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Scaling Your Collections Department – What to Do When Defaults Rise

The collections departments of today might look very different from the collections departments of 10 years ago. And that’s a good thing.

Canadians are carrying high levels of debt, but as interest rates rise and new mortgage regulations are introduced, debt consolidation options for borrowers, like mortgage refinancing, are harder to obtain.

So far in 2018, mortgage arrears have remained steady, and even slightly lower than 2017. But it may not stay this way for long. According to Equifax Canada, Canadians have a combined $599 billion worth of credit card, auto, and other non-mortgage consumer debt. The delinquency rate was 1.08% in the first quarter of 2018, but that could be on the rise.

56% of people paid off their credit cards in full each month in the first quarter of 2018. That’s down from 59% in the same quarter of 2017.

“The changes aren’t big, but when they’re consistent and we see it for two or three quarters, we start to believe it,” Regina Malina, senior director of analytics at Equifax Canada, told BNN Bloomberg.

“Given that less people are making their credit card payments in full, and those people are usually people with lower delinquency rates, we might be seeing overall delinquency rates deteriorating.”

For the collections department, this could mean a spike in mortgage or other loan defaults. If that is the case, you need to be able to scale your department quickly and effectively, while not taking on so many resources that you’re in over your head if defaults slow down.

This is why it’s a good thing that today’s collections departments look different than they did ten years ago — because today we have more options for scaling resources.

Measures you might consider include:

  • Making use of technology.

Technological tools, like Purview, can help you expand your department without hiring any outside resources.

For instance, with Purview you can instantly look up what assets are worth, find debtor information, such as property address, and assess the current market value of assets and financial encumbrances.

Technology can help you find new ways to contact delinquent account holders and put more information at your fingertips.

  • Closely monitoring at-risk accounts.

Assess today and try to forecast for tomorrow by looking at your portfolio. Leveraging bulk data can help you know the value of your assets and stress test your clients.

For instance, with Purview’s tools you can easily assess your whole portfolio using bulk data.

If you have an account that is close to defaulting with a higher risk profile, you can keep a close eye on it.

By segmenting your accounts, you’ll know exactly where to focus your resources and exactly how many resources you will need.

  • Establishing relationships with recovery partners.

By working with partners in the recovery process, you might be able to quickly scale up and down resources as the market demands.

You may consider partnering with a collection agency or a similar agency who offers collection services as needed. For example, Teranet’s Collateral Management Solutions.

Whatever method you choose, or whether you go with a combination of all three, it’s important that you know what to do before a rush comes.

By learning how to effectively scale your collections department, you’ll be ready for periods of high defaults, periods of low defaults, and everything in between.

Purview’s property tools can help scale your department. Contact us today to learn more. Call 1-855-787-8439 or visit www.purview.ca.

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