Last month, I attended the 28th Annual Factoring Conference presented by the International Factoring Association (IFA) in Boston.
This is the world's largest conference of its kind, dedicated solely to banks, lenders, and financial institutions that offer financing through factoring and accounts receivable financing, and brings together some of the heaviest hitters in the factoring industry.
Cybercrime remains a real threat to the industry
Cybersecurity was a recurring theme during the conference. Theresa Payton, founder and president of Fortalice Solutions and former chief information officer to the White House, gave a keynote address on the topic. Ms. Payton highlighted the emerging trends in cybercrime and steps lenders can be taking to help avoid being a victim in the ever-changing environment. In addition, a panel of business leaders and attorneys discussed various ways cyber-criminals threaten the industry and what internal processes can be modified by lenders to reduce the likelihood of a successful attack. These include: (i) always calling the recipient to confirm wire instructions before sending, (ii) carefully reading email addresses and contents to look for inconsistencies and ensure you know the sender, and (iii) routinely performing due diligence internally to spot fraudulent A/R invoices and address promptly.
Getting creative in Collections
As one speaker pointed out, because of the nature of factoring transactions, sometimes the standard methods of collecting on delinquent accounts will not bear fruit. Often, it is critical to work together to salvage a business relationship and find some common ground that benefits both sides. While engaging with an attorney is undoubtedly the surest way to command a debtor's attention, sometimes a more subtle approach is needed to find a workable solution. The initial planning and overall collection strategy can sometimes make the difference between a mutual resolution or expensive litigation. By working closely with an attorney (even if behind the scenes), creditors can increase their chances of recovery.
An ever-expanding industry
The conference provided evidence that the factoring industry continues to grow. Opportunities abound for banks seeking to expand into the area or business entrepreneurs looking for alternative ways of obtaining financing. The factoring community's commitment to strengthening the industry was on full display at the conference, as members were eager to discuss industry trends, share their individual experiences, and promote growth within the industry.