The Collections Perspective – Q & A with BMO Harris Bank
Since our participation in the BMO Harris/1871 Fintech Partnership Program and the official deployment of SpringFour applications at the Bank in August of 2018, SpringFour and BMO Harris have had a fantastic partnership.
BMO Harris collections agents embraced the use of SpringFour right out of the gate. With consistent use on every call, this team quickly experienced tremendous results that allowed them to be more effective. Customers were pleased to be offered assistance, and collections agents were thrilled to have a tool providing for immediate and actionable help.
In March of 2019, we partnered with BMO Harris Bank to survey their collections agents to better understand their experience. And the responses were overwhelmingly positive:
* 95% of agents agreed that S4pro is easy to use.
* 94% of agents agreed that S4pro allows them to provide referrals to high-quality, local financial wellness resources for BMO Harris Bank customers.
* 86% of agents agreed that using S4pro has improved their ability to provide better customer service.
* 90% agreed that BMO Harris Bank customers appreciate the referrals they receive from S4pro.
After receiving such positive survey responses, we wanted to go more in-depth to learn about the collectors’ SpringFour experiences, and gain insight into what about SpringFour was enriching the experience and creating successful outcomes for the bank and its customers. We sat down with Jennifer Mota (pictured above), Sr. Manager for the U.S. Collections Call Center, to discuss our uniquely successful relationship. Here is what she said:
We began by talking about what working with SpringFour overall has been like:
Q: Many established financial institutions experience difficulty working with Fintechs because of challenges with integration, compliance, and scale. Is this your first experience working with a Fintech solution? If so, how has your experience been?
A: “This is not my first experience working with Fintechs. The experience (with SpringFour) has been flawless with open lines of communication and quick responses to help guide us through set up, maintenance of program, and issues or suggestions.”
Q: Why do you think BMO Harris makes a good partner for a Fintech like SpringFour?
A: “I believe that the open lines of communication, allowing feedback, and suggestions builds a stronger partnership. We have provided feedback and requests for changes to program selections based on what our customers are asking for and SpringFour has been quick to listen and implement changes. The communication and openness to hear feedback has been outstanding. The support we receive from SpringFour has been second to none.”
Q: What were you most excited about in bringing SpringFour applications to your collections team?
A: “The most exciting part has been the opportunity to provide our customers with additional assistance that was not available prior to implementation. Our goal is to reduce delinquency and assist our customers on finding solutions to rectify any hardships.”
We then dove into how Jennifer’s agents feel about the S4pro tool, and how it has changed their interactions with customers:
Q: How has SpringFour changed the conversations your collectors are having with customers, and do you have a specific example that shows how these conversations are changing?
A: “Conversations with our customers have changed as we have increased our range of services that may provide assistance. One specific example is an agent spoke with a customer who was delinquent due to losing their job. That agent provided several SpringFour referrals. We spoke with the customer again a few months later and he had advised us that he had fallen behind on his payments due to losing his job, but was going to be starting a new job soon due to the referral that we provided through SpringFour. The customer has since caught up on past due payments.”
Q: What are you hearing from members of your team about SpringFour?
A: “They are relieved that there is an opportunity to help our customers with the referrals and providing assistance makes the calls much easier.”
Q: BMO executives have shared that SpringFour is a win win for the bank. Can you tell us more about how you see this play out in your daily experience with SpringFour applications?
A: “Even if we haven’t identified a hardship when speaking with a customer, most of my agents will still offer it. Offering SpringFour has opened up communication between our agents and customers. The application is extremely easy to use which allows my agents to move through their calls.”
And finally, we talked about how BMO Harris customers have responded to receiving referrals through SpringFour:
Q: What are you hearing from your customers?
A: “I think our customers are shocked that we are providing assistance and not just demanding money. Many have thanked us for offering potential solutions that other institutions are not offering.”
Thank you to BMO Harris Bank, and to Jennifer Mota, for sharing their insights and experience with us. By taking the time to document and share user experiences, we are helping to shine the spotlight on how Fintech and bank partnerships can work together to successfully move the needle and positively impact the lives of so many individuals and families living paycheck to paycheck.
Katie Gottschall Donohue
Vice President, Strategy and Customer Engagement, SpringFour