TrueAccord Group Welcomes Courtney Graham as Chief People Officer

By on February 8th, 2021 in Industry Insights
TrueAccord Blog

TrueAccord Group has announced Courtney Graham, former Chief People Officer of Four Winds Interactive, as its new Chief People Officer. 

“Our family of companies is growing rapidly, and we are thrilled to have Courtney on board as our first Chief People Officer. Courtney’s experience as a People leader within high-growth technology companies will be instrumental in helping TrueAccord scale while maintaining a strong people-first culture,” said Ohad Samet, CEO and co-founder of TrueAccord Group.  “We are on a mission to empower consumers to get to financial fitness, and that mission begins with our team. Courtney is a compassionate, engagement-focused leader who will undoubtedly bolster our culture of empowerment, empathy, and inclusivity.” 

“We all know that a great company is not just about the product or service. A great company is when innovative offerings and incredibly talented, productive people collide. In my experience, that’s often when the ‘magic’ happens,” said Courtney Graham. “I am delighted to be part of the TrueAccord team and am excited to build an inclusive work community that we all want to be part of.”

Courtney Graham joins a world-class leadership team that includes Ohad Samet, Sheila Monroe (COO and CEO of TrueAccord Corp), Gene Linetsky (CTO), Noah Barr (CFO), Laura Marino (CPO), Charles Deutsch (GM of Financial Services), and Nadav Samet as CIO and CEO of True Life Solutions, which launched the game-changing consumer product, Engage.

In 2020, TrueAccord Group added 146 new hires and is continuing to expand in 2021, with hundreds of open positions across engineering, product, sales, client services, and operations. See all open positions and apply here: https://www.trueaccord.com/about-us/careers/  

About TrueAccord
Founded in 2013, TrueAccord’s data-driven debt collection platform is disrupting the collections industry by helping businesses collect more debt online than traditional methods. TrueAccord’s platform is powered by machine learning with a decision engine that analyzes consumer behavior and delivers personalized and empathetic consumer experiences. By communicating at the right time in the right channel with payment options that meet consumer needs, TrueAccord provides exceptional recovery rates for top 10 financial institutions, debt buyers, lenders, and technology companies. TrueAccord empowers many of the estimated 77 million consumers who are in debt every year to get on a path to better financial health. To learn more, go to https://www.trueaccord.com.

Webinar: Digital Debt Collections 101 with Klarna and TrueAccord

By on February 1st, 2021 in Industry Insights

Watch the full recording here, or read on to learn more about this webinar.

Poor customer experience. Compliance challenges. Reputational risk. These are some of the factors that have prevented lending organizations – from areas as diverse as Fintech, utilities, service organizations, property management, telecommunications, and more – from investing in debt collections.

But ongoing financial uncertainty has led many of these organizations to seek innovative approaches to improve consumer financial health and solvency. And in contrast to traditional collections methodologies, digital debt collection offers the promise of a superior consumer experience that drives engagement, results, and ultimately brand loyalty.

How should companies new to digital collections get started? On January 28, TrueAccord hosted a webinar to tackle this timely question. Our featured guest was Jan Hansson (Vice President Debt Collection, Klarna), a veteran of the debt collections space. Jan has decades of operating experience in collections, including leadership roles within Klarna for the past 12 years.

In this webinar, Jan spoke with Ohad Samet (Co-founder and CEO, TrueAccord) about Klarna’s journey into digital debt collection. They discussed the transformational impact that digital collections have delivered for Klarna, particularly around consumer experience and loyalty — and share advice for other organizations looking to embark on a similar journey.

Watch the full webinar here.

The Four Trends Making Digital Debt Collections a Necessity

By on January 19th, 2021 in Industry Insights
TrueAccord Blog

The following is an excerpt from our recent ebook, Ten Critical Questions:
The Buyer’s Guide to Digital Debt Collection Solutions
. To download the full ebook, click here.

Consumer behavior and expectations have undergone significant changes over the past few years – trends that COVID has only accelerated. For lending organizations, the end result of these changes is that digital collections have shifted from a “nice to have” into a must-have.

Here are the four consumer trends that are disrupting the traditional collections model and making digital-first collections a necessity:

Consumers are digital-first.

The decline of the landline has made it harder to reliably reach consumers at home. And advances in mobile technology (e.g., call blocking) have made it easier for consumers to screen calls. As a result, right-party contact rates are low and continuing to decline. In fact, 78% of collection agents see their calls blocked, and 74% of collection agents see their calls marked as “Spam or Fraud.” (Source: ACA)

What this means for lending organizations
Organizations must embrace a multi-channel digital approach that meets customers where they are, empowering them to respond at their own convenience.

Consumers won’t accept one-size-fits-all treatment.

The explosion of personalization in marketing (from product recommendations to programmatic advertising) means that consumers expect to be communicated with as individuals, in a way that is relevant and tailored to them.

What it means for lending organizations
Organizations must seek out a digital collections approach that tailors messages and outreach to individual consumers.

Consumers expect a seamless, self-serve experience.

From Amazon to Instacart, consumers have become accustomed to being able to do everything digitally – without interacting with a human being.

