To help businesses through Coronavirus, the Government has embarked on a lending programme like never before. The problem is, that as the economy tightens, companies will start to default. It’s up to the banks to get their pre collections house in order to help corporate – and retail – clients who might be having trouble. Read more…
With the booms, come the busts; the highs, the lows; and the good times, the recessions. Coronavirus has marked the end of the longest bull run in history. In the ten years following the banking crisis, markets soared and economies grew, in large part held up by central banks’ policies of manufacturing money and keeping interest rates at rock bottom levels. It has been an era of cheap debt, meaning many companies – and individuals – were already highly leveraged.
And the coronavirus crisis has added to that. In order to keep the country afloat, the Government developed the Bounce Back Loan (BBL) scheme and the Job Retention Scheme (JRS) – and payment holidays for business and personal loans, mortgage holidays and car and asset loan holidays have also provided breathing space. But these schemes are now – inevitably – starting to wind down.
So as the economy tightens and Government support is curtailed, people and companies will start to struggle, which means that debt repayment will become really difficult for some and an impossibility for others. Thinking ahead, the smart money is already ramping up activity in collections, seeking to get ahead of the game and ensure that systems, processes and controls are up to standard.
As a bank, or finance company, it is vital that you make a thorough analysis of your pre collections approach and invest in key areas to ensure your process is fit for purpose. For corporate clients, you need to help them plan ahead, put in place manageable payment plans and help them settle into their ‘new norm’ of their adjusted cash flows and profit margins. For retail clients, it will be about their new income level and how they can manage their debt repayments when they kick in.
And where the BBL scheme is concerned, banks have to be prepared for accepting new levels of risk – in the rush to provide financial support, the due diligence conducted on candidates may not have been completed thoroughly or checked sufficiently. And in the turmoil, it’s inevitable that criminals will have sought ways to exploit the system.
So when banks start to try and seek repayment of loans, there will already be cases of fraudulent applications and misrepresentation – banks are going to have to be really well prepared to identify the fraud and not chase unexpecting customers who have been exploited. Balancing the processing of new applications for loans with the appropriate diligence is critical, as this data is the foundation of future repayment and collections activity – capturing, reviewing and storing the data effectively pays dividends in the future.
Our message is simple. Invest in your customer data now, identify customers who are at risk of future default and offer them tailored support, which has a clear and positive outcome for them. Don’t just send a blanket text to all in the hope they will reach out.
Let’s hope that the banks have learnt from the past – investing early in positive customer outcomes means people can avoid turning a repayment plan into a collection action, and a collection into a recovery situation.
P2 has experience of providing Surge Resources to clear processing backlogs and of providing support to collections processing and control efficiency reviews. We can help, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call +44 (0) 7798 666 454 today.