There’s nothing more rewarding than being told the job that you’re doing is worthwhile. Here at Ethicall we pride ourselves on having gathered together the only fully employed nationwide network of field agents, with each agent carrying vast experience and knowledge of the lending industry. So when a customer comes back to us off their own back to tell us how good we are, we feel entitled to puff out our chests a little and slap ourselves on the back. Pete Dollard manages our North-Western area and called on more than 20 years history as a senior credit professional when he visited one customer on behalf of one of our clients, who was moved to write to us afterwards, saying: “ …the service was excellent, very professional and understanding. I wish all companies treated their clients in this way”.
As I contemplate my latest challenge http://www.extra-mile.org.uk/About.aspx I wonder what I have let myself in for!
Three friends and I will attempt to cycle in relay at a SPRINT!!! Pace, 550+ miles over 3 days in September starting in Luxemburg, into Germany, back to Luxemburg, then Reims (France) and ending up in Paris (Versailles).
We are all funding the trip ourselves but we need you to help us raise funds for Willen Hospice in Milton Keynes.
Willen Hospice is a truly fantastic place providing care and support both in the Hospice and through home visit nurses. Whilst Willen can’t change the outcome for the people that they care for, they make sure that it happens in a painless and happy environment. Sadly Hospices’ are not just for the Elderly so your sponsorship will help people of all ages and their families who Willen provide a fantastic lifeline for and provide support after as well as during illness.
Willen never turn anyone away but receive only 23% of funding from the NHS; shocking but true!!
So please be generous and visit our Just Giving page at : http://www.justgiving.com/Rob-Gilbert-willcycle-Duex
If supporting Willen Hospice is not enough think of the potential pain we will endure on our epic adventure!
Some have said that the debt collection industry is facing a perfect storm because current systems and practices are not working as well as they once did. Time for a fresh approach we say! Ethicall is pleased to announce to the market today, the arrival of two new services – Ethi-Demand and Ethi-Collect.
Ethi-Demand is our process serving service with a twist. Instead of our employed, highly experienced, credit industry professional agents merely serving a client’s requisite documents we say, “Hold on! We don’t have to give you this. Let’s sit down and see how you might be able to settle?” The service is also ideal for those clients who are concerned to know exactly who will be carrying out the serve on their behalf. Rest assured they will always know who will be acting for them with Ethicall’s dedicated field team.
Ethi-Collect provides creditors with an alternative approach involving the skills and extensive experience of Ethicall’s field visit personnel, to deliver a much needed debt resolution service that aims to maximise recovery but keep debtors as clients wherever possible. With collection rates on the decline, its time to do something different!
Click on the following links for further information:
Call us on 01604 521015 or e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org for more details
Ethicall’s Business Process Director David Williams tells us more.
The issue of client data in the hands of a field agency has always posed a number of worrying concerns around where that data is stored and what happens to it once in transit to and from an agencies portal or paper based process and the clients own system. Whilst it is relatively straight forward for these processes to be tightly controlled at field agency head office to client level, the same isn’t true when sensitive data is sent out into the field and placed in the hands of a field agent.
Most field agencies utilise self-employed field agents so it is difficult to impose strict controls and policies regarding client data on them due to the nature of their employment status with that agency. This is arguably when the client data is most at risk and therefore open to misuse, being mislaid or being at risk to the outside world because strict controls are not properly enforced.
David Williams shows off Ethicall’s brand new Field Enabled Technology (FEN’s) hardware
Breaking the mould again
Ethicall has already demonstrated to a number of clients over the last couple of years that the conduct of our representatives on the doorstep is taken very seriously by us, which is why we employ all of our field staff. Having credit industry experienced people with the right gravitas representing us and our clients on the doorstep gives us a high degree of management control over our clients exacting requirements when it comes to interviewing their customers, however we have taken this process on further by implementing the same standards and controls when it comes to handling client sensitive data in the field.
Field Enabled Technology (FEN’s)
FEN’s is a combination of hardware and software technologies that we have developed and engineered around every aspect of our business processes with one main key objective in mind which is to keep data secure whether it is at rest or in transit and throughout the full case lifecycle.
Our strategy to meet these objectives falls in to two key stages:
1. Data at client to Ethicall head office level
In order to fully protect data at this level all cases that require an Ethicall field visit are (unless a client specifies an alternative method of securely sending their customer data) uploaded via Ethicall’s proprietary web portal called EWS (Ethicall Workflow System). These cases are uploaded via a 256-bit AES SSL link which securely encrypts the data during transmission to Ethicall’s dedicated hosted server which in itself sits behind a Cisco Firewall that incorporates sophisticated Intrusion Detection Systems (IDS) and Intrusion Prevention Systems (IPS) processes.
Once securely uploaded, client data resides on the Ethicall database server which in itself is protected by an additional layer of security by way of a database firewall to protect the data at rest. If for any reason the hardware firewall is compromised then this extra layer will secure the data and protect it from potential SQL Injections as well as various other database attacks.
Some of the world class brands that make up Ethicall’s Field Enabled Technology
2. Data in the field and End-Point Security (EPS)
Ethicall takes the issue of end point security very seriously due to the field based nature of its business and the type of client data it handles. To this end all Ethicall field operatives are solely employed by the company which enables effective management and control of its field based policies for conducting customer visits and handling client data. Ethicall believes that it is only the employed nature of their field personnel that enables them to issue, manage and control client data in the field using secure technology. This technology utilises the latest Hewlett Packard laptop hardware that is centrally managed by the Ethicall IT Administrator. Features such as disk encryption, pre-boot authentication and device access management are just a small part of Ethicall’s policy around field hardware asset management. In terms of software Ethicall utilises the latest Malware protection using the powerful Microsoft Forefront Online Protection for Exchange (FOPE) engine that is centrally managed by the Ethicall IT Administrator. In fact Ethicall goes an extra step further by employing Microsoft Windows InTune, a comprehensive web-based solution that enables the complete inventory management of all hardware, software deployment, licensing, upgrading and patching including its Malware protection suite.
