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Winning Together: How State National’s Contact Center Achieves Excellence Through Teamwork

A Journey to Greatness Setting and achieving goals is one of the best ways to feel fulfilled. Whether it’s in our personal, social, or work life, we all require a certain level of success to build confidence and to have a sense of well-being. There’s something especially remarkable about success in the workplace, where a group of people with common goals and values come together to help each other achieve those goals on a personal and collaborative level. And the significance of celebrating those successes is equally as important as setting them and reaching them! Working Together to Provide an Excellent Borrower Experience Our Contact Center here at State National does exactly that. Not only do our hard-working representatives strive for and achieve daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly success as measured by ambitious KPIs, they were also recently awarded with Center of Excellence Certification from BenchmarkPortal — the global leader in the call center industry. BenchmarkPortal provides benchmarking, certifications, training, consulting, and industry reports and has gained international recognition for its innovative approach to best practices. Their Center of Excellence Certification isn’t an easy accolade to achieve — it’s specifically given to call centers that implement best practices and attain world-class performance in their industry. BenchmarkPortal’s CEO, Bruce Belfiore, says that he was “struck by the high level of customer service and by the efficiency with which contacts are handled,” at our in-house Contact Center, noting that the State National team achieved certification on the very first try due to their exceptional performance on BenchmarkPortal’s comprehensive 360-degree on-site assessment. The Power of Persistence Earning this certification wouldn’t have been possible without our knowledgeable and dedicated Contact Center representatives. They recognize the importance of delivering exceptional service to borrowers and focus on building and maintaining a positive relationship with every individual, on each call. Our Contact Center’s core values include regular, ongoing training, process improvement, and utilizing our state-of-the-art technology to better serve borrowers nationwide. Working as a team is critical for achieving success in any organization. We’re especially proud of what our SNC Contact Center team has accomplished, which is a testament to the power of teamwork and the importance of setting clear goals and working together to achieve them. We are excited to see what they will do next and have no doubt that they will continue to raise the bar for customer service excellence. Our dedicated representatives’ enthusiasm, professionalism, true caring, and daily focus on continuous improvement makes them a shining example of what can be accomplished through teamwork and a clear vision for success. See what BenchmarkPortal has to say about State National’s recent win here. Have questions about BenchmarkPortal Certification and how world-class, dedicated service can benefit your financial institution and your borrowers? Learn all about it here.

