Investor evening part 2: collections and tech
Following on from part one of our investor evening write up, part two looks at themes discussed with both the collections & recoveries, and tech & product teams.
Collections & recoveries
Next up, Andrew Jackson, our Head of Collections & Recoveries, outlined the changes we’ve made to our processes since he joined the Funding Circle team about a year ago. Since then we’ve brought our entire debt collection and recoveries process in-house, which has allowed us to streamline our processes. This includes re-writing our documentation to be more effective, and it also means that we’re not held back by the policies of a third party provider – thereby allowing us to act swiftly, robustly and within timescales that we consider fair.
Overall though, bringing everything in-house means we have a committed team of four professional working to deliver results for investors. This care and commitment is far more than any outsourced agency would provide. We know this is your money and we care very much.
By bringing debt collection in-house has led to our our ‘late rate’ recently reaching an all time low of 0.83% of our total living loan book – something we’re really proud of and will work hard to maintain and improve upon.
Key things to come out of the Q&A included:
Q: How do you strike the balance between recovering a debt and ensuring businesses are not asset stripped unnecessarily?
A: There is a huge trust element in the recoveries process. When a company director initially realises that they are unable to repay the loan, the first response is often fear. By turning this fear into trust, we improve the chances of Funding Circle investors being paid in full. Regular communication builds trust, and with transparency and responsiveness we can find fair and affordable solutions. We want to see as many businesses succeed as possible, because a successful business will deliver a full recovery.
Q: Do investors pay for expenses incurred during recovery?
A: At the moment the expenses and costs of court proceedings are not deducted from repayments by borrowers – they come out of the 1% servicing fee. There is currently a discretionary 15% administration fee for borrowers on late payments which can be used to offset the costs of court proceedings (if necessary). One expense that is borne by investors is the 16% fee which our former outsourced debt collectors used to charge on all recoveries. Clearly now that this is in-house those fees do not apply to most recoveries, but for historic cases those fees are still borne by the investors.
Tech & product
Steve, our Product Director, began by thanking all of you for your feedback via the surveys we regularly send out and the user experience sessions we run. Priorities you highlighted include: ensuring a good rate of return; managing default risk and improving recovery rate; and making the site easier to use.
In response to this feedback, we have extended the types of loans we offer to give investors more lending opportunities across various sectors such as property, to allow for well-diversified lending portfolios. The tech and product teams have also spent a lot of resource on creating data systems to support our credit models, new underwriting systems, and systems to bring recoveries in-house.
Andy, our Chief Technology Officer, discussed how we split our developer time between working on new functions and systems and cleaning up the site to make it easier to work on and more reliable by replacing old legacy code. We’re also in the process of introducing newer, faster servers which will improve site speed and responsiveness.
Key things to come out of the Q&A included:
Q: What are you doing about the security of the site and our accounts?
A: We are also going to be rolling out further security around investor fund transfers, including the addition of nominated bank accounts to receive transferred funds. We make use of two external agencies to undertake frequent site penetration testing, and to review and work with us on making sure that the code used is safe and secure. Further to this, we have an internal technology security team who work on maintaining and implementing code updates, as well as technology infrastructure security hardening.
Q: Is it possible to have access to more data around the performance of loans and how quick it is to sell loans?
A: We want to be the most transparent financial services company out there, and will always look to provide investors with as much data and transparency possible. As one example of this we have recently launched a new statistics page. Take a look here and let us know what you think.
Look out for…
…tomorrow’s post which will include key points raised during the co-founder Q&A! As always, please get in touch with any comments or feedback.