Good afternoon / evening Ladies and Gentlemen, Lenders, Adjusters, fellow Recovery Agents.
My name is ........... of .........., New Jersey.
I am the CEO and Managing Member at ..................., a full service auto repossession and skip tracing company. .................. goal is to change the repossession standards for years to come. All management staff are Certified Asset Recovery Specialists in accordance with the National Certification Program.
My first introduction to the automobile recovery services industry began in 1994 with First Interstate Bank, now known as Wells Fargo as a Mandatory Collector responsible for collections, repossession assignment and recovery agent selection. This was followed in 1996 with Americredit Financial Services, a leading independent auto finance company. As Assistant Vice President from 1997-1999 and Vice President from 1999-2004, I oversaw 4 officers, 14 managers and 300+ call center staff, introducing performance incentives and recognition programs to reduce delinquency amounts by 25 - 45%.
This expertise included Vendor Management for repossession agents, skip-tracers and Corporate selection of 3rd party vendors, negotiating contract and conducting vendor audits to increase recovery dollars, as well as implementing more effective delinquency forecasting to maximize the rates of return. Development and implementation of Collection and Vendor Scorecard lead to increased recovery rates and measurement of recovery performance. However, service excellence within the call center did not come at the expense of morale. A positive work environment is essential; crucial, to increasing rates of recovery, notwithstanding the advances in technology.
Pursuant to AFS, I assumed the role of Vice President of .............. with Sixth Gear Solutions, Inc., of New York, a provider of financing solutions to automotive dealerships for the sale of new and used vehicles, from September, **** - December ****. Sixth Gear was a "Start-Up" Inc. by the previous CEO of Americredit Financial Services, Michael Barrington and Norman Buchanan, previous President of Bank One. I am sure everyone has a story about the financial crisis of 2008. Unfortunately Sixth Gear was forced to liquidate after the downfall of Lehman Brothers, one of our prime investors. Apparently Lehman were NOT the smartest guys in the room.
My tenure at Sixth Gear was largely characterized by the initiation, development, implementation and execution of all Collection Policies and Procedures in compliance with FDCPA, Federal and State Regulations. Collection Procedures was comprised of Early/Late Stage collections, Repossession, Asset Recovery, Bankruptcy and BPO Account Handling. Management of BPO and Portfolios ensured quality of service and compliance.
As a part-time New Yorker working in the Manhattan Corporate Office of Sixth Gear, I was exposed to a "New York Corporate" experience that afforded me the privilege of growing and advancing my career on a new level. The experience was like none other and I was given the responsibility of shaping the Collections center as well as the cultivation and grooming of Vendor relations and management.
Concurrent with E-CODE, in August, 2009, ................., LLC was initiated. Together, with my business partner .................., the company is composed of 27+ years of Auto Repossession, Prime and Sub-Prime auto collections. Our current rate of repossession resolution in the State of New Jersey and on the Indian Reservation(s) is 90%.
In 2010, I was appointed Director of the 2010-2011 ............ Advisory Board. The ............. Advisory Board was established in response to an increased demand for Recovery Industry guidance in standardization, professionalism and best practices that embrace new technologies and the ever-changing financial services environment. I will also help champion Recovery Industry professionalism to financial services institutions to foster greater credibility, business and trust.
The ............. Advisory Board is an elite group of thought leaders and tenured professionals in the recovery industry that are dedicated to promoting education and awareness about industry changes in compliance, professionalism and technology, including best practices and tips for successfully utilizing ALPR systems. The Board also serves as a sounding board for feedback from Recovery Agents about industry hurdles, needs and challenges, and suggestions for improvements that will strengthen the industry. In other words, what we are, in effect, here for today.
.........................., LLC utilizes MVTRAC Automated License Plate Recognition Software Camera Systems. Sharing my experience of transition from Lender to Agent and my opinion for agent success, technology to assist agents in recovery and the need at this time of industry reduction (recovery rates will continue to experience a 30% reduction in recovery assignments from lenders for the next 12-24 months) -- so additional income generated from the use of ALPR technology will allow Recovery agencies to survive during the downturn, and it is that, that I am here to speak with you today.
It is my intention to present my opinion concerning the auto industry and the success I have learned in transitioning from and utilizing experience gained from the lender side of the business, to successfully opening an Auto Repossession Agency, seeking the use of APLR technology to advance, and how as an agent it is important to be proactive in maximizing Automated License Plate Recognition technology to make it a successful tool for your agency.
An appropriate analogy or example of what I am saying with respect to being proactive in maximizing the benefits of the tools within ALPR technology, is the internet. SEO, or Search Engine Optimization is the process of optimizing the visibility of a website using search algorithms. Likewise, a website vendor may use PPC, "Pay Per Click" advertising - with GOOGLE for example, to bring more visitors to their website. In other words, to enhance their visibility.
However, both methods are not sufficient to necessarily ensure profitability or drive users to the vendor website. The website owner or SEO contractor must continually tweak and fine tune the website optimization to maximize its visibility and, therefore, hopefully its profitability.
Just as today, you wouldn't use an old dial-up modem to access e-mail, nor would you run the Recovery Business as they did in the 80's.
