David from Vervent dissects the servicing aspects of loans, leases, tax, and debt, while visualizing the significance of compliance management as industry leaders.
As CEO, David Johnson embodies the bold leadership we bring to our clients and the industry as a whole. With a penchant for innovation and passion for building teams of expert problem solvers, he expertly drives our business and people forward. Since founding the company and becoming CEO in 2008, he has grown the business from a niche player in the mobile home servicing space into an award-winning, global financial services player that delivers comprehensive solutions across the consumer life-cycle.
1. Can you tell us about your role at Vervent?
Absolutely. I bought the company back in 2008 with the idea that if we combined excellent service with state-of-the-art technology we would be creating positive disruption in the servicing industry. At that time, most servicing companies were not actively using technology or automation to improve the performance of the portfolio or the service experience for client’s customers. I also took on the role of CEO to kick start the new direction. I imagined that would be a temporary role, but I loved it and here I am 10 years later still in the role of CEO & Founder.
Over the years we have moved deeper into the ABS space and began to expand our asset classes and services. We worked hard and grew the company significantly. In 2018, we were approached by Stone Point Capital with an investment proposal that I couldn’t resist. In 2019, we closed that and merged with Portfolio Financial Servicing Company (PFSC) who was our closest competitor. Now complete, the merger and integration were an exciting process. It expanded my role and Vervent’s footprint. My role today is to steer our company to continued success and growth while ensuring stability and opportunity for our almost 800 employees.
2. Can you tell us about your journey into this industry?
My background is in financial consulting. I spent years at McKinsey and Bain & Company solving complex issues and working on large deals. In my early 40s I had semi-retired when the opportunity arose to buy First Associates (our former name) and I jumped at the chance to build a new model of servicing company from scratch.
3. How do you think technology is upgrading loan and lease arenas?
Technology is one of the most valuable tools for gathering data and making informed decisions. It also enables automation, which is critical when dealing with the masses of information involved in managing loan and lease portfolios.
Vervent uses cutting-edge call management platforms to route calls with precision and speed. Artificial Intelligence is applied to 100% of calls to provide unbiased feedback to agents and valuable consumer insights to our clients such as delinquency patterns and emotional monitoring to ensure customer satisfaction. Technology is also central to our security protocols, including biometric scanners for operations center access, digital information security and 24/7 physical security. We also employ off-site backups and a geo-redundant, cloud-based servicing environment.
4. How imperative do you think compliance protocols and regulatory reporting are in today’s loan servicing platforms?
Compliance is core to Vervent as a servicing industry leader. It is essential in mitigating risk and ensuring that data is managed properly, so we’ve built a large compliance department to ensure we stay ahead of the curve. That’s why we are the only top DBRS Morningstar ranked company in our class for overall excellence and mitigated risk. We also recently completed our SOC 1, 2 and 3 audits with zero discrepancies and are fully PCI compliant.
5. How does Vervent act as “stealth supporters” to expand the scalability of clients’ businesses?
Our private label services allow clients to expand their business capabilities without drawing attention to the Vervent name. By offering first-class servicing as a seamless extension of their brand, our behind-the-scenes operations provide a true partnership that bolsters clients’ bottom line and overall service levels. With three operations centers—including 1,100 seats at Vervent Baja alone—we have the space, systems, and experience to help clients scale efficiently while maintaining focus on their core areas of expertise. We’ve done the heavy lifting of building and operating call centers so they don’t have to.
6. How do you deal with Lease, Tax, and Collateral Management?
With a keen eye for detail! Lease servicing is exceptionally complex, so we broke down the key components in our article Lease Servicing 101 it’s absolutely critical to track these portfolios and assets correctly, so we rely on more than 30 years of experience and proven internal systems to offer peace of mind with cradle-to-grave service.
7. Vervent recently partnered with Finitive. Can you explain to our audience in detail about what it means for the fintech ecosystem?
Finitive and Vervent have worked together for years and have similar thoughts on inclusion and expansion within the industry. With their innovative funding platform and our deep experience in servicing it was a natural fit to provide education and solutions that support the lifecycle of a portfolio.
8. What features of your refinancing solution differentiates it in the market?
We are standing strong on our foundations. Part of that means running towards even the most difficult problems to face them head on, which is exactly what Vervent is doing within the unprecedented financial climate we are in. Under direction of our seasoned operations leadership, we recently restructured our collections processes to better serve our clients’ customers. In this new system we are able to offer more customized payment solutions and better manage delinquencies.
9. What are your predictions about the future of loans and leases?
Predictions are difficult to make with the current state of the world. The one thing that is certain is people will need continued access to debt to keep their lives and businesses going during and beyond these difficult times.
Vervent will be there to support that need and keep our clients and their customers’ whole.
10. What advice would you like to give to the technology Start Ups?
Be prepared to work incredibly hard, take calculated risks and innovate. There is a lot of competition out there so the best way to be successful is to focus in areas you know, disrupt and deliver credible results quickly.
11. How do you prepare for an AI-Centric world?
Vervent has used AI technology for some time already. We find it invaluable in servicing our clients and developing our team members. Our goal is to continue to implement AI and other technology anytime it is practical and innovative.
12. What are the major developments you are planning, in recent time?
Vervent has many exciting things on the horizon that will enable us to continue to offer best-in-class servicing support for our clients and continue growing the company for our investors and our staff. Most of them I can’t discuss here, but there are good things to come.
13. Can you tell us about your team and how it supports you?
Vervent is all about people. Our success would not have been possible without them. Everyone from our highly experienced and proficient C-Comm team who lead their organizations with incredible standards and yield amazing results to our dedicated staff that work the phones in each of our three operations centers is committed to the common goal of delivering excellence and quality in everything we touch.
14. We have heard that you have a very joyful work culture, so can you share with us some of the fun pictures of your workplace?
Thanks for mentioning that. We are very committed to culture at Vervent and want people to enjoy what they do, feel like they are part of a high-functioning team and find personal success, while helping the company accelerate. Vervent team members are a special breed of innovators and doers, so we strive to foster a work hard, play hard philosophy that rewards and engages them. These photos are from our annual week-long team appreciation event – Vervent Days – where we celebrate our staff with a unique celebration takes place each day and our and our rebranding celebrations when we officially launched Vervent.