Are Call Centers a Weak Link in Compliance?

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When it comes being compliant, call centers serving the financial and lending industry have two masters to serve—federal and state regulators as well as their online lending customers.

Considering the size of the compliance fence, there is always the potential for a weak link. Fingers are pointed at call centers often enough, especially since fraudulent loan applicants and identity thieves see them as easy targets. Federal and state regulators also have call centers in their crosshairs. Loan applicants must be given certain pieces of information regarding lending and the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act governs the ways in which outstanding debt is collected. Loan applicants must receive and show understanding of loan origination and disclosures, which can be challenging over the phone.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has put call centers under the thumb of their online lending customers. In the CFPB’s eyes, the two entities are one and the same as far as following regulations are concerned. Therefore, it’s critical for the payday loan companies to know their call center vendors and their practices because the lender will be held accountable for the call center’s actions.

Centrinex has earned our online lending customers’ trust and respect by being sticklers for compliance. They know no matter how many customer service representatives we hire or how many shifts we operate in onshore or offshore call centers, every single CSR is thoroughly trained to follow all specific federal and state regulations.

The call center industry is plagued by an incredibly high turnover rate, which can put compliance at risk given the extensive training required for CSRs. To conquer this challenge, Centrinex implemented a CSR screening component into our hiring process. Since that time, our attrition rate has decreased dramatically. Many of our CSRs have been on the job for years and are experienced with scripts, conversational dialogue and meeting loan applicants’ needs.

On top of regulatory compliance, call centers must also be in compliance with their customers’ internal regulations. The same rules that apply to their own staff often apply to the call centers’. If the online lender requires employee drug testing, Centrinex’s CSRs working for that client are subject to the same.

Centrinex is the call center of choice for several online lenders with stringent hiring and employee policies. We already have the structure and systems in place to meet the most demanding protocols.

At this time, banks, mortgage lenders and payday loan providers are under more regulatory scrutiny than call centers are. You can’t infer that a call center is compliant based on the fact that its lender clients are. To avoid a weak link in your compliance chain, it’s critical to perform your own research and call center vetting.