To maintain a member’s dignity and respect by partnering with our members to reach a mutual goal of repayment responsibilities during unplanned life situations.
What is the Collections Department?
The Collections Department is often tagged the ‘bad guy’ of a financial organization. However, our Credit Union’s Collections Department stands as a source of information to preserve your credit rating, and to help make your payment plan a little easier during tough times. We’ll work within our guidelines to make intermediary arrangements for short-term emergencies.
It takes a lot of courage to approach a collector about a past due payments, as many people view a collector as a rigid individual who employs heavy-handed tactics to collect on bad accounts. At SIR Federal Credit Union we are constantly working to disprove that stereotype. Your loan accounts are important to us and repayment difficulties are most often the result of hardship and unforeseen circumstances. The best remedy during these times is open and honest communication between the collector and the member.
As part of our job, we’ll send out notices to remind you of a payment due. These notices go out at intervals of 10 days, 30 days and 60 days.
We’ll also make a personal phone call to see if there’s anything the Credit Union can do to help get your payment program back on track.
While we do handle the legal end of foreclosures, repossessions and garnishments, rest assured, many alternatives are offered before we choose any of these legal actions.
What Can You Do to Preserve Your Credit?
Talk. Communicate. Be honest.
Strong communication between yourself and our Collections Department is paramount. If you lose your job, or there’s sickness in the family that prevents someone from working, call and inform the Collections Department.
Don’t wait until the loan is 60 days past due – make a plan early. Let us know what the situation is. If you make a plan with a collector, keep your promise. The same honesty you expect of the Credit Union is expected from you, our member.
What Types of Services Does the Collections Department Offer?
Notes to the file (communication of expectations)
Knowledgeable collectors that can make suggestions and communicate the next step.
What if I just wait to see what happens?
Sometimes this is a good idea, especially if the payment is only a week or two late and you’re certain there are funds coming soon.
However, it’s best if you let your collector know what is going on. Each time you phone your collector, a message may be added to your file, noting what the problem is and what your plan is. When you communicate with your collector this lets him/her know that you’re working on the problem and have a plan. You will still receive notices as reminders. However, our collector will not phone unless your the plan is not carried out.
Waiting more than just a couple of weeks can jeopardize your credit rating.
10 Days Late – Just a reminder from the Credit Union 16 Days Late – Late charges are assessed 30 Days Late – Credit Bureau reporting takes place. Another notice is sent. 60 Days Late – Final Notice from Credit Union is sent.
Credit Bureau reporting takes place and legal action may begin.
What happens if my collateral is repossessed?
Your vehicle is not repossessed without our Collections Department working diligently to make arrangements for payment, communicating with you by phone and mail, and making every effort to work with you in order to make a payment plan.
A breakdown of communication and broken promises often lead to legal action.
If your collateral is repossessed, you will have 10 days to recover your collateral. This is commonly the result of paying your loan in full. Your personal effects will be available to you by contacting your collector. There is no charge for picking up your personal belongings from a vehicle. However, you must make arrangements with your collector ahead of time.
If you’re unable to recover the vehicle, we, the Credit Union, will take charge of getting the collateral cleaned, repaired if necessary and placing the vehicle for bids. (Cost of towing, cleaning and repairs are the responsibility of the you (the owner) and will be deducted from the monies gained by sale of the vehicle.) The highest bid of three will be the successful bidder. If the collateral repairs are cost-prohibitive, based on the value of the vehicle, we may choose to get bids from a salvage yard. It’s in our best interest, and in yours, to get the highest bid possible for collateral.
After the bid, costs are paid from sale proceeds. The rest of the bid-money goes toward the balance of your loan. This does not advance the due date on the loan.
We will notify you of the sale of your vehicle and of any deficiency balance that may remain. Again, you will have 10 days to respond to your collector. This response is critical in making arrangements for monthly payment of the residual balance. As our member, you remain responsible for this loan balance.
If you fail to communicate with your collector, we will seek other legal avenues to get repayment of the loan. These avenues may include Small Claims Court, Court Judgement, garnishment of pay and tax refunds, or attachment of a lien on other properties.
With so many alternatives, there is very little reason for one of our members to lose collateral. Again, communication and honesty between you and your collector is of the utmost importance.
I’ve had a loan charged off in the past due to non-payment. Why does it still appear on my credit report?
Records are kept by the Credit Union. Having a charge off, or a repossession reported to your credit report, will place bad light on your credit rating for a long time. If you’ve had problems in the past and have seen yourself clear of the them, now is the time to make good on past bad debt.
Your collector will work with you to set up full or monthly payments on past bad debts with the Credit Union.
We will make notation to your credit report. Bad debt is never favorable, but if you’ve made good on it, future loan officers will view it much differently.
Circumstances beyond my control are making it necessary for me to file bankruptcy – now what?
If you have outstanding loans with the Credit Union, you may want to contact your collector. Debt that is reaffirmed during bankruptcy means that the institution doesn’t suffer a loss because of your bankruptcy. You will continue to make payments to the loan during and after the bankruptcy. As your Credit Union, we don’t look at your bankruptcy as ‘bad,’ so long as we haven’t suffered a loss. In order to help you remain a member in good standing, we are even open to arranging payment plans outside of the bankruptcy. Remember, you will still need a financial institution after bankruptcy – the Credit Union wants you as a member.
Collections Phone Number – (906)-475-4149 ext. 220
Please stop in at any of our three convenient locations in Negaunee, Marquette, or Gwinn; or give us a call and experience our warm and friendly service!
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