This piece originally appeared in the December 2021 edition of DS News magazine, online now.
With more than 20 years of management experience in the financial services sector, Janet Loriot has worked with numerous contact center business units throughout banking and finance, including sales, customer service, default, compliance, back office, and others. She currently serves as EVP of the Financial Institution Group at SWBC. There, she manages all their operations for both the insurance tracking business and their collections operations. Loriot previously held positions at Bank of America and Key Bank.
Loriot recently spoke with DS News about how to prepare for the other side of the housing boom and possible rises in delinquency, how collections have changed in the last several years, and what tools work best for self-service collections.
Editor’s note: A version of this interview previously appeared in an episode of Five Star’s DS5: Inside the Industry webcast.
This has been a challenging 18-month period for the housing industry. How is SWBC preparing for the “other side” of this housing boom and for possible rises delinquency spikes?
That’s exactly right. With the housing boom and where it’s been, all the focus has been on the origination side, but we know on the other side of this, the delinquency is going to go up. One of the things that we’ve been focusing on is in our collection space, making sure that we’re prepared to handle the influx of volume that’s going to come from our mortgage partners when that delinquency does rise. We know many of our mortgage partners are going to start to shift their resources internally to more of the mid stage collections, where they need to understand what the customer is planning to do long term with their home. Do they want to stay in the home? Because of that volume, they’re not going to be able to handle the very early stage of those collections, when the customer first misses a payment and that sort of thing. So, SWBC is preparing to help our clients by outsourcing some of those early-stage collections to us.
Also, the industry is shifting in terms of what we call “compassionate collections.” Much of the industry is now geared towards allowing customers to self-serve and handle their delinquency in the early stages by themselves, without necessarily having to talk to a live collector. A lot of our partners are outsourcing that part of it to us because we have the technology to enable them to do that sort of compassionate collections.
How are technology and tools changing how the industry can approach that early-stage, self-service aspect of collections?
SWBC has partnered with FICO to bring an omnichannel solution to our clients. This allows the customers to self-service through an IVR, a web channel, and as a texting solution. So, they get text, email, and IVR calls, and all those options point the customer to a self-service option where they’re able to make a payment, do a “promise to pay,” or simply let us know that they just made the payment.
Looking beyond the near-term, what are some areas on the collections front where there is unrealized potential and a need to innovate?
One of the things that we’re also looking at right now is, when the customer chooses to make a payment—whether it’s through text or email—we want to make it a simple solution for the client to implement this product. We will have what we call a “web collect tool” that will allow us to white-brand a payment solution for each of our clients and allow the customer to self-service without having to do heavy IT lifting on the client side. It’s an easy way to enable that compassionate collections without making it difficult on the client side to implement the solution.