In May 2009, we took on one of the four major South African banks as a client. We were entrusted with performing collection work on a distressed home loan portfolio, in which the debtor matters were in the process of being handed over to attorneys for legal action culminating in foreclosure. Our ultimate aim was to rehabilitate non-paying homeowners, thus allowing them to forego foreclosure and remain in their houses.
Our role in this instance was to make contact with the debtors and attempt to negotiate payment arrangements in respect of their arrears. These payment arrangements were required to be acceptable to the bank in order that the arrear portion of the debt be paid off within a reasonable timeframe. Exceptional negotiation skills were a prerequisite, as there would be ongoing interaction with both the debtor and the bank in determining a manageable and acceptable payment arrangement in each matter.
Within 3 weeks of commencing our work in terms of the mandate, we had already shown remarkable results compared to what had been collected previously. After 2 months, we had improved the collections rate by 5 times. Up to this point, we had been responsible for only a portion of the collections on the portfolio. At this point, the entire project was assigned to us. 4 months after commencement of the mandate, we were collecting significantly in excess of 10 times what had previously been collected, and still continue to do so.