Economic Waves in Motion: Understanding Rising Lender Risk

Examining the Impact of Supply Chain Disruption, Inflation, and Rising Interest Rates Picture the economy as a large lake, with all the economic players and stakeholders being boats on the water. In 2020, Covid-19 was the reckless jerk in the speedboat who just ripped across the water without regard to anything or anyone else. Anyone who’s been a recipient of the aftermath of reckless speedboat guy knows there will be many waves that follow in his wake. Depending on your distance and the size of your own boat, these waves may threaten to swamp your craft or they may just be mild ripples in the normally calm water (hey, it’s my analogy). In addition, the direction your boat is situated, or your vector should you be underway, will also change the way your boat experiences the wake. All that is to say that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer to how you will be affected by the waves. In our economy, just like on the water, major disruptions are not over right after the trouble has passed by. In our current “economic lake,” there are three distinct waves that have been created by the “speedboat” of our global pandemic. Wave One – Supply Chain Disruption With the onset of Covid-19 and the shutting down of manufacturing and limiting of on-site work to “essential” personnel, the auto market changed quickly. We went from a market where car manufacturers and dealers were begging the public to buy their inventory through heavily discounted prices to a situation where the prolonged chip shortage and lack of manufacturing created empty lots and not enough vehicles to go around. As any good student of economics can tell you, the lack of supply and the excess of demand leads to higher prices. Credit unions outperformed other financial institutions in this market, and while new car loans were a bit more scarce, the higher prices of used cars more than made up for the difference. But another ripple caused by Wave One is what car manufacturers were doing with the limited supply of chips they did have. They focused production on their high-end, higher-margin vehicles, which made them a lot of money. Unfortunately, as a result it created a market gap where literally (literally) millions of low-cost vehicles that would have otherwise been manufactured simply don’t exist today. The impact of this missing category has just now begun to be felt in the used car market. Low-cost vehicles that we would now expect to see being traded in for new cars are just not widely available in the used car market. Those that do exist move at a high speed, staying on the market in some cases only hours. What’s a used car buyer to do? They must wait for those nicer, high-end cars to hit the market at a price they can afford, which may mean another year or two before buying. In addition, the buyer who purchased that high-end car during the pandemic is likely to hang on to it a year or two longer to get more value from the price they paid. Manufacturers are slowly bringing back production of low-cost vehicles, but it will be years before this wave and the following ripples work their way through the economic landscape (waterscape?). Wave Two – Inflation As stimulus money inflated bank accounts and drove down consumer debt, and as businesses closed or limited hours, people had money to buy goods and services but limited places to spend it. More money chasing goods and services created a perfect environment for inflation to start to spiral. Groceries, energy, and cars all took significant jumps — and housing prices, especially, escalated steeply. During the height of the run-up, in many places, when selling a house it was not uncommon to get multiple cash offers for significantly more than list price in a matter of days. Renters also felt (and still feel) the bite of inflation as their leases renew at significantly higher rates. As inflation continues to be an issue, many households have moved from having to decide how to spend their extra dollars to instead having to decide which bills will get those dollars. As a result, lenders are back in the full swing of collections as delinquencies rise. Unfortunately for lenders, an increasing delinquency rate can move quickly into increased charge-offs. The inflation wave is just now being felt in the lender space and the expectation is that 2023-2024 will be challenging to the bottom lines of many lenders. Staffing shortages combined with salary inflation, combined with more demand for repossession, skip tracing, and remarketing services than market supply currently provides, leads to anecdotal stories of lenders spending extra money to have their vehicles bumped in priority so they won’t be left out. It doesn’t take long for all of these forces to combine to create a new higher price point for everyone — and so inflation continues. Wave Three – Interest Rates In the bid to combat inflation, the Federal Reserve has continued to raise interest rates. Rates climbed steeply from 3.25% to (at the time of this writing) 8.00% in the space of less than a year. While the rate of increase has started to taper off, the impact is undeniably being felt in many areas. In the housing market, lending has cooled significantly as: Refinance activity has virtually dried up. Inflated home prices plus significantly higher mortgage rates have priced many buyers out of the market altogether. Similarly, in the auto market: Buyers who would normally trade in their vehicles for a new one are looking at either a huge increase in the monthly payment amount or a one- to two-year extended term on the note. Many of those buyers are deciding to hang on the vehicle they have. For those borrowers who do take the plunge, even small changes in their economic reality could lead to delinquencies, defaults and repossessions — making the risk much higher for their lenders. Historically, the labor market has to tighten significantly in order to rein in inflation. That hasn’t happened yet. The Fed is being cautious in an attempt to not make that a reality, but it remains to be seen. The impact of this wave has shifted the water line, but stay tuned for more turbulence. Naturally, all boats aren’t the same size, the same design, or heading in the same direction. Each lender has to examine their own unique boat to determine the best way to position it to ride out the waves and hopefully return to calmer waters — at least until the next jerk in a speedboat comes along to stir things up. For a personalized consultation regarding ways we can help your financial institution ride out this storm with reduced risk, reduced charge-offs, and greater peace of mind, contact our CPI experts.

One Size Doesn't Fit All

Unique Partners & Customized Solutions Require Specialization Learning Is an Ongoing Experience In many industries, learning has a core skill set that is needed for a certain position. Take the fast food industry, for example — teaching an employee to cook and build a consistent burger each time is a skill that can be consistently trained across a multi-store operation. Of course, there will always be new processes and changes that will need to be learned as well, but that core learning is pretty much consistent across the board. However, at State National each of our hundreds of clients has a unique business and requires a unique solution customized to meet their specific situation. This creates the need for information to be readily available and for learning to become an ongoing daily experience. We instill this during our employee onboarding process by teaching each new hire not only about the core learning needed to understand a complex product like portfolio protection, but also about the many variations and customizations that can occur. Constant Improvement at Every Level Employees, both while in training and throughout their time at State National, are also encouraged to ask questions about and discuss new processes and features with each other to facilitate the spread of that new information across the organization. As their knowledge grows, so does their ability to share more and do more both internally and externally with our clients. This community spread of knowledge and skills across the organization results in a strong learning culture and in retention of a high-quality, well-informed workforce. Each employee plays their own part in our one-of-a-kind dedicated service model, offering the best, most personalized service in our industry. The comprehensive, specialized training plus long-term constant growth of our associates is one of State National's biggest market strengths and one of the big reasons so many organizations choose to partner with State National. State National Site Visit: Be Our Guest

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