Lending Perspectives: The future of collections is self service

Millennials are likely to prefer managing their payments via their smartphones than in person

As millennials and other tech-savvy consumers seek to conduct more of their financial affairs on mobile devices, it should be inevitable that when faced with financial difficulties, they will want to work with their creditors in this manner as well.

When I started in the lending business almost 35 years ago, our tools to collect from a consumer were fairly primitive. We had a phone and a phone book or—better yet—a “criss-cross” directory that allowed us to look people up by phone number, and from time to time we’d even knock on a door. Now we have social media, Google, GPS and starter-interrupt devices to locate and even disable vehicles. Yet it seems like the industry is having a tougher time than ever reaching borrowers to actually talk to them.

Millennials clearly show you the challenge ahead; the prototypical example is a table full of young people at a restaurant where no one is talking to the others in the group. They are on their mobile devices, talking with people not at the table! What is the likelihood your credit union will be able to reach them on their phones to work out a payment arrangement when they experience financial difficulties in the future?


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