Leasing Life examined the recruitment market for credit analysts.
This month, we take a look at the field of collections, which is
set to be a key job market for leasing professionals in 2009. Ian
Credland, who has been collections manager at KBC Lease UK for the
last year, shares his impressions.
What course has your career
taken to lead you to your current role?
IC: I went straight from
school to Barclays Bank, and then at age 20 went to work for
Berisford Consumer Finance. After a period at Causeway Equipment
Finance, I moved to Singer & Friedlander Finance, where I set
up Singer & Friedlander Insurance Finance.
In my early 30s I took a career
break and subsequently went back to Singer & Friedlander
Finance as its litigation manager, until being made redundant when
the debtor book was sold to Close Brothers.
I then worked in business as a
collections manager, enforcing contracts on SMEs through to blue
experiences and methods are most helpful in your job at the
IC: Some 20 years’
experience in finance, both in collections and in sales, has given
me a clear understanding of what a collections professional’s
rights are, and how far we can go.
In my career I have constantly
adapted to the scenarios debtors face us with, and have learned to
change my approach depending on their responses.
Debtors have become immune to
barrages of letters reminding them that payments have been missed,
and simply ignore them. The only truly effective method with medium
to large ticket businesses is to speak to the debtor directly, and
develop a relationship with them.
If they will not speak to you, then
you have to increase the emotional investment until they will.
Debtors in general have a casual
attitude to their obligations, and County Court proceedings have
little impact on many of them. It is only the potential subsequent
enforcement that brings about real discussion.
For many companies, the only tool
which really grabs their attention is a process server that
delivers a statutory demand, or issuing a winding-up petition.
Although this seems a little
strong, many companies think that they can dictate to funders how
they will approach their contractual terms.
How have current
economic conditions affected the nature of your
IC: Debtors fall
into two camps: they either believe nothing is happening, or expect
they have control over when they will pay.
Neither approach is effective or
sensible. They should talk with their creditors instead, and agree
a way forward. If this talk takes place before they are in arrears,
they will get a better hearing.
There is far more discussion and a
great deal of negotiation with customers at the moment in order to
facilitate payment. Working with customers is essential in order to
collect as many payments as possible.
It is also important to recognise
when the hard decision to repossess should be made.
If not making a payment of £500 is
going to save someone’s business, then it is probably already too
late for that company to recover.