It is no secret that it is getting harder and harder to get in touch with individuals with delinquent or defaulted debt. Calls are screened — and then ignored. Letters are not even opened. Debt collectors are hamstrung in their efforts to get in touch with individuals.
There are a large number of reasons why individuals refuse to communicate with debt collectors. People are ashamed and embarrassed. People feel that if they do not have enough money to pay off the debt, it is better to hide and not answer the phone. Sometimes, people just need a couple more days before they can make their payment.
Oracle recently launched a debt collection technology platform, that, while initially targeted at banks and financial services companies, offers some interesting functionality for third-party collectors, too.
Two of the primary core areas addressed through Oracle’s platform are offering institutions a more customer-centric model for collections, and offering individuals a more robust self-help platform for getting out of debt.
Many banks, especially within their consumer lending units, operate like silos; one unit has no idea what is going on at the others. So, when an individual starts missing both credit card and auto loan payments, both units are likely to start calling and neither unit may know about the other delinquent debt. Oracle’s solution aims to give banks a more horizontal view of a customer across all products and services.
“We’ve been in the banking market for 20 years now and what we’ve notices is that people’s expectations from apps have become different,” said Tushar Chitra, a senior director of product marketing at Oracle. “There is intense competition brewing in industry.
“If Tushar was defaulting on two different products – the banks didn’t care that it was Tushar. They cared that there was an outstanding home loan account and an outstanding credit card account. We stepped back and looked at the business process.”
Using Oracle’s solution, collectors will now see a more holistic portrait of a customer when contacting them for collections.
For those borrowers who do not want to be contacted, or for collection units that only offer a single product, Oracle’s self-help technology offers some interesting opportunities.
Using the self-help feature, individuals will be able to request payment plans, extensions on payment deadlines, loan consolidations or other forms of relief, said John Mays, a senior director of product strategy at Oracle.
The rules governing the self-help options are completely configurable, allowing organizations to offer different options to different customers based on the individual’s risk profile.
“A very high-risk account may have a narrow set of options they can choose; maybe the only option is to contact the call center,” Mays said. “Low-risk customers, may over time, earn credits toward payment extensions with fees waived. There’s goodwill on that side. It’s not a one-size-fits-all solution.”
The self-help option is driving higher contact and payment rates, when compared with traditional communication and outreach options, Mays said.