Dignity in debt – breaking free from financial difficulties
Ethical collection practices are crucial not only in facilitating individuals' reintegration into the financial system but also in contributing to the overall health of the economy.
Last week marked United Nations Day 2023, the 75th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In light of this, Intrum is proud to champion the theme for the event – Equality, Freedom and Justice for all.
Intrum has been a signatory to the UN Global Compact since 2016, working to integrate the compact’s ten sustainability principles into our business. In today’s economic environment, we believe our ethical principles are more important than ever, with customers severely affected by the aftermath of the global pandemic, war in Europe and the cost of living crisis.
Energy, fuel and food prices have risen considerably, all fundamental needs for people. For someone in a vulnerable financial situation, the way a credit management company interacts with them can make a big difference.
Making a difference
Financial inequality and debt problems prevent people from living their lives as they wish and fully participating in society. By working with people in debt in a sensitive way, we aim to help them find a sustainable solution and end their distress.Intrum Global Sustainability Director Vanessa Söderberg
Article 22 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) recognises that economic rights are ‘indispensable’ for dignity – something Intrum feels is fundamental to the practice of ethical collections. Credit management professionals often hold the key to financial relief and rehabilitation. Treating people as individuals, listening to their circumstances and working hand in hand with them to find a way forward is essential.
Keeping money flowing in society is important for the survival of businesses and other organisations on which people depend for their work and livelihoods.Söderberg
Aiming for the debt-free day
As reported in our Q3 2023 report, 5.2 million people became debt-free with Intrum in the past 12 twelve months. Many of these people were effectively excluded from the financial system. Intrum provides consumers with payment solutions and allows them to reintegrate into the economy. That’s good for individuals, communities and society at large.
We continually strive to treat our customers in an ethical and sympathetic manner at all touchpoints. Therefore, the customer journey is just as significant as the day they become debt-free with us. We actively conduct customer surveys to track customer satisfaction, and as of Q3 2023, our average 12-month score is 4.3/5.0.
“I felt human,” says one UK banking customer who spoke to Intrum in June this year. “Thank you for not being judgemental.”
“At the moment money is tough, but [you were] very polite and empathetic to my situation. A daunting phone call turned into a pleasing one,” said another.
Intrum’s values of Ethics, Empathy, Dedication and Solutions are also important to the people who work in the business. “The joy that you hear in somebody’s voice when they are free, that’s something that you remember,” says Intrum Customer Service Representative.
A lot of the time when you come off a call you know that you’ve helped that person, particularly if they’re going through a difficult time,” adds another Customer Service Representative.
Fit for the future: updating the sustainability strategy
Three years on from setting five key targets on sustainability for 2020-2023, Intrum is updating its sustainability strategy and will reveal the next stage of its approach in 2024. The pace of change in understanding of sustainability and the steps businesses can take to support these endeavours means regular review is important.
In the meantime, work continues against Intrum’s aims of ethical collections, creating a sound economy, reducing environmental impact, ensuring employee wellbeing and diversity & inclusion. These sustainability targets align with three of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) within the United Nations Agenda 2030:
In 2022, Intrum took new steps in many areas of the strategy, including:
More on Sustainability at Intrum
Intrum's Annual and Sustainability Report for 2022
Today we published the Annual and Sustainability Report for 2022 – a challenging year for Intrum, our industry and the economy at large. In turbulent macroeconomic times, Intrum plays a central role in ensuring the sustainability of the financial ecosystem. Our market leading business platform has, during the year, showcased its fundamental strengths and delivered strong financial performance.