Scott Robberson, '83, was never one to go out and save the world. He just wanted to travel the globe. Today, he has visited most of the countries in the Western Hemisphere, including those in the Caribbean.
However, as a result of his goal to travel around the world, he ended up helping it along the way. He is the owner of Reparo Mi Credito, a credit repair firm in Guatemala.
"Vision is where you want to be in three to five years and mission is how you plan to get there," Robberson said.
This seems to be Robberson's life motto. Since growing up in the Midwest, he has gone through a lot of change and hardship to get where he is right now. During his first night in Stewart Hall his freshman year, he never expected to end up in charge of a company in Guatemala. Today, Robberson seems to have a firm grasp on what he does, and where his life is leading him.
Robberson grew up in Edmond, Okla. His family didn't travel very much, other than around the area where they lived. He graduated from high school and went on to graduate from Whitworth College, majoring in business administration and communication, though he really didn't have an idea of what he wanted to do after college.
In fact, he said the biggest mistake he made at Whitworth was not looking ahead to what he might want to do and study for it. He just wanted to travel. However, Robberson knew that he couldn't travel globally if he had a job in the United States.
Even though Robberson wanted to travel the world, he returned to Oklahoma at first and worked for a bank. The U.S. was going through a recession at the time, and Robberson ended up working at three different companies in the course of two years. It was then that he felt that he could enjoy work outside of the office, and outside of the United States.
Robberson asked people who worked for Feed the Children which country in Central America they preferred, and he got the same answer each time—Guatemala, because of its beauty and cheap living costs.
"Not having much money, I just rolled the dice and landed in Guatemala to learn Spanish," Robberson said.
It was there that he got a part-time job as an English teacher. Six months later, with a friend's help, he eventually became the executive director of the American Chamber of Commerce for Guatemala. During that time he helped to represent more than 400,000 American and Guatemalan employees in front of their respective companies.
Robberson said getting the chamber of commerce job is what sealed his fate to live in Guatemala. Today he considers it his home.
Just two years ago Robberson started Reparo Mi Credito, a credit repair firm. The idea of credit in Guatemala isn't very well-defined, and the courts are often late in notifying the credit bureaus of lawsuits and when they are resolved. Also, when information isn't correctly displayed, Reparo Mi Credito (Spanish for "repair my credit") intervenes to update people's credit reports.
The company does a lot of lawyer work, such as tracking down paperwork and organizing loan arrangements with past clients. Robberson said while the credit reporting agencies in Guatemala aren't corrupt, they do have to sift through millions of reports, and errors are bound to come up.
Reparo Mi Credito starts by looking at a client's credit report, provided by Infonet or Transunion. With that information, the company fixes the errors in the credit report. Sometimes a lawsuit that has been paid off hasn't been cleared by the credit agencies, because for one reason or another the correct information never reached them. In other instances, credit card bills that were paid off years ago may appear as if they're long overdue.
The current global financial crisis has affected Guatemala just like much of the rest of the world. Robberson said he knew the crisis was approaching, and that's why he started Reparo Mi Credito. In a nation where the GDP per capita hovers around $5,000, ensuring that financial data is accurate is essential.
In one instance, a general manager had a good job working for a company for six years. The owner asked the general manager to open up a new bank account for a new company the manager was to run, and he was denied the account due to bad credit. The boss told him his credit had to be fixed or he would lose his job.
The manager's debts had been paid off years before, but his credit report had never reflected those changes. Because of that, he had pending lawsuits filed against him. Reparo Mi Credito was able to obtain the correct credit information, which saved his job.
"Close to 50 percent of the economy here is dependent on the U.S. Thus, the old adage goes if the U.S. gets a cold, so does the world. Whether world economies like it or not, the world still depends on the U.S.," Robberson said.
Robberson feels his permanent home is in Guatemala. Anything is possible, especially in this age of rapid information in which things can change instantly without any warning. However, he is content with where he is. He said the most important thing is to react quickly to the changing conditions.
Robberson's current mission of helping people repair their credit fits in fairly well with his original vision of just traveling. And now he's doing so much more than he initially expected.