Never become complacent
Even though FEN’s demonstrates that we at Ethicall are very proud that we can offer our clients a high level of reassurance when they entrust their data with us, we are always mindful of the fact that we need to not only stay one step ahead of the technological trends that are relevant to our business but we also need to ensure that we constantly maintain and rigorously test our current systems to ensure their integrity. We do this by conducting regular in-house vulnerability tests as well as an annual penetration test conducted by an industry leading independent vendor.
It is the satisfactory outcome of these tests that enables us to be confident in answering that all important question from a client or potential client when they ask us… “ Is our data safe in your hands? ”
Ethicall Field Services extends the level of services but highlights the need for greater emphasis on third party data security on its second anniversary
Ethicall Field Services has completed a successful second year’s trading, taking its innovative and ground breaking field agency model to an ever widening client audience.
Martin Swann, Sales and Marketing Director for Ethicall commented, “We’re delighted to be entering our third year’s trading with the company in excellent shape. 2011 was a year which saw a number of changes to the field agency shopping list of lenders, and we’re extremely pleased to have met and, in some cases exceeded, their expectations.
The most noticeable change, Swann acknowledges, has been the level of rigour brought to bear by lenders in order to satisfy their requirements for Customer Data Security. “There has been a quantum leap in terms of lender focus over the last twelve months in this area. There is now a far keener eye on end point security, as well as the need for security of data in transit. We took the decision sometime ago to make adjustments to our field processes, with huge emphasis on controlling data at rest.”
Swann says that in order to meet client expectations significant investment has been made by the company in new hardware and software. “We operate an employed field team which works for us and no one else. We have now issued specifically configured, company hardware to all of our employees, inclusive of device access restriction and drive encryption. Advanced user authentication levels are also firmly in place, along with highly intuitive malware detection processes. Our Regional Partners and their reporting Account Managers can only access the Ethicall Workflow System using corporate laptops.”
“We see this as the only realistic way of ensuring customer data isn’t compromised. Our experience of transmitting customer data using methods outside the firewall, especially using e-mail, has proved problematic and at times risky. We’re now delighted that clients are changing the way they monitor their customer data when it’s transmitted outside their own business infrastructures. The only way, in our opinion, to deal with this important and sensitive area, is to control the process from start to finish.
“We have also made substantial changes to the level of protection around our server with an additional database firewall installed to defend against potential threats such as SQL injections or cross side scripting. All of our systems have been configured to meet PCI and ISO27001 standards. So far clients have been extremely pleased with the approach we are taking.”
Ethicall also reports that its service range has widened during 2011 which is further evidence of its approach to bring new solutions to problems both old and new. Swann says, “What is particularly pleasing is that our field team has the depth of experience and doorstep manner to embrace a range of different tasks and complexity. High contact rates mean that clients can rely on us to turn up and do the work well!
Swann outlines “We have always looked to bring something new and different to a somewhat tired sector. Anticipating client need and suggesting solutions is central to Ethicall’s ethos. One first class example of this has been the progress we have made in addressing one of the industry’s very pressing needs, and that is how to approach customers with anticipated repayment shortfalls (loan maturities). We have designed an interview report form and process which establishes the customer’s net asset position, provides an income and expenditure assessment and summarises the attitude and intent of the customer to deal with the projected shortfall. We are not a regulated entity and so cannot give advice; however, we can provide excellent and reliable first hand intelligence for lenders and bridge the literal divide between a Head Office team and a customer who could be over a hundred miles away.”
Swann went on to add, “This area is very much a moving feast with what constitutes advice in these circumstances is something of a grey area. We wouldn’t rule out a wider partnership involving industry specialists where Ethicall is able to facilitate direct help to client customers, who possibly don’t have sufficient income to justify a term extension.”
Ethicall also reports that it expects the overall numbers of field visit requirements in core arrears and recovery sectors to decline over the next 24-36 months although current economic pressures may see an increase in numbers in the second and third quarters of 2012. Swann commented “core markets will come under pressure and only those businesses with a focus on quality and value will survive. We believe very firmly that our model is built for both of these things and are excited at the prospect of meeting and beating the challenges of the next few years. The key success factor for our business will be those individuals who continue to do an excellent job for us and our clients in the field, often in difficult circumstances. Without an experienced, skilled, motivated and well managed field team we couldn’t deliver the level of quality clients rightly demand. Expanding our team with more of the same type of individuals will be paramount this year.”
At Ethicall we welcome feedback from our client customers.
Whether it is good or bad, feedback helps our business to mould and develop its practices so as to maintain and improve our service. The information card that we leave behind with the borrower not only encourages them to leave valuable feedback but also contains a number of useful contacts that they can turn to for additional and independent help and support thus helping us to drive forward positively good practice of the TCF principles.
Here are a few comments recently left by borrowers who were interviewed by our Field Representatives:
Extremely lovely gentleman. Very considerate and understanding and explained everything to me. Friendly and approachable. 5/31/11 7:06PM
Steve was extremely professional, responding to any questions asked and listened to the information I was giving him. Despite the current situation being a difficult one, he made me feel at ease and treated me as an individual with respect and courtesy, offering sound advice for the future. 5/23/11 2:52PM
To see our very simple survey click on this link: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/JWBGPQ7