For many debt collection agencies, cross border collection cases cause an issue. Often agencies do not really know what to do with them, as they are outside the scope of their regular work field. Some collection agencies set up their own international divisions or hire people in house to deal with international cases. Sometimes they join an international debt collection network. Although some of these solutions may work, they may also bring up other questions like how to make an international division actually profitable, do all members of the international debt collection network have the servicing quality standards the agency requires, and is in house personnel justifiable if international is not the company’s core business?
It may be much more beneficial on the long run for debt collection agencies to engage third party international collection specialist for international cases. These specialists can be a debt collection agency whose core business is international collections, a foreign agency or law firm that can assist locally, or individual collectors acting as independent contractors or representatives. They can be contracted to fulfill a specific job: collect in a certain territory that is outside the scope of the agency’s day-to-day collections, work on cases in other time zones or languages not spoken within the agency, or for local field work – for example as negotiator, mediator or legal representative with a mandate to close a deal or settle specific cases with foreign debtors or their representatives.
Below I describe four of what I believe are the main advantages for a debt collection agency of engaging a third party international collection specialist.
The majority of debt collection agencies are focused on domestic or regional collections, or sometimes they even primarily focus on one city or community. Their clients generally come from the same region, state or country and international collections are not their core business or just not substantial enough for a separate strategy. If such agencies engage a external third party international collection specialist who does focus on international collections or work together locally in the country the debtor is based, generally for a project-based or contingency based compensation, a win-win situation is created.
Often debt collection agencies do not have the infrastructure to collect internationally, whether that is amicably or legally. Different time zones, other languages, the need for local presence or local attorneys. By hiring an external third party international collection specialist who does have the infrastructure the agency needs in order to successfully perform, they do have the possibility to expand their infrastructure beyond their own limitations, and fine tune in accordance with their specific needs (as mentioned, by territory, time zone, language or local representation).
The external third party international collection specialist may have the experience, knowledge and expertise that makes a difference and truly contributes to the agency’s servicing of and performance towards its clients. The knowledge can be languages spoken, or knowledge about territories or legal systems required to collect successfully and to advise creditors properly about chances, procedures, costs and valuable debtor or country-specific information.
Using a external third party international collection specialist means that the debt collection agency avoids investing money and other resources in operations that may not be or will never become part of their core business. The focus, infrastructure and available knowledge of the third party means the agency does not run operational (and therewith financial) risks it would otherwise run if it expanded and invested its own resources. Such resources can be used for other ends more suitable to the agency’s core business.
There are four advantages for debt collection agencies in working together with third party international collection specialists for their debt collection cases abroad. The specialist may have the focus, infrastructure, knowledge and resources that the agency does not have and may not be looking for to establish within their own company.
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