“Agentless collections is the wave of the future,” said President/CEO Courtney Reynaud of Creditors Bureau USA. Her prediction is shared by at least one other executive quoted in an article about collection agencies’ “20 Most Powerful Women” from the September-October issue of Collection Advisor magazine.
Nearly 70 percent of the 140,000 professionals in the industry are women according to the trade publication.
These featured executives responded to two questions: “What would you like to see colleagues involve themselves with to improve the collections industry?” and “What new technology has helped improve the collection industry in the past year?”
Here’s what they had to say.
Where Executives Would Like to See Involvement
The executives are based in various parts of the country, and each had a unique take on where the collection industry should be going. The reputation of the industry as a whole was a primary concern.
Compliance and legislative affairs executive Kelsi Hamilton of Dynamic Collectors proudly stated, “We provide an important and necessary service and should not be made to feel ashamed.”
Along similar lines, Chief Executive Officer/Founder Judy La Spada of Virtuoso Sourcing Group “would like to see industry professionals work harder to change the outside perception of our business. Most companies in our field are compliant, friendly and far more analytical than what is perceived by average consumers.”
Of the 20 women interviewed, five highlighted the importance of involving oneself in the reputation of the industry.
President Julie Simes of Zealandia Capital recommends fellow executives “give back to your communities and share the positive role we play.”
The most-discussed topic, however, was legislation facing collection agencies, a focal point for seven of the group.
“There has never been a more appropriate time to meet lawmakers face to face and tell real-world stories about the impact of legislation and regulation on our business employees and consumers,” said CEO Pam Kirchner of BCA Financial Services.
Two women emphasized their desire to see an increased amount of lobbying to improve the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection (BCFP) draft rules on behalf of the collections industry.
Education and associations were other widely mentioned topics.
Chief Compliance Officer Debra J. Ciskey of Wakefield Associates is “a firm believer in ‘knowledge is power,’ [and] would like to see more people get involved with the education programs offered by ACA International.”
Chief Compliance Officer Anne Thomas of Cavalry Portfolio Services believes that “being actively involved in industry trade associations is a great benefit to those involved in collections.”
New Technology Used by Collection Agencies for Improvement
The data and analytical components of collections technology were a big hit among those responding, most notably call analytics, data mining and data analytics.
President Anita M. Manghisi of Independent Recovery Resources explains, “The old method of communicating is simply not effective any more. Between ‘do not call lists’, ‘blocked calls’ and ‘robo calls’ being a target for the industry, call analytics has become a necessity. … We need to hone in on more profitable accounts and offer full automation for payment and communication.”
According to Caren D. Enloe, partner and group leader of Consumer Financial Services Litigation and Compliance from Smith Debnam Narron Drake Saintsing & Myers, “As technology continues to advance, data analytics will continue to play a crucial role in understanding what collection techniques net results and help eliminate inefficiencies. With narrowing profit margins, I see this as crucial to success of the industry.”
Trial attorney Robbie Malone of Malone Akerly Martin believes “human intervention in telephony [has created] the biggest impact in the industry within the last year.”
Finally, Vice President Irene Hoheusle of Collections and Education at Account Recovery Specialists points out the usefulness of “compliance management systems that keep track of compliance concerns and how they are handled and used to improve daily workflow.”
Compliance is and will continue to be a major concern for collection agencies while other executives discussed introducing gamification to the collections process.
Many of these women execs are avid sports enthusiasts, including Managing Partner Alane A. Becket of Becket & Lee (horse-riding), President of Zealandia Capital Julie Simes (marathon running) and President of Independent Recovery Resources Anita M. Manghisi (golf).
Solutions from Optio
Many of the focus areas identified by these women executives are represented by Optio’s framework of compliance, certification, data security, collections technology and experience in financial services. These factors provide Optio clients with a favorable return on investment, brand protection and customer retention.
Contact us today for a free consultation to learn how an individualized collection strategy can help your organization.