FORT WORTH, Texas — When a natural disaster strikes, there’s a solid chance that borrowers will be unable to make timely payments on their powersports vehicles, but there are steps loan servicers can take to help ease the burden on borrowers, John Enyart, president of Portfolio Financial Servicing Co., told attendees at PowerSports Finance 2018.
“We can send letters to these people, and we can say, ‘Our records indicate that you’re in an impacted area,’” Enyart said. “‘We hope you’re okay. We want to be here to help. One of the things that we have done for you without you asking is we’re going to suspend all late charges for 90 days, 120 days. We’re not going to ding you in your time of need. If you need help with payments, call us, let us know.’”
Servicers can also monitor weather reports for warnings of incoming storms and make preparations in advance, such as finding any borrowers likely to be impacted, Enyart added.
Additionally, servicers must take measures to remain compliant while reporting to credit agencies. Companies that provide data to credit reporting agencies have contractual obligations to flag any account or any debt associated with a borrower that’s been in a natural disaster zone, Enyart said.
“So one of the first things that we have to do every time there’s a disaster, we literally have a team that follows [the news], and we’re looking at all the government websites and every ZIP code or county that’s declared a natural disaster at the state or federal level,” Enyart said. “We then have to get into our databases and update so that we can create a natural disaster flag associated with that account, so that when we’re credit bureau reporting to the credit reporting agencies, we’re complying with the reporting guidelines to let those people know that the borrower is in an impacted zone.”
To hear more from Enyart and his tips for best practices in loan servicing, check out the video below