Getting to Know Lee-Madeline Dowls of First Investors Financial Services

The “Getting to Know” series is sponsored by Applied Innovation. Applied Innovation is helping to shape the future of accounts receivable management. Product development is driven by customer feedback, agency profitability and compliance and includes platforms addressing client portal access, document management, payment negotiation, Regulation E focused electronic payment authorizations and TCPA communication authorization platforms. Partner with a company who understands your business challenges and evolves to provide cutting edge technology to overcome those challenges and achieve success.

Seeing projects through to the end. A love of numbers and data. Is it any wonder that Lee-Madeline Dowls has found her home working in the accounts receivable management industry? Along with her love of data, knowing that she needs to ask for what she wants has helped her move from being a customer service rep to the director of credit reporting for an auto finance company. Read on to learn more about Lee-Madeline and what dessert is likely to make any day a cheat day if it’s in the vicinity.

Name: Lee-Madeline Dowls
Job Title: Director, Credit Reporting
Company: First Investors Financial Services, Inc.
Length of Time at Current Company: 6 years
Length of Time in Industry: 20 years

How did you get your start in the industry?
During my first year of college, I interviewed for a customer service position with a large auto finance company. I was offered the position on the spot and began working the very next week. I’ve been a sponge soaking up knowledge about the industry ever since.

What is your career highlight so far?
The highlight of my career was being sought out and trusted to review, reorganize, improve, and manage a credit reporting department, including, but not limited to: (i) creating a quality assurance audit program to assure the accuracy of information furnished to CRAs; (ii) managing a credit reporting dispute handling program to make certain all disputes receive a thorough investigation and a timely response; and (iii) maintaining and updating policies, procedures and internal controls. All are critically important to remain in compliance with applicable laws and regulations and to protect our customers, business partners and the credit reporting industry.

When or how are you most productive?
I am most productive when I’m around positive people that are driven for success. I enjoy learning from others as well as sharing my experiences and contributing to the growth of others.

Which industry professional do you admire most?
It is difficult to pick just one. There have been so many that I have crossed paths with over the years that have contributed to my personal growth; some of whom may not even be aware. At each milestone in my career, I have been blessed to always have a person in my corner that can teach me new things and help me reach my next milestone.

What is one thing you do better than everyone else?
I believe there is always someone out there that is better. I regularly seek to learn more from others around me so that I can become a better version of myself. If I had to pick something that I do well, that would be my ability to identify errors within data. I get a kick out of combing through data to identify potential problem areas and helping to correct those problems.

What do you like most about this industry?
I’ve always been a lover of all things numbers and finance-related. The industry is a playground for number-lovers like me. I have touched several areas of the business including customer service, payment rejects, compliance, credit reporting, risk, and more. Each aspect of the business that I have touched has given me my numbers fix.

What is one thing you wish you could change about this industry?
I would change the focus on educating consumers to better understand things from the perspective of finance companies and servicers. Consumer education is often geared towards combatting the industry which creates an environment where consumers don’t trust the industry to do what is right and lawful. 

Describe a typical work day.
My job is to ensure that I provide adequate support for my team. The things I do each day to provide that support can change each day. It involves researching, emailing, listening, orchestrating, adjusting, solving, and repeat.

If you weren’t in this industry, what would you be doing?
I would be doing something relating to project management. I get a sense of joy in identifying things that are or can become problematic and working through a resolution for the problem. There is something very exciting about seeing a project blossom from the initiation phase to the implementation phase.

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What is your guilty pleasure?
Warm peach cobbler with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream on top. Regardless of where I am within my fitness/diet goals, that one is worth cheating for.

What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
“Closed mouths don’t get fed”. I learned at a very young age that if I don’t open my mouth to ask for what I want, I may not get anything. I live by this and teach this to others as well.

What are you currently reading?
My bedtime reads are the lengthy emails that are sent out each week by each of my children’s teachers with classroom updates for the upcoming week. Fun stuff!

What is one fact you’d like everyone in the industry to know about you?
I’m an introvert that people often confuse for an extrovert. 

Who else would you like to see answer these questions?
Tommy Moore

The “Getting to Know” series is sponsored by Applied Innovation. Applied Innovation is helping to shape the future of accounts receivable management. Product development is driven by customer feedback, agency profitability and compliance and includes platforms addressing client portal access, document management, payment negotiation, Regulation E focused electronic payment authorizations and TCPA communication authorization platforms. Partner with a company who understands your business challenges and evolves to provide cutting edge technology to overcome those challenges and achieve success.

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