Trends influencing Credit and Collections

TrendsLast week, I was lucky enough to be able to speak at the latest Arum round table held at the rather grand National Museum of Scotland, overlooking Edinburgh Castle.

The discussion at this event focused on wider trends in the credit and collections industry and in particular what this means for the future.

There were some interesting common themes.

Regulation:  This was discussed at some length, both in terms of requirements for increased control and specific items such as the impact of competition using OpenWater readiness in that sector as a case study.  The trend was clearly expected to continue, generating more changes (and requirements for evidencing controls).  The importance of culture within an organisation was seen as key – and the increased focus of the FCA on culture discussed.

The Economy:  Obviously, this has a direct impact on a wide portion of the sector, it is continuing to re-enforce a drive for cost effectiveness and changing investment conditions.

Customer Focus and Demographics:  There were some interesting data points around communication preferences by age within the customer base.  Companies it appears are increasingly needing to appeal to different groups with different needs, different expectations and using different communication tools.

Technology:  Always a popular theme, however this was seen as the route to solve some of the control and cost challenges whilst meeting customer expectations.  Automation and ‘opti-channel’ continued as themes.

There was also some some lively debate about the ‘unknowns’.  From Brexit and US elections, to China, Syria, trade, potential financial crisis and conflict it was recognised, at the moment, there is considerable uncertainty in the world.  Any of these could generate a significant shock impacting customers, business economics and the industry.

There was wide recognition that being prepared, having a plan and being ready to act is key.  Equally important is ensuring there is a robust set of tools to help manage any situation.

All in all a thoroughly enjoyable evening with some great participation amongst a good group of attendees.

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