What it means for lending organizations
It’s not enough to communicate with customers over digital channels. A digital collections solution must offer a robust and intuitive self-service interface that enables customers to engage in their own time.

There are now major logistical challenges in scaling the contact center model.

With COVID limiting in-person interactions, it’s more challenging than ever to hire, train, house, and monitor contact center agents – creating obstacles with the traditional agency model.

What it means for lending organizations
A digital collections solution must be built for scalability, enabling organizations to meet collections volume without adding agents to make outbound calls.

For more insights on digital collections, download our recent ebook, Ten Critical Questions: The Buyer’s Guide to Digital Debt Collection Solutions.

Digital Collections Roadmap for 2021

By on January 8th, 2021 in Industry Insights

As we begin 2021, we’re looking ahead and seeing a lot to be optimistic about in the world of collections. Our industry is becoming more innovative and more consumer-focused. Digital channels, self-serve options, & machine learning create a new industry normal in which both collectors and consumers can succeed.

Get on the path to becoming a best-in-class collector this year. We’ve compiled our favorite tools and resources into a Digital Collections Roadmap. The resources on this map will help you assess your current processes, learn about industry benchmarks, and build a more innovative and consumer-focused collections operations in 2021.

Download the roadmap here.

The Digest: January 2021

By on January 6th, 2021 in Industry Insights

We’re only one week into 2021, and it’s already an eventful year. The surging pandemic, lagging vaccine rollout, imminent political change, and turmoil in Washington are affecting every corner of the country, including the worlds of finance, fintech, and collections. Here are the articles we’re reading to help make sense of what this year may bring:

• Distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine in the US is much slower than expected, but economists are already looking ahead to what a post-vaccine economy could look like—especially in light of the recently passed $900B stimulus package. Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal foresee “tough sledding this winter, and then a rebound” in the spring. Likewise, Nobel laureate economist Paul Krugman predicts that “mass vaccination, pent-up demand, greater household savings, technological progress, and the Biden administration’s backing” will fuel a jobs boom later this year. Our fingers are crossed.


Part 2 of the CFPB’s new debt collection rule is here. New guidelines around validation notices, time-barred debt, and passive debt collection are all covered in this section. Kelly Knepper-Stephens, TrueAccord’s VP Legal & Compliance, will be sharing her insights on the new rule at the ACA Huddle Webinar this Friday 1/8 (ACA log-in required). If you want to go even deeper on Part 2 of the new rule, you can download all 354 pages here.


• If you’re still processing 2020, we recommend checking out Forbes’ round-up of the winners and losers in fintech and banking from the past year, as well as PYMNTS.com’s list of trends that shaped the digital-first economy in 2020. Unsurprisingly, the Buy Now, Pay Later boom and the meteoric rise of neobank Chime and payments startup Stripe were noted as standout events in the world of fintech this year.


• If you’d rather look forward than back, we recommend checking out Tearsheet’s expert panel on what banking will look like in 2021. As longtime proponents of consumer-focused financial services, we love this prediction in particular: “Banks will have to find a way to duplicate personal, in-person relationships–but at scale and with a digital-first approach. This will be a priority in 2021.” To learn about TrueAccord’s method for creating innovative, personalized experiences in collections, check out our webinar on the future of digital debt collections.


• Our founder and CEO Ohad Samet recently appeared on the Wharton Fintech podcast to talk about TrueAccord’s mission to change the debt collection industry by empowering consumers with flexible, personalized payment options. If you want to even know more about TrueAccord’s vision for 2021, check out our Digital Collections Roadmap, a collection of tools and resources to guide your collections strategy this year. For an even deeper dive, check out our ebook, The Buyer’s Guide to Digital Debt Collection Solutions.

The Digest: December 2020

By on December 17th, 2020 in Industry Insights

Between the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, a potential second stimulus package, and the incoming Biden administration, big changes are upon us in the United States. How will these changes impact the worlds of finance, fintech, and collections? Here are the headlines we’re watching as we consider the changes to come in 2021:

• As we covered in November, the CFPB’s new debt collection rule signals a continued shift towards more protections for consumers in debt. With the incoming Biden administration, more regulatory news from the CFPB could be imminent, including announcements of more aggressive oversight of the student debt industry and regulations to help homeowners who are facing foreclosure.

• According to Bloomberg, “Americans’ household finances are in the best shape in decades,” despite the surging pandemic. While 2020 has been much harder on working-class families, data from the Federal Reserve shows that “they too have more money in the bank now.” Unfortunately, this good news regarding household finances is complicated by the recent jump in unemployment claims and an increase in food insecurity among low-income families.

• Lawmakers are currently in stimulus negotiations, which means some financial relief could be on the way for families and businesses. Even if a deal is not achieved in the coming weeks, the Biden administration has indicated that “it will push for a multi-trillion-dollar package in 2021,” according to Business Insider. As we’ve noted, a large stimulus could have wide-ranging effects on consumer finances, including a possible sharp increase in debt repayment.

