The Top 5 Things We’re Expecting to See in 2014

2014 already? Where did the time go? Every January, most of us are instilled with a renewed enthusiasm to make this year better than the last. Amid a number of accomplishments and wins in 2013, we are certainly aware of challenges the industry faces as we head into 2014! Here are the top 5 things we expect to see in 2014:

1. Regulators continue to drive (too) much of the agenda for banks in 2014

The OCC’s latest guidance of 10/31/13 on Third Party Vendor Monitoring will force even more stringent risk management principles to be applied, putting pressure on Vendor Management teams to come up with more, and more provable, ways to oversee third party vendors. And the CFPB’s ANPR of 11/30/13 will reappear as new regulatory guidelines that will further reshuffle the deck for creditors, third party agencies and debt buyers. Whereas the banks that invested heavily for the past 1-2 years in risk and compliance systems are struggling to get more business benefit out of those investments, others will come to realize that they can’t avoid biting that bullet any more.

2. Despite regulatory challenges, top management focus turns increasingly to efficiency and yield

Collections operations are being scrutinized once again for efficiency measures as the U.S. economy gains steam and lending begins returning … repeating a familiar cycle. This time, however, many organizations will also be facing vendor-induced decisions brought about by the end-of-life of some key collections and recovery package solutions. The good news, as told to us recently by a collections executive, is that it means the entire collections organization is available to participate in streamlining through new technologies as well as new thinking about transforming and automating manual- and paper-intensive business processes and workflows.

3. More banks create digital/mobile/self-service initiatives

In addition to needing to find significant cost-efficiencies, banks are recognizing that changing consumer demands are providing an impetus for leveraging digital technologies better. As James Gordon of Needham bank put it, “We’re entering a society where before the phone was an add on, now the computer is becoming an add on”. Despite more and more hyperbole about how the world is going mobile, the larger trend toward creating a seamless series of interactions across all channels (labeled “omnichannel communications” by the analystgentsia) and incorporating dynamic offerings and treatments is what will occupy banks’ attention this year.

4. Banks seek to get closer to customers to gather information and personalize offers

Based on better data management (integration across systems and normalized for optimization) and analytics, banks will try to reach customers with more individualized offerings and treatments in an attempt to improve yield in marketing, collections and recovery efforts. We were surprised to hear a client executive predict that, in the not-too-distant future, the bank’s outbound calling efforts would be completely halted in favor of various synchronized digital communications aimed at driving customers to interact – by calling in, texting, emailing, going online or chatting or video chatting – and that they have to be prepared to manage that array of separate and parallel threads into a single productive dialogue with their customers. Individualized campaigns comprised of dynamic, interactive customer-facing enticements are already generating terrific results in automating credit line increase execution, and we expect that trend to expand into collections and recovery operations as well.

5. Banks who deployed short-term band-aids turn to more comprehensive, enduring solutions

The financial crisis was typified by creditors whose response to the crisis conditions and the uncertainty of the new regulators was to deploy short-term band-aid solutions involving large staff increases and system workarounds. Given the chance to take a breath, these banks are finding that there’s no time like now to replace piecemeal workarounds with more comprehensive, enduring systems and business transformations. Regulatory uncertainty and unknowns are largely becoming known and are no longer the deterrent to broader action that they were in years past. We expect to see a continuation, and in fact acceleration, of the trend toward banks gaining substantial efficiencies through automation of document management, workflow and business process management to replace time-consuming, paper and manual intensive business processes with simpler, web-based tasks.

What are you expecting in 2014?

We would love to help you be prepared for challenges in collections, recovery, regulatory compliance, agency and third party vendor management, marketing, and customer service. Automating customer-facing business processes with our comprehensive and unified solutions can be your key to getting out in front of the coming wave of new regulatory requirements, rising delinquency volumes, and “efficiency challenges” from top management.

To learn more, contact us at sales@katabat.com or call us at +1-302-830-9262.

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