Report Claims Santander Policies Limit Collectors' Ability to Help Borrowers | Auto Finance News | Auto Finance News

Report Claims Santander Policies Limit Collectors’ Ability to Help Borrowers

Pro-union groups published a 25-page report this week featuring interviews with a series of current and former Santander Consumer USA employees, claiming that automated call-evaluation practices at SC’s collection centers restrict and limit the time agents have to help delinquent borrowers.

One current customer service employee at Santander, who agreed to speak with Auto Finance News under the condition of anonymity, echoed the circumstances detailed in the report.

The “biggest” and most frequent complaint he hears is that borrowers can’t pay off the high interest rates. “A lot of people have been making the payment on time and putting extra towards it, but it’s not going down,” he said. “I’ve seen 26% [interest] — that’s the highest I’ve seen — and they are averaging 15% and up. Newer loans get approved at another bank for a way lower interest.”

Santander said in a statement that the report mischaracterizes its collections practices and that these policies are expected of them by regulators. The lender also continues to receive criticism for its lack of income verification, and the employee was able to supply anecdotal evidence of how this policy impacts consumers.

“I spoke with someone [recently] whose husband surprised her with a truck, and now she’s trying to refinance it — a 2016 F-150 she’s paying $750 per month for,” he recalled. “She said, ‘I love my husband and I love my truck, but I don’t think he knew how much we were making in the household.’”

Santander previously said income verification is just one of the structural elements it considers in the decisioning process, while other factors such as LTV may play a bigger role.

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