• On the fintech front, we are still closely watching the rising success of BNPL (Buy Now Pay Later) startups, such as Affirm, Afterpay, and Klarna. PYMNTS.com recently released a study, Buy Now, Pay Later: Millennials and the Shifting Dynamics of Online Credit, that sheds light on the audience factors encouraging this emerging landscape. As we’ve noted before, flexible payment options can be a real win-win: better for the customer experience, as well as a positive for payment plan retention.

The Digest: The CFPB’s New Debt Collection Rule

By on November 19th, 2020 in Industry Insights

In this edition of The Digest, we’re zooming in on a topic making headlines in the world of collections: the new CFPB debt collection rule. We sat down with TrueAccord’s Chief Compliance Officer Tim Collins to get his initial thoughts on what the new rule will mean for the collections industry, and how it may open new doors for better relationships between collectors and consumers.

Tim, thank you for sharing your thoughts on the long-awaited new CFPB debt collection rule. It’s the first big change to the FDCPA since 1977, and it provides new “rules of the road” for collections. What are some of the top takeaways for the collections industry?

As you said, this is the first major change to the FDCPA in over forty years. The new rule is meant to help the collections industry adapt to all the exponential changes in technology, communication, and consumer behavior that have happened since then.

To some degree, there is still a focus on regulating the more traditional world of call-and-collect agencies. There are new guidelines around call caps. They also put in a clearer definition of limited content messages, which was a topic that the industry was looking for guidance on. In general, there are now clearer instructions on the means by which a collector can reach a consumer.

Beyond the world of call-and-collect agencies, the new rule opens doors for better digital communications with consumers—email, SMS, etc. There’s a huge focus on consumer preference. The new rule is clear: the consumer has the right to tell you when is a good time for them to be contacted, and they have the ability to tell you what communications channels work best for them. All of that is very much in line with what we already do—and have always done—at TrueAccord.

The new rule is clear: the consumer has the right to tell you when is a good time for them to be contacted, and they have the ability to tell you what communications channels work best for them.

I know TrueAccord was influential in issuing comments that were ultimately incorporated into the rule. Can you tell us a bit about that?

We’re proud to have been involved in providing public comments to the rule around the use of email in collections. We were able to share our insights on how emails should be sent, why email is convenient for consumers, the advantages of email with opt-out, and other dimensions of a successful, compliant email program.

[Editor’s note: for more insights from TrueAccord on using email in collections, check out our new whitepaper co-authored with Experian: What to Know When Adding Email to Collections: The Ultimate Guide]

It’s important to note that the new rule won’t take effect until late 2021, and there’s a lot that could change between now and then in the United States. So, there’s still some degree of uncertainty about how the rule will be implemented.

That’s right. There’s a lot of things that could happen between now and when the rule becomes effective. Also, we’re still waiting for part two of the rule to come out. That will likely happen in December.

So yes, there’s a lot that we still don’t know, and a lot that could change. There’s even a chance the whole rule could be tossed out, though that is unlikely. But right now, the new rule gives us a vision and a direction about where the industry is headed— and that is towards better alignment with consumers, more protection for consumers. That’s part of the CFPB’s mission, and that’s part of our mission as well.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

*
TrueAccord’s compliance and digital collections experts are available to talk more about the CFPB’s new debt collection rule and what it will mean for the collections industry. Start a conversation with our team to learn more.

The Digest: September 2020

By on September 10th, 2020 in Industry Insights

As we begin to round out an unprecedented year, things remain…well…unprecedented. The world of collections is weathering the storm with new strategies and technology, all while staying focused on the rippling economic effects of the ongoing pandemic. Here’s the news we’re following at TrueAccord.

What to keep an eye on

• Slowdowns at the USPS will have ramifications for the debt collection industry. Longer mail delivery times may disrupt the arrival of collections notices, which will shorten consumers’ 30-day window to pay, which may cause chaos for collectors and consumers alike. (A possible workaround? Working with TrueAccord and sending email instead of snail-mail.)

• As of last month, debt collection profits soared. As we noted in our report Consumer Debt in the Age of COVID-19, consumers flocked toward paying off their debt in full, as a result of the cash payments of the CARES act. But with a lack of additional stimulus payments coming, the next few months will be unpredictable. We’ll be watching this news closely.

• In response to the coming economic uncertainty, many banks are “bracing for impact” by adopting new technology to help streamline debt collection. But beware of the challenges.

• Proposed updates to The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) are likely to take effect in October. Read up on these changes to understand how they might affect you and your debt collection processes.

About 30 million Americans are “at risk” of being evicted in coming months. Debt collectors in the real estate industry may need to look towards new tactics to help tenants tackle their housing debt and avoid evictions.

What to look forward to

• The fall conference season is around the corner. And this year, for better or worse, we’ll be doing our panel-watching, swag-getting, and networking from home. We’re especially looking forward to LendIt and CBA Live, which have been seamlessly adapted into a virtual format. Our founder Ohad Samet will be speaking at Lendit in the panel, “New Approaches to Collections in Times of Crisis.” If you’re interested in attending, reach out to marketing@trueaccord.com for a code for discounted registration.