News and Events


Wakefield & Associates Welcomes Karen Scheibe Eliason as Chief Compliance Officer/Legal Counsel

June 17th, 2019

Karen Scheibe Eliason has joined Wakefield & Associates as Chief Compliance Officer/Legal Counsel.  Karen is a 20-year financial services veteran who most recently served as Vice President and Senior Counsel of litigation advocacy and compliance for ACA International, the association of credit and collection professionals.

Wakefield is committed to maintaining a strong compliance program.  Hiring a leader with Karen’s credentials is an important step in our commitment to building a better compliance function and a stronger Wakefield.

In her role, Karen will be responsible for oversight of all legal and regulatory compliance risks for Wakefield.  As chief compliance officer, she will ensure that all areas of the company meet compliance management expectations and abide by all applicable laws and regulations.  Reporting directly to our CEO, Karen will be instrumental in leading the company’s efforts to develop an industry-leading compliance program.

The current and ever-changing regulatory environment demands strong compliance leadership, and Karen’s extensive legal and compliance experience focused on the financial services industry, in addition to her deep understanding of the many consumer protection laws and regulations that affect our business, is a welcome addition to Wakefield.  With Karen’s unique blend of expertise and strategic leadership, I am confident we will strengthen our ability to provide the needed tools and oversight for our team members to better serve both our clients and consumers.

Karen joins Wakefield after more than five years at ACA where she led the association’s national litigation advocacy efforts and compliance guidance and education initiatives.  During her tenure, she was instrumental in developing and leading the Industry Advancement Program, the credit and collection industry’s first and only long-term advocacy-focused initiative dedicated to ensuring that court cases result in judicial decisions that are governed by common sense, are clear and consistent, and do not unfairly impede legitimate industry business and activity.  In addition, she successfully led a team a compliance analysts in maintaining and updating a library of approximately 230 documents on an array of federal and state laws and regulations impacting the credit and collection industry, which documents were accessed, reviewed and used by industry members a record 90,000 times last year.

Prior to ACA, Karen was a bankruptcy and creditors’ rights and litigation partner at LeClairRyan, a large national law firm, resident in their Alexandria, Virginia office.  Before joining LeClairRyan, Karen worked for more than a decade as a senior litigation associate for a boutique law firm with a national bankruptcy practice where she led the litigation of over 12,000 claims based on millions of financial data records.  Karen has extensive experience in federal court claims actions, including practicing before numerous federal bankruptcy and district courts, as well as the U.S. Courts of Appeal.

Karen earned a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Minnesota State University Moorhead, and her law degree from Mitchell Hamline School of Law.  Karen is a member of the Minnesota bar and hold her Credit and Collection Compliance Attorney designation.  She has also authored well over a hundred articles, and co-authored dozens of presentations, as well as served as a panelist at various industry conferences and workshops.

Matt Laws, President and CEO, said that “Karen brings a wealth of experience in legal, compliance and regulatory affairs within the financial services industry to Wakefield.  I’m very pleased to have someone with her considerable talent join our organization.”

 

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