The "Repo Man" is dead! PAUSE Perhaps not in a literal sense, but certainly the cultural perspective put forth in the cult-classic 1984 film, "Repo Man", starring Emilio Estevez or the ridiculous portrayal of the Repo industry in the reality TV shows, Operation Repo or Repo Games. Now is the time to invest in your future and dispel the myths of the recovery industry by utilizing the latest technology to ensure sustainability and profitability.
Furthermore, it is insufficient for me to merely rely on, or strive to benefit the recovery industry alone. As Owner of ............................ and Director of ................. Advisory Board, it is paramount to minimize losses for what is essentially our employer and benefactor, the Auto Finance Industry. The Finance Industry's health is the honey of our industry and the more effectively recovery agents restore or recapture revenue as it were, the better for all parties involved.
It is imperative that recovery agents utilize and then maximize effective advances in technology in the pursuit and recapture of asset recovery. Additionally and, perhaps equally important, all recovery agencies, employees and field agents must be resolute in the pursuit of inter-personal skills and diplomacy for more disciplined and successful capture of lost revenue and vehicles.
Technology, the employment of that technology, and its integration with effective communication skills will best mitigate these potential losses. Recovery Agents are, without a hint of irony, customer service representatives and how they interact with the consumer will be borne out in the numbers. The customers satisfaction, delinquent as it may be, is an element all Recovery Agents must endeavor to perfect if they are to avoid falling behind.
My cumulative body of work in the industry is complimented by an equal devotion to fostering a harmonious, successful and profitable "marriage" as it were between the Repossession and Finance Agents in the industry. I believe this commitment to both sides of the industry reflects a deep-rooted dedication to forge a bond of business professionalism between the two industries that is as strong and centralized as possible.
In a previous article of mine in CUCollector, I stated that some may say that today’s technology is a bit Orwellian, but how can one make that argument with the way technology has facilitated, improved and even saved our lives? For example, although many perceive airport security machines to be intrusive, the impact they possess on our ability to travel safely and freely is a direct benefit of the advancement and implementation of technology. Recall the introduction of ATM machines. Many were sceptical about its ability to track the location of individuals withdrawing money, however nowadays ATM cameras are a common tool utilized by law enforcement to catch persons of interest on a daily basis.
Some technologies initially may not have been originally welcomed with open arms, but, eventually, they have become a necessary part of our daily lives and provide functions that uphold the structure and order of society. The Recovery Industry performs not only a significant economic role in the U.S. economy, but, indeed a role within the legal community as well. The technology therefore, is quite pertinent and relevant.
This idea along with my tendency to learn from others’ mistakes led to me researching license plate recognition (LPR) systems. My decision to join the ............ network was an easy one. Subscribing to a camera system rather than purchasing one was a key factor in my decision due to the positive impact it would have on my financial statements.
As a user of their system I know that my company benefits and I ’m sure that many of you out there who are part of the network also share this benefit. These benefits far outweigh the retail cost(s) of equipment. If you factor in the costs for infrastructure, server capacity, bandwidth and customer support, you will soon realize the true value of the system.
Also, the ................. system generates true “real-time” hits which make all the difference. It diminishes ............................ reliance on creditors to confirm hits, makes unnecessary phone calls obsolete and resolves the constant worry of who and when a recovery order will originate and process from or through. Under the ............... system the delinquent unit is confirmed out for repossession simply by being in the system and is available immediately allowing the agent to recover the asset on-site, period.
However, if you think having the LPR system will make money strictly on its own, it won’t. Once again, I want to emphasize that one must create an adaptive business model and think outside of the box; essentially pretend you are starting a brand new business separate of your core repossession business, or it will not work.
This is an area where my diverse background and my decision to conduct an integrative analysis on how to "corral" as many VIN's in the Recovery System as possible, has paid off, despite being in a state that has fewer VIN'S than many other states. Ultimately, our work accelerated the ability of our agents to immediately recover assets on site. So much so, that although I currently have one of the lowest number of captured reads per month relative to other agents, I own the highest number of repossessions as well as the lowest number of reads per repossession.
Of course, I am not going to divulge my “trade secret” for increasing my LPR repossessions, however I will say this; once the systems are installed it is absolutely the agent’s discretion as to whether the system is being utilized to its full potential and generating the highest return on investment (ROI).
The Recovery Industry Advisory Board and Auto Finance Advisory Board are comprised of professionals from the respective industries. The members of each board serve as a brain trust for ............ and provide feedback about the Recovery Industry in terms of challenges, needs and suggestions for improvements that will strengthen the Recovery Industry and Auto Finance Industry alike. It is rare indeed, to find a company that so actively cultivates and understands the merit in seeking to enhance the fiscal growth and functionality of its own clients, whereas many service providers would be generally content to simply collect user fees. It would be foolish of any Recovery Agency not to exploit the reciprocal benefits of such a setup.
