People love to marvel over the salaries that Major League Baseball players make. It can seem surreal to us mere mortals that teams will fight with one another to hand over contracts worth hundreds of millions of dollars to individuals for playing a game. Is what they do really that special that it deserves such astronomical paychecks?

If you look at it from the perspective of what those players do on the field alone, their salaries probably aren’t worth it. But so much more goes into a player’s worth to a team than just what he does on the field. People buy tickets to see those players play. When they get to the stadium, they pay for parking and buy food and beverages and their favorite player’s jersey to wear. All of that adds up to how much a player contributes to the value of his contract.

Like professional baseball, there is a lot below the surface when analyzing the credit and collection industry. People may look to collectors as preying on individuals who are having financial problems, but collection agencies play a vital role in the U.S. economy. Collection agencies recovered more than $90 billion on behalf of their clients in 2018, according to data released recently by ACA International, a trade group representing companies in the accounts receivable management industry.

That $90 billion is used by creditors to keep interest rates down and make sure consumers are not being overcharged for car loans, credit cards, and student loans. It is used to make investments in new products and technology that help make consumers’ lives easier and more productive. It represents hugely important number that contributes mightily to the financial health of companies of all shapes and sizes across the country. The lower costs of goods and services created by the money recovered by companies in the credit and collection industry saves the average household $706 per year.

In the process of recovering money and helping their clients, companies in the ARM industry also employ more than 124,000 people and pay $5 billion in payroll. Those are jobs with futures and benefits and opportunities for people across the country.

But the numbers that show the true colors of the industry are this: collectively, individuals in this industry spent more than 500,000 hours volunteering in their communities, helping raise $108 million for good causes in your neighborhood.

So, much like your favorite baseball player, who spent years working tirelessly to become one of the best in his line of work, collection agencies also make significant contributions that go way beyond the numbers.