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Debt Collection

New Global Collections Review Shows A Focus On International Outsourced Debt Collection In Great Britain

By CreditMan Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The latest “Global Collections Review” survey undertaken by leading credit management and collections specialist Atradius Collections, assesses the current commercial debt collection trends and practices of almost 4,000 companies in 22 countries across Europe, including Great Britain, together with the Americas and the Asia Pacific region.

This third study is the most comprehensive to date and not only includes data on two new countries, Hungary and Slovakia, but also incorporates research information on first party collections for the first time.

Almost one-third (31%) of British businesses use an external debt collection agency, which is slightly above the European average of 29%, yet Great Britain also one of Europe’s highest levels of debt selling at 22%, which, second only to France, is 10% higher than the European average. Even though 55% of all outsourced debt collection is focused on international debt, Great Britain exceeds this figure at 59%.

Raymond van der Loos, Managing Director of Atradius Collections explained: “Effective debt management and cash flow improvement are fundamental parts of business life across the globe and it’s clear that external debt collection is playing a significant role in helping companies recover debts and say solvent in a still challenging commercial environment.”

He added: “International debt collections naturally forms a significant part of our business, but it’s not only our ability to deliver an effective and integrated solution which is of value to our customers, but also that we act as an extension of their company, so we always have a clear focus on managing the relationships with debtors very carefully and in a positive way. Clearly, success rate and maintaining positive relationships are significant factors for businesses when selecting an outsourced agency.”

Another key aspect of the new report is the latest information on trends in outsourcing first party collections over the next two years. In Europe, Great Britain showed the greatest level of interest at 39%, while being closely followed by Italy, France and Spain where more than one-third of the businesses in each country showed a clear interest in developing it further.

The ability of external debt collection agencies to deliver results proved to be a key influencing factor for businesses when asked to rank eight selection criteria in order of importance when choosing and agency. ‘Success Rate’ heads the worldwide and European rankings with ‘Price’ taking second place, yet British businesses ranked ‘Reputation’ as the next most important factor.

Overall, both worldwide and European attitudes relating to the selection of debt collection agencies were remarkably similar, which indicates that the requirements, expectations and high standards demanded of agencies are consistent factors irrespective of business type, size or location.