Our strategic partnership allows my company to sell services to lender clients and bring in revenue based on the relationships that I forge. Best of all, through their Recovery Manager Pro database I can manage and streamline any and all business processes that I have with my lenders. Specifically, I am able to view various statistics, plate captures, historical hits (including pictures of the vehicles), license plates, GPS locations, and more. It allows .......................... to focus less on time-consuming and costly infrastructure, and focus on what we are in business for - to save lenders money.
Most importantly however is the fact that LPR allows the agents to perform more efficiently by preventing them from the need to spend weeks to months hunting the vehicle with printed searches, parking tickets, and talking to various individuals who may or may not have any information at all. Not to mention using the system ultimately reduces insurance premiums by minimizing contact with individuals, which all of us in the industry understand increase the odds of a lawsuit.
.......... has now advanced even further with their ALPR technology creating an "Intelligent Data Network". Through a partnership with Recovery Manager Pro, LLC, a leading provider of cloud-based recovery solutions technology that is currently operating on its third version, RMP is a fully integrative database that grants users the ability to streamline all their business processes through its flexible user friendly interface.
The .............. Advisory Board’s first completed initiative, Historical Plate Information Purchasing launching on May 2nd gives users in both Recovery and Auto Finance Industries the ability to purchase information on previously spotted vehicles of interest utilizing .............. ALPR patent. The ability to purchase historical information provides a convenient method of obtaining valuable information regarding the location of defaulted collateral and vehicles.
The entire system will be credit-based requiring eligible participants to purchase credits through RMP, Recovery Manager Pro, in order to partake in the information sharing system. Users are able to earn or purchase credits and thereafter exchange credits for information. Buyers will have the option of purchasing either a single historical hit on a specific plate or an entire package of all historical hits on a specific plate at a slightly higher cost. Each historical hit contains information that includes GPS coordinates, an infrared plate image, a color overview image and information regarding when the information was collected. Upon the purchase of the entire historical hits package, the buyer will obtain all historical hits on the specific plate [going back years in some cases] in addition to all hits generated thirty days into the future.
The strong collaborative effort between the agents, clients, the Recovery Industry Advisory Board and ................ was the driving force behind successfully developing the best possible and transparent model. As Director, I am particularly proud that the program benefits agents by receiving an equal share of all generated revenues. For the Agents, this is a true testament to the effort they put forth not only with the completion of this initiative, but, through their investment in ............. systems, investment in vehicles, fuel, personnel and more.
As an entrepreneur and businesswoman, knowing that I have a say in what happens with the ability to audit, instantly allows continued confidence that the model is working the way it was intended. This is a huge victory for our board and agents nationwide. Furthermore, it is a win-win situation for the agents and their existing camera systems as they will also be rewarded with additional revenue when other agents purchase the data they may have collected. Buyers may even purchase "future" historical data. Once again, lenders win because they will recover a large number of delinquencies or skips, thereby reducing as much as possible, the depreciation of their assets.
In conclusion, where does the Recovery Industry go from here?
In 2008, the National Independent Automobile Dealers Association announced in a Used Car Industry Report that, "close to 30% of subprime loans require collection activities; of which, half of these are repossessed and 3% result in skips". They went on to say, "that it is clear that CFO's have their work cut out for them". This was before the financial collapse.
Perhaps equally remarkable, less than 20% of subprime auto lenders use recovery technology. Auto financing CFO's must make their collection activities a top priority. With greater collection efficiency, various lenders and automotive groups would also benefit from payroll and/or personnel reductions.
A more strategic approach to collection is essential if not mandatory. ................... technology, jointly with the availability of historical data will hopefully change consumer behaviour, resulting in fewer delinquencies or, at the very least, less costly delinquencies. The sooner the CFO's of the Auto Financing Industry implement and utilize the usage of companies such as ................ and ........................, the sooner they can see a return on their investment.
Technology is our friend. It is the future and the future is here now, as we speak.
Our industry, your industry, is only strong if we partner together. I believe I have clearly illustrated that today, and I have illustrated that the technology works.
None of us seated here today can rely on economies to make our profession less difficult; more profitable. Auto Lenders and Financial Institutions that embrace the vehicular recognition technology of companies such as ..................... and agents such as ....................... will benefit most.
It appears that the credit rating of many American's will remain dire for the foreseeable future. All of us need to position ourselves ahead of that reality. Americans love their automobile like no on else.
So if you are sitting there still resigned to using your recovery tactics of yesteryear and resistant to adapt to the changing tides, the only thing I have to say is to take a look around you and ask yourself where any industry would be today without changing and adapting.
If you are sitting there and wondering if the “build it and they will come” mentality will actually be a profitable business model, you are already too late. Two years ago you may have had a valid concern, however today if you are still entertaining the same idea, again, you are too late because the proof that the idea works is evident through the success of ..................
There has been a critical mass and currently there are enough lenders and recovery agents to not only sustain the system, but serve as a concrete foundation of which we can all build upon. And most importantly to all in the Recovery Industry, build on the model that make sense for us and works for us. ..................... was able to build this foundation and currently their system is growing without any signs of slowing down. For those of you not wanting to be left out and are interested in creating your own success stories, I urge you to look into the ............... system. And for the unwilling, all it means is that there will be more success stories for fewer players in the Recovery Industry.