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Bay of Plenty Region
Monday, March 8, 2021
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A year in reflection

By all accounts this past year has not been a typical one for anyone in NZ and that is certainly no different in the industries I work in. I thought I would take this opportunity to reflect back on the past 12 months and recount just one of our more memorable jobs (on the advice of our lawyer we have slightly changed some details to protect privacy).

In the investigations and repossession industry you don’t often get seen as the good guy by all parties in the situation. But over the past year we have partnered with a nationwide estate management company that gives us the chance to give good news to those who we come in contact with and please our clients just the same.

A few months ago we were contacted by an estate manager who had tried all avenues to locate the beneficiary of a large estate.

The estate manager knew the beneficiary’s gender and first name and that was it. No date of birth, no surname and no next-of-kin details. “We know we are asking you to do the impossible and have no expectations of you being able to do this,” the estate managers told us.

Our initial research was to do an analysis on the first name to see how common it was. In this case there were approximately 11,000 people worldwide with the same first name. The highest concentrations of this name were Mexico, Hawaii, Samoa, Tonga and Niue, with some in New Zealand and Australia.

Over the past year we have partnered with a nationwide estate management company that gives us the chance to give good news to those who we come in contact with and please our clients just the same.

We had some intel that the beneficiary travelled in and out on New Zealand frequently so working on that assumption we looked at countries which are New Zealand territories or had a reciprocal agreement allowing for visa free travel starting with the Pacific Islands.

We got in touch with the community leaders in these countries and after a couple of weeks got the break we needed, made a few phone calls, verified the information then presented the estate manager with the beneficiary’s full legal name, address, email address, phone number and photo ID.

As you can imagine, they were very happy with the service as was the beneficiary, who had no idea any inheritance was due at all.

In a job where you mainly get sent out to confront people or discover nefarious activity, and you see people at their lowest ebb – whether in the grips of addiction, a downward cycle of depression or actively involved in criminal and harmful activities – it makes a really refreshing change to be an instrumental part of a real positive change in someone’s life.

In addition to the above example, some numbers we’ve achieved in the last year have included:

  • 280 successful repossessions out of a total of 290 repossession orders received.
  • Four major fraud/ commercial espionage cases investigated, and $4.5 million worth of loss prevented.
  • 85 “unfindable” debtors located out of 88 requests received.
  • More than $2 million worth of liquidation loss avoided for 40 credit management clients.

And that is in addition to my other work of setting up 100 best practice credit management systems for local businesses to prevent debt and liquidation losses.

All in all, it has been a great year for business and I would like to thank all of our clients that have trusted us, the suppliers that we have had the pleasure to work with, and the readers that have read my ramblings and given me some wonderful feedback.

Best wishes from me and my team for a profitable, rewarding – and above all enjoyable 2021.

Nick Kerr
Nick Kerr is Area Manager BOP for EC Credit Control NZ Ltd. He can be reached at nick.kerr@eccreditcontrol.co.nz

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