Customer Portfolio Services (CPS) is continuing to overhaul its collection process.
“We’re testing a smart tablet payment application to download from an app store with our CPS logo on it. Customers will pay with any smart device,” CPS Chief Financial Officer Jeff Fritz said. The penchant for gazing at one’s smartphone on trains and other transit times — which in the past has been considered as a millennial trend — is in reality a whole cultural shift, Fritz said.
“I’m not a millennial, but I send and receive text messages,” he told AFN. “We realized last year that if we want to offer our customers as many channels of communication as possible, they ought to be easy. Now collectors at workstations can choose to text instead of call.”
Communicating with loan collectors has long been a daunting task for consumers; long monotonous walks through a call’s purpose interrupted by random and indecipherable queries. Luckily, the process is increasingly being overhauled in auto finance. Much like CPS, Prestige Financial Services told AFN last month that it made the switch to texting as the main form on communication with consumers as well.
The live online chat, two-way texting features, and tablet app from CPS are slated for full implementation in 2Q16, Fritz said.
CPS also reported $312 million in originations for 1Q, a 33% growth over the same time last year. Although this growth sounds incredible, it’s important to take note that the market rates of eighteen months ago were the lowest in twenty five years of CPS’ history, Fritz said.
While this may lead some to fear a coming auto finance market bubble, Fritz believes recent difficulties in selling lower-rated bonds and higher securitization prices are simply the result of macro-economic ebbs and flows.
“Investors who buy these kinds of bonds are looking at the broader economy and making their own bets about market interest rates, whether a recession is on the horizon, etc. The demand for the lower-rated coupons has just thinned out.”