Aryza CEO, Colin Brown, spoke to Chris Warburton, director at ROStrategy about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, how digital adoption has accelerated over the past 12-months and offered his predictions on the digital transformation of the sector.

Here’s five of the key discussion points, or you can listen to the full interview below.

Q1) How do you think the Coronavirus pandemic has impacted the collections and financial services space?

Back in March, creditors were suddenly left with huge volumes of consumers and corporates that they had to offer payment breaks to, creating an immediate need for more agile and flexible collections solutions. Alongside this, nationwide lockdowns created a much greater need for digital solutions, as firms were forced to close their doors and shift to remote working.

Due to forbearance and a number of other government schemes, we’ve actually seen a decline in insolvency case numbers over the past 12 months – however this is likely to change in 2021. When these schemes come to an end, repayments re-start and banks begin to chase again, we anticipate a sharp rise in the number of individuals going into insolvency arrangements and the industry needs to prepare.

Q2) Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic there’s been a big migration over to digital, do you think there’s any sign of this digital transformation slowing down?

Prior to COVID-19 there was a lot of talk about Open Banking, but there wasn’t any real drive to push it forward from the financial services sector, with many businesses biding their time and waiting for competitors to take a leap of faith.

What we’ve seen since March 2020, is that firms are now much quicker and open to the idea of adopting new technologies. Now, they have far greater volumes to be dealing with and technology has become vital in helping them cope. Open Banking data and Credit Bureau searches can create a quick and accurate picture of the consumer, as well as providing a more personalised and tailored approach.

Q3) Do you think the barriers towards Open Banking have lowered now as a result of COVID-19?

As a society our use of digital tools has significantly accelerated throughout the pandemic and the use of Open Banking technology is no different.

Despite the technology having been around for a while, firms adopted it and consumers got used to it at a much faster speed. At Aryza, we’ve seen some really good uptake in our digital collections platform, with around 50 per cent of consumers choosing Open Banking – rather than manually inputting the data.

Q4) How far do you think this digital transformation will go?

I don’t believe the process will ever become fully automated, as the human element is still important – especially when dealing with vulnerable consumers. By merging digital technologies with the services offered by a human, either in branch or over the phone, we can be sure we’re meeting the needs of all consumers.

Digital journeys can offer a far more detailed view of a person’s finances, able to generate months of bank statements in just a few seconds – something that’s simply unachievable over the phone. Once you have the information in front of you, you can then develop a full personalised solution for that consumer and I think in time, this will become an expectation rather than a luxury.

Q5) How customised can you make these solutions?

By combining Credit Bureau searches and Open Banking data, you can gain a complete view of a person’s financial situation. With more enriched data, lenders can then start to understand more about why individuals and corporates find themselves facing insolvency and implement measures to support them onto a better financial path.

Understanding more about their overspend, can help identify deals or savings to increase their disposable income, with Aryza solutions able to identify the cheapest utility providers and check the individual is accessing the benefits they are entitled to.

At Aryza, we provide solutions across the whole debt cycle, so we can look at things holistically, join the different dots and ensure we are offering the most appropriate solutions on a case, by case basis.