What Jefferson Capital is Doing in the Face of the COVID-19 Pandemic
By David Burton, Chief Executive Officer
Winston Churchill once said, “A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”
These are difficult times, to be sure. Not only are we facing the challenges of ensuring the health and safety of our families and loved ones, but for many the economic uncertainty is like no other in our lifetime.
WE’VE FACED CHALLENGES BEFORE
In our almost 20 years of experience at Jefferson Capital, we’ve faced many challenges. As founder, I can confidently say that each has made us stronger and more resilient. And although the COVID-19 pandemic is unlike any challenge before, the same people, processes and financial stability that have guided us through our prior challenges will certainly guide us through this challenge.
WE WILL EMERGE EVEN STRONGER
Indeed, for our company, our associates, and most importantly for our account holders, history shows we will all emerge even stronger from this episode than before. As Churchill said, difficulties do indeed present opportunities. Leaders arise from behind the scenes. Personal responsibility is fostered. Challenges are accepted. And overcome.
WHAT WE HAVE DONE
As just one example, we’ve initiated daily huddles among the leaders of our operations in St. Cloud, Denver, Minneapolis, Toronto, London Ontario, and Basingstoke U.K. These daily huddles have helped identify problems before they arise, facilitate decisions, and implement immediate solutions. The results are impressive: approximately 98% of our staff have safely and securely transitioned to working remotely within days (and in some cases hours) of learning of nonessential workplace restrictions. We accomplished these transitions while maintaining our everpresent emphasis on information security, consumer privacy, regulatory compliance, and client expectations. Our leaders truly did rise to the occasion.
With an all hands-on deck mentality, these difficulties have strengthened our partnerships across departmental, geographic, and business lines as everyone worked together to help out. These bonds will not be soon forgotten after the pandemic passes. Forged by the challenges, they will undeniably make us stronger.
OUR CORE STRENGTHS CARRY THE DAY
Aside from the internal strength we’ve seen, the communications we’ve received externally from our account holders have been even more encouraging. Yes, times are tough. Our account holders are facing enormous financial uncertainty. But as we continue to do what we do best day in and day out - - listening and helping find solutions - - we’ve heard stories of some of the stress of the uncertainty being relieved. Problems are being solved.
In addition to the strength we’re hearing in the voices of our account holders, we’re hearing it in the conversations we’re having with our clients and in the meetings we’re holding with our vendors each and every day. Working together, problems are getting solved.
OUR FINANCIAL POSITION IS SOLID
Our clients and vendors are also understandably interested in our financial strength. During these uncertain times, it is not unusual to question the financial condition of any company. Fortunately for Jefferson Capital, our financial condition is strong. We had a record financial performance in 2019, and our first quarter 2020 results were our best in our almost 20-year history.
No, the storm has not yet passed. We realize there is more to come as we look ahead. There is uncertainty concerning the length of time that will be necessary to get beyond this pandemic. But we do have the liquidity to lead us through these difficult times. Unlike others in our industry, we are supported by a strong consortium of lenders as well as an ownership group that is a world-wide leader in consumer financial services.
WE ARE CONTINUING TO RELY ON OUR CORE VALUES, WORK ETHIC, AND CULTURE
Relying on our core values, strong work ethic, and culture where “doing the right thing” is celebrated, we are confident that we will weather the storm.
We are doing our part to ensure the health and safety, as well as the financial stability, of our employees and their families. As mentioned above, virtually our entire workforce has been set up to securely connect to our network which allows them to obey the shelter in place requirements of their communities. For those limited numbers of associates who are in the workplace, they are strictly following all established protocols for hand washing, cleaning, and social distancing.
WE’RE IMPLEMENTING NEW TECHNOLOGY AND TRAINING
We have added technology solutions in order to allow our managers to provide one-on-one and team level dialogues, questions and answers, coaching, and guidance activities. We are also providing training and guidelines for our leadership teams to recognize and address the needs of our associates during this time of uncertainty. We are also working with our associates to help them cope with the changes and stresses brought about during this pandemic so they can confront and overcome any difficulties brought by sheltering at home and its effects on their families.
ABOVE ALL WE’RE HELPING OUR ACCOUNT HOLDERS
For our account holders experiencing hardship from COVID-19, we are offering accommodations upon request and based upon individual needs.
Our account holders may be eligible to defer payments by simply notifying us of their hardship so we can provide the assistance they deserve during this time of need.
We have expanded the number of self-serve options available to account holders to empower and inform them during a time of increased uncertainty. Additional segments of customers can now also manage their accounts on-line at our customer web site.
Strict and prompt compliance with all COVID-19 regulatory restrictions
As part of our best-in-class compliance program, we are continuing to closely monitor the Federal, State and Local regulatory landscape. Our legal and compliance teams are promptly implementing any consumer protections and other changes necessary to meet and surpass COVID-19 regulatory requirements.
Ensuring consumer privacy expectations continue to be exceeded
Data security and protection of consumer information have always been important to us, as demonstrated by our participation in ISO 27001 audits over the past several years. Despite the pandemic this year, we forged ahead with our three-week ISO 27001 (ISMS) audit. It was led by our information security teams in our St. Cloud, Denver, and Basingstoke offices. Based upon the strength of our information security practices and policies, we were recently notified that we have been recommended for re-Certification again this year.
WE WILL WEATHER THE STORM AND BE STRONGER
In the end, although the brunt of the storm remains ahead of us, the sun will eventually appear. Despite the difficulty ahead, we recognize the opportunity that it presents for us as well as our account holders, associates, clients, and vendors. As your company is facing its own challenges, please know that we are a willing resource to assist you in overcoming the challenges you face. We thank you for being a part of the journey with us, and look forward to emerging stronger in the near future.