Getting to Know Susan Namm of Navient

Content — for now — to fulfill her dreams of living on the beach by watching HGTV, Susan Namm has a deep affection for the credit and collection industry. That’s one easy reason to explain why she has spent more than 30 years in it. Read on to learn more about Susan, how Coke and Nutella help her make it through the day, and why she is the person you need to talk to if you want to know what sport a Whizzer happens in.

Name: Susan Namm
Company: Navient
Length of time at current company: 11 1/2 years
Length of time in industry: It seems impossible, but it’s been more than 30 years!

How did you get your start in the industry?
I started working in JCPenney’s credit center as a seasonal employee in the authorization department. We used IBM cards and filled them out for each transaction we reviewed! I stayed on and rotated to different departments, landing in collections. My longest stint was spent in the Recovery Department with Macy’s credit center (FACS). I was there for 15 years.

What is your career highlight so far?
Creating a solid vendor oversight program for our collection vendors that has protected the company, but also helped our vendors to improve their compliance program.

When or how are you most productive?
Early morning before the calls and emails start. A Coke in hand, I am usually at my desk by 6:30 planning, thinking and reading the [CFPB’s] NPRM lately!

Which industry professional do you admire most?
Gosh, there are so many it is hard to name just one, but I would say Wendy Badger. She was counsel for us when I was at an agency in Minnesota. When I started in this industry, there were just a few women in executive or senior positions and it is great to see how that has changed.

What is one thing you do better than everyone else?
I would not say that I do anything better than anyone else, but I love to review policies and procedures and make process improvement suggestions.

What do you like most about this industry?
I love the variety, changes, and challenges it brings every day. It has allowed me so many opportunities to grow and support my family.

What is one thing you wish you could change about this industry?
The negative stereotypes. The people I know care about what they do and how they do it and I am proud to say they are our vendors. There are still some bad apples out there, but I think as an industry, we have matured and worked hard to be as compliant as we can, with outdated regulations and technology that outpaces the laws. I love that we are contributing to our communities and doing outreach to change the perception of our industry.

If you weren’t in this industry, what would you be doing?
If I couldn’t be a professional beach bum or student, then I would probably be working in the courts as an advocate for assault victims.

Describe a typical work day.
I don’t know that there is a typical day! Touching base with my team, looking for ways to improve our program, providing guidance to our vendors, and the never-ending emails and conference calls. Re-grouping at the end of the day to see what didn’t get done and what has to carry over to the next day.

What is your guilty pleasure?
Nutella and any show on HGTV, especially House Hunters International and Beachfront Bargain Hunt. These two combine my love of the beach and travel.

What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
Since I am doing this around Father’s Day, I would say my dad has taught me so many things, like be kind to people, love what you do, and act with integrity.

What are you currently reading?
My Humanities textbook and the NPRM.

What is one fact you’d like everyone in the industry to know about you?
I am a big fan of college wrestling! Both of my boys wrestled when they were in school and I still love to watch. It is such a tough sport that I think is under-recognized.

Who else would you like to see answer these questions?
Stephanie Schuitt with iQor.

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