Post COVID Collections Webinar
Monday, Oct 19, 2020
10:00am – 11:00am
Post COVID Collections Webinar
It’s still survival mode and although Ontario is in Stage 3, having emergency savings is still not a priority as one third of Canadians are still paying off debt.
Recent statistics from the Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy Canada reveals insolvencies among Ontario consumers were down 34% in June compared to June 2019.
Consumer bankruptcies and proposals plummeted by 46% and 28% respectively…what does this mean?
With rising Covid cases across Canada and the potential of a second wave … what is a head?
Please join us on October 19th, 2020 for our first ever Webinar with executives from BMO, BNS and CIBC and learn how they are maneuvering in today’s pandemic environment.
How is this new reality affecting the collection world?
- What will happen once the government relief assistance stop?
- What will a second wave of the Coronavirus look like and how will it further impact what we do?
- How have your changes impacted recovery/delinquency?
- What do you expect in the next 12 months?
These are just some of the questions being addressed.
Registrants will also have the opportunity to ask questions.
This webinar is free, but as part of our commitment to supporting our community, the Credit Association of Greater Toronto is requesting your consideration to donating to the Concord Adex Survivor Fund.
For more information or to donate please visit www.survivorsfund.ca.
Special thanks to our sponsor Cleanlist: www.cleanlist.ca.
Speakers For The Event
Anuj Vohra – Head of Canadian Collections | Personal, Business Banking, Payment & Collection Operations (PBPCO)| BMO Financial Group
Anuj is a passionate and dynamic, results-driven, Risk and Customer Excellence focused Executive with over 23 years of progressive Management experience in the Banking and Merchant Risk Sector in North America and Asia with extensive experience in the areas of Collections and Fraud.
Anuj is recognized as one of the industry leaders in turnaround strategies. His operational experience primarily focused on building strong relationships with internal and external customers by deploying innovative processes that exceeded client expectations. He has stellar record of forging strategic partnerships, building effective client-partner relationships, and increasing organizational efficiencies that have continuously delivered high performance. He has extensive Project Management skills ranging from development of Models, concepts & systems with follow through to successful implementation. Anuj is adept with various Information/Data Management, IT Infrastructure, Risk, Fraud, Receivables, Compliance and Analytics Scoring and Application-environments.
Amin Liaghati, Director, Recovery Operations, CIBC
Amin has been in the collections and Risk industry for over 20 years. He has worked for Collections agencies, Technology providers and two of the top 5 Canadian Banks, with experience in international and domestic Risk Management and Collections operations and strategy.
Leon Ramsey, Director, Small Business – ScotiaHelps & Operational Oversight, Global Operations, Scotiabank
Leon is currently the Director of Small Business Collections and Operational Oversight for Scotiabank. Leon has been with Scotiabank for just over 2 years and was previously with American Express for over 20 years in a variety of roles ending with 3 years in Risk Management.
Tim Paulsen, Moderator
Tim, our host for this event, is the founder and managing director of ICPC, The International Centre for Professional Collections.
Over the years, he has delivered seminars, consulted with clients and spoken at conferences in 25 different countries.
Tim is the author of several books, including ‘Paid in Full’, ‘The Reluctant Collector’ and ‘How Would Confucius Collect a Past-due Invoice – How Would Donald Trump’.
He is the creative force behind ‘The Excuse Terminator’ software, used worldwide by thousands of professional collectors.
CAGT Virtual Webinar Replay
Post Webinar Questions & Answers
Question # 1 from Pedro Maya
Anuj, Amin & Leon, great to see you all. How do you see end to end self-serve solutions such as SMS, Email or chatbot vs. phone channel as part of the Banks collections strategies during & post Covid?……..Cheers gentlemen
- Leon – I see a multi-channel strategy being leveraged based on Risk models and historical response rates per channel. This would be used to optimize collections effectiveness and minimize the cost to collect in aggregate.
- Amin – I think we continue on the path of self-serve options (that were initiated prior to COVID), but I think what becomes even more important is the ability for 2-way SMS, Chat and Email as a form of communication to resolve debt. Having the ability to communicate with customer outside of the traditional phone channel will be very important as volumes increase.
Question # 2 from Daniel Bazan
For the panel – Throughout the pandemic, were your Risk models altered as a result of those that were supported by government subsidies or is the approach to continue to monitor consumer ‘behaviour’ with granted credit?
- Leon – while I cannot comment on what exactly was done in the models, I can safely say that a review was done against our entire portfolio and short-term/long-term strategies are being determined. From my perspective I believe that we need to place the data being gather today in its own “bucket” so that we don’t under/over predict delinquencies. The macro-economic variables of this time period are not similar to what existed Pre-COVID.
Question # 3 from Andrew Mulroy
From a risk perspective do you feel banks will start to tighten their credit decisioning?
- Leon – I cannot say “tighten” from an overall Risk perspective. I believe that the banks will reassess their credit decisions and loosen in some areas and tighten in others. This will all be within each banks’ risk appetites and forward looking growth plans.
- Amin – I believe it is too early to tell, however if the economic factors start to put pressure on delinquencies and unemployment, I think a cyclical and natural tightening of credit should be expected. However, Canadian banks are well positioned to continue lending.
