Between 2000 and 2007 there were about 70,000 borrowers in arrears. The forecast is that by the end of 2009 there will be 500,000 so it’s clear that banks and building societies are facing a significant problem when it comes to resources.
Recent research published by Fitch Ratings shows the average experience of collections staff deteriorated seriously between 2006 and 2008. In fact, it is now not uncommon to see servicing companies with collections teams that have an average of less than two years’ experience.
A recent recruitment campaign we carried out targeting collections staff saw all manner of applicants believing they could make the grade.
One example was a French polisher who, on reading our advertisement, suddenly realised a career in collections was for him.
And in a similar vein, consider the fish and chip shop worker whose application form attempted to convince us that his skills were transferable.
Obviously, neither of the above applicants got interviews as we believe relevant experience is important, especially in the collections arena.
This country has not seen a serious housing-related downturn for some 15 years and lack of investment in collections teams can only exacerbate this problem. Inexperienced staff is the last thing we need.