Optimized strategies for collections

August 18, 2009 by Guest Contributor

By: Wendy Greenawalt

The combined impact of rising unemployment, increasing consumer debt burdens and decreasing home values have caused lenders to shift resources away from prospecting and acquisitions to collection and recovery activities. As delinquencies and charge-off rates continue to increase, the likelihood of collecting on delinquent accounts decreases — because outstanding debts mount for consumers and their ability to pay declines. Integrating optimized decisions into a collection strategy enables a lenders to assign appropriate collection treatments by assessing the level of risk associated with a consumer while considering a customer’s responsiveness to particular treatment options.

Specifically, collections optimization uses mathematical algorithms to maximize organizational goals while applying constraints such as budget and call center capacity  — providing explicit treatment strategies at the consumer level — while producing the highest probability of collecting outstanding dollars. Optimization can be integrated into a real-time call center environment by targeting the right consumers for outbound calls and assigning resources to consumers most likely to pay.  It can also be integrated into traditional lettering campaigns to determine the number and frequency of letters, and the tone of each correspondence. The options for account treatment are virtually limitless and, unlike other techniques, optimization will determine the most profitable strategy while meeting operational and business constraints without simplification of the problem.

By incorporating optimization into a collection strategy that includes a predictive model or score and advanced segmentation, an organization can maximize collected dollars, minimize the costs of collection efforts, improve collections efficiency, and determine which accounts to sell off – all while maximizing organizational profits.