, Inc. (Nasdaq: ECPG), a leader in distressed consumer debt buying and recovery. The filing and press release were a surprise to Encore and the Midland defendants, and the companies have since reached out to the Attorney General's office to initiate discussions in response.

Encore is confident in the integrity and accuracy of its collections processes and in the validity of the data supporting the underlying debts it owns. The company has been in business for nearly 57 years and has built a strong track record of operating with integrity and honesty, and partnering with consumers to successfully resolve their financial obligations. The Midland defendants feel strongly that the allegations in the West Virginia suit inaccurately portray both Midland's practices and the applicable legal standards.

Encore and its affiliates work diligently to ensure that their consumers are treated with respect and dignity and are focused on developing best-in-class practices for all interactions with their consumers. In 2011, the company introduced an industry-leading  Consumer Bill of Rights, a code of ethics detailing Encore's commitment to working with consumers as they repay their financial obligations. An entire section of the  Consumer Bill of Rights is dedicated to dignity and respect for consumers when resolving outstanding obligations. Moreover, the  Consumer Bill of Rights describes significant, additional benefits for the company's consumers, including articles dedicated to resolving accounts quickly and honestly, establishing forgiveness and hardship guidelines, and outlining the fair and reasonable use of litigation. The Consumer Bill of Rights is available at www.encorecapital.com.

In response to the Attorney General's announcement, Encore CEO Brandon Black reiterated, "We are committed to working with our consumers honestly and with integrity to help them regain their financial footing. Our Consumer Bill of Rights goes well beyond what is required by law to ensure that we do so. We look forward to having continued discussions with the Attorney General's office and establishing Encore as a model for doing business in West Virginia."

About Encore Capital Group, Inc.                                                                

Encore Capital Group is a leader in consumer debt buying and recovery. The company purchases portfolios of defaulted consumer receivables from major banks, credit unions, and utility providers and partners with individuals as they repay their obligations and work toward financial recovery. Encore's success and future growth are driven by its sophisticated and widespread use of analytics, its broad investments in data and behavioral science, the significant cost advantages provided by both its worldwide operations and its enterprise-wide, account-level cost database, and the company's demonstrated commitment to conducting business ethically and in ways that support its consumers' financial recovery.

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