Profits Up at PRA Group, Thanks to Improvements in Digital Collections, Internal Legal Capacity

PRA Group reported this week that it made $34 million during the fourth quarter of 2021, up from $30 million in the same period a year earlier, while profits for all of 2021 were up to $183 million, from $149 million in 2020.

Overall revenue at the company in the fourth quarter was $257 million, down from $274 million in the same quarter of 2021. Revenue for the entire year was up to $1.095 billion, from $1.065 billion in 2020.

During a conference call with analysts to discuss the company’s financials, Kevin Stephenson, the Chief Executive of PRA Group noted the improvements in how much the company is collecting through its digital platform. Collections through that channel have increased 83% since 2019, he said, thanks to improvements that have been made in scoring and analytics. Before taking questions from analysts, Stephenson offered his perspective on the changing dynamics in the financial services and accounts receivable management industries while underscoring the larger role that technology is playing as a competitive differentiator.

“In my 25 years at PRA, many things have changed in the financial services industry, especially recently,” Stephenson said. “As we move to a world of digital payments, digital wallets, cryptocurrencies, buy now, pay later and A2A (account-to-account) banking, it’s interesting and exciting to see this kind of overhaul of the industry. We’ve not seen this magnitude and velocity of change in quite some time. We’ve successfully reacted to these changes through the development and evolution of our digital platforms and improving and leveraging our data and analytics. We’re utilizing these capabilities as a way of better understanding our customers and enabling them to pay through the channel that they prefer.”

Stephenson also took time during his remarks to point out the increase in the company’s internal legal capabilities, commenting that internal legal placements represented more than half of the company’s placements in 2021, up from one-third in 2019. “This represents a significant savings because we don’t have to pay commission to the external attorneys on every dollar collected,” he said.

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