Question # 4 from Tracey Ivansyshyn
With the WFH permissions/allowances being renewed by most client partners in short term increments currently, it may be difficult to reduce our agency physical space footprints (not to mention lease agreements) not knowing when we will be recalled to physical space by clients or legislation – any thoughts there? I feel there may be an expectation that we can reduce our costs – but the question of long term leases in place or if we could reduce our physical footprint today what if clients or Ministries revoke WFH abilities? Do you feel we’ll get a longer-term strategy on these?
- Leon – I believe that fixed costs and variable costs will be considered in the future strategies. While getting the most for their money, I do not believe that the Banks will want to be understaffed from a recovery standpoint and will understand the value that third-party collections providers bring.
- Amin – I definitely feel the WFH “pilot” has proven successful for employees and organizations. I do think a certain percentage of the workforce (whether hybrid or permanent) will be WFH moving forward and as long as the info security and BCP plans are well defined and secure, I do think most organizations would allow and encourage suppliers to leverage this capability.
Question # 5 from Darlene McIntosh
How are you mitigating risk and exposure from a bank perspective?
- Leon – Short answer is to regularly look at the customer base against the data that we have on them now (payment commitments, bureau information, risk segment, etc.) and working with Risk on the short-term/ long term plans. There will be growth segments and non-growth segments that will be focused on in short-term/long-term that will be in line with our short-term/long-term risk appetites.
Question # 6 from Iain Coffey
For the panel – Coming out of COVID – do you anticipate an increased emphasis on Business Continuity Planning – both internally at your organizations and also an increased requirement for evidence of solid, detailed BCPs from your vendors?
- Leon – Yes, this pandemic has highlighted the need to ensure that we have robust plans for situations where the building is not accessible, or the staff is not available. We will all need to learn from this situation and ensure that we have plans in place where our service is restored in acceptable timeframes.
- Amin – Absolutely. Also ties in with the remote working capabilities of having offsite agents, which I think will be a critical component of BCP plans.
Question # 7 from Jason Harte
If your organisations expect debt volume to increase but also want collection costs to decrease, do you expect collection litigation to be a smaller element of your strategy in the future?
- Leon – I do not believe that you can reduce collections volumes that go through the legal channels solely based on trying to reduce collections costs. In many situations in order to collect you must take legal actions. What I could see is scrutiny on the type of items that could be “self-served” as opposed to automatically shipped out.
- Amin – While the cost structure for litigation varies for each ledger, I don’t necessarily see that litigation would play a smaller role in the collection strategy. I think the ROI will always be there for litigation, but perhaps ensuring the right accounts are chosen for this strategy becomes even more important.
Question # 8 from Anonymous
What differences do we see with regards to risks business with from consumers vs business to business. Regarding business risks, what kinds of business do we see most at risk in near future and why.
- Leon – As I support small business my thoughts would be that industries that cannot adapt their business models (move towards a strong online footprint or delivery-based models for example) will struggle to remain profitable. If there is another strong wave and restrictions increase, I believe that revenues compared to expenses will make it virtually impossible for businesses that do not adapt to survive. This does ultimately impact the employees that businesses employ which will have a trickle-down effect to consumer spend and delinquencies in that segment.
Question # 9 from Ken Malin
Some industries such as Telco, FI’s are still limiting agency call activity to balance risk/reward in terms of customer complaints and branding damage. Do you foresee this changing in the near future and how are agencies dealing with this constraint? Thanks Ken
- Leon – I cannot see these limits as being sustainable for the long-term. I do see more scrutiny on “what” is said and “how” agencies may be going about collecting. The concern of “Brand damage” is a real one in this time and something that the FI’s will definitely be worried about.
Question # 10 from Anonymous
For the panel – notwithstanding that the digitization of channels has generated improvements for customers and higher productivity for creditors, what push-back does the Bank expect from regulators and compliance groups post-COVID in allowing the virtualized operating models to continue? Will there be a mandate to “back to in-office” for some functions due to this, or will the Bank be advocating for the regulators to allow these structures to remain in place?
- Leon – I do not see the regulators mandating “back to in-office” at all! What I do see is regulations around establishing “clear consent”, “accurate disclosures”, “escalations guidelines” and having a robust remediation process in the place to address any issues that may arise. At a macro-economic level, I believe that the government will understand the need for the FI’s to evolve given the pandemic and will provide support to assist them.
- Amin – While there will always be pushback or asks for additional layers of controls, I’m not sure that I can envision a scenario where we fully go backwards on these technologies. I think COVID has sped up the inevitable and all industries will continue to push the envelop with regards to digital. So, I expect a fairly bumpy road ahead, but one that should get us to where we need to be in the next few years.
Question # 11 from Anonymous
As a result of COVID, our company has offered customers various repayment assistance programs – how long do the banks plan to continue any assistance programs they’ve offered to customers?… has such a timeline even been considered?
- Leon – I believe that the assistance programs will remain, but the Banks may be given guidelines as to how much of their customer based can be on these assistance programs. Additionally, there may need to be considerations as to the ability to re-offer such assistance in the immediate future. For myself personally, I am not aware of any timelines that have been government imposed.
- Amin – While the repayment programs may change, the long term plan is to have more repayment options available to customers (post COVID). The larger repayment assistance programs are winding down, but more scaled down options will need to be introduced.
Question # 12 from Anonymous
Is there any appetite at this time from an industry perspective for Lenders to resume with legal actions including repossession? Especially given majority of loans in legal action had pre-existing arrears.
- Leon – It is my understanding that many of the Bank’s have resumed these activities however cautiously.