When Raleigh, N.C.-based First Citizens Bank sought to enhance its collections and recovery capabilities, it emphasized the need to increase efficiency and streamline the process. The family-owned bank, which has $20 billion in assets and more than 440 offices in 17 states and the District of Columbia, ultimately selected the Noble Solution unified customer interaction management suite from Atlanta-based Noble Systems.
"As part of our goal to provide superior service at every point of contact, we identified the need to change the system we used for servicing troubled assets," says John P. Wright III, the bank's group VP for the credit resolution group. "Advances in technology provided the opportunity for First Citizens to reduce expenses associated with servicing troubled assets, enhance recoveries and improve our overall service to our clients. It also allowed us to upgrade to many of the features found in today's call center technology."
Moreover, the bank wanted to increase its efficiency and allow its staff to handle more volume, Wright adds. With the Noble Solution, he says, First Citizens now has outbound predictive dialing; blended inbound, real-time reporting and management; data redundancy; call recording; interactive menus and customer self service; integration to collections systems and custom databases; and an Avaya (Basking Ridge, N.J.) private branch exchange (PBX) interface.
According to Wright, the bank looked at several platforms for the credit resolution group. "I contacted several suppliers of collection center technology," he says. "The process focused on efficiencies and technology features. Noble provided a turnkey solution, which was a significant advantage in terms of efficiency and maintenance." And the Noble solution integrated well with the bank's existing infrastructure, which includes a combination of various databases and software for its collection activities.
First Citizens ordered its initial installation of the Noble system in late-2005, and the software was deployed for the bank's staff in Raleigh within a 90-day time frame, according to Wright. The bank expanded the implementation to two additional sites in South Carolina in 2009 and 2010. First Citizens' Raleigh site has the capacity to support 35 people on the system at one time; the two South Carolina installations of the Noble solution each can accommodate another 10 collections staff.
Giving Customers a Voice
First Citizens' deployment of the Noble solution includes interactive voice response (IVR) and text-to-speech (TTS) capabilities, Wright notes. "IVR and text-to-speech are two features that stand out in terms of efficiencies and production," he says. "Integrating both of these allows our clients to call in and interact with the system. It allows clients to get last payment amounts, last pay dates, due dates and more, on their own.
"The TTS verification allows us to safely and securely provide the client with detailed information regarding the account 24/7," Wright continues. "In addition, Noble's call center solution allows business users to run the system at various times without the need for assistance and provides service to multiple time zones with reasonable cost."
The Noble solution's predictive dialing function takes the burden of busy signals or voicemails off the collectors' hands, Wright adds. If there's no response, he explains, the system takes an appropriate action, such as leaving an automated message or scheduling a follow-up call.
The bank also can track the performance of its own staff. "Knowing they're being tracked, reported and monitored all the time -- that in itself improves the productivity of those staff members," says Dan Donaldson, SVP of sales, Noble Systems.
The system's success for First Citizens' collections operations has not gone unnoticed by the rest of the bank, Wright adds. "The results have been so strong that other areas of the bank have expressed an interest in what my team is doing with the technology," he says.