The financial strain on American consumers is immense and is likely to persist for some time. Savings that were expanded during COVID have been largely depleted, and with inflation persistent, the financial strain is manifesting itself in extended consumer loan portfolios. Raising loan financing started with subprime groups but has now navigated into near and prime segments. This is exasperated by delinquency rates increasing steadily and is currently past pre-COVID levels, especially for unsecured products. Consumers are back leveraging themselves, which is evident in the historically high credit card balances and total indebtedness numbers seen in the market. This is happening with unemployment running at historically low levels and the federal student loan repayment pause in effect since 2020. With the Federal Reserve continuing its tightening measures, that risks putting upward pressure on unemployment, and the federal student loan program will roll back into repayment potentially with no forgiveness, causing further stress for American consumers.
Goal Solutions is on the front lines of all financial challenges across the various consumer lending businesses – performing servicing, master servicing, and investor reporting. Clients and other financial stakeholders are rightly concerned about their portfolios’ current and future state.
The company’s job is to bring its years of expertise and experience, especially weathering the last credit crisis, to partner with them to design proactive and reactive strategies. This involves implementing tactical tools such as creating modification plans for distressed consumers and strategic initiatives like partnering lending platforms with capital markets partners to ensure more stable ongoing funding. “Regardless of the client need our job is to leverage our services platform and extensive network of relationships, to enable our client’s success through any financial environment,” says Matt Myers, President and CEO of Goal Solutions. “Despite the growth the company has experienced over the years, we remain committed to innovation and customer focus, and treat each one of our clients as if we were still a startup.”
Goal Solutions leverage in-house proprietary platforms and best-in-class third-party technologies to deliver its various client services. For more utility-value-based systems, such as data warehousing, visualization, and reporting, the company uses third-party platforms that can best integrate with the clients and add value with their unique perspective, data handling, and data science capabilities. “For strategic differentiators, which for us are the consumer-facing technologies, we leverage proprietary systems that allow us to control the user experience and functionality. When building consumer-facing products it is imperative that we have the architectural flexibility and sole control of prioritization to be able to dictate strategy – what we can do and when not be reliant on external architecture and resources,” explains Matt. “Our combination of in-house and third-party technologies allows us to create and maintain a competitive edge in the market, ensure that our clients get the top-notch service and support they expect, and provide a comprehensive suite of services that is unmatched.”
Record keeping, compliance, and better borrower-facing technology are part of Goal Solutions’ core business. Part of the reason that we have been so successful is that they have invested the resources necessary to ensure they are best-in-class. Their technology innovation equates to a better customer experience for clients and their customers. Goal Solutions clients can take advantage of their investments and expertise so they can focus on their core business. This is a tremendous value add for venture-funded clients since investors want to avoid seeing equity capital used for perceived non-accretive things like recordkeeping and compliance. Goal provides an innovative and industrial strength solution, allowing clients to use their equity capital where it will drive their enterprise value.
“We combine proprietary technology, experience, expertise, and data science to provide the most comprehensive and innovative solutions in the market today across Loan Servicing, Master Servicing and SPV Management,” adds Matt. “There are companies that might compete with us in certain areas of our business, but no companies compete with us in totality. It is one of the things that makes a unique offering in the market and is why we have been so successful in growing our business by expanding into additional asset classes.” Additionally, since Goal Solutions has sister companies that lend and invest in consumer assets, they provide their services from the client’s perspective. “While most of our competitors have never been in their client’s shoes, we manage our client’s loans with ownership perspective, with the same passion and thoughtfulness,” says Matt.
Serving Customers Passionately
Great people, hard work, and proprietary technology are the foundations of Goal Solutions’ success. The company’s team of dedicated licensing experts work tirelessly to maintain state and jurisdictional licenses while constantly monitoring the ever-changing licensing landscape. Goal Solutions has invested in the infrastructure required to effectively apply and manage the various licenses, ensuring they remain compliant and up to date. Their team is passionate and highly knowledgeable in their field, providing them with the expertise to manage the licenses quickly and efficiently.
According to Matt, consumer communication preferences are consistently shifting, primarily how consumers want to engage. Some consumers still like to open physical mail and talk on the phone. However, most consumers prefer digital engagement channels, especially for the products they manage with a younger demographic. “It is important to understand the consumer we are engaging with and how they want to be corresponded with, or it will not drive productive outcomes and worst of all generate a bad customer experience,” elucidates Matt. “From my experience, bad user experiences are highly correlated with poor portfolio performance, the opposite of what our clients expect from Goal.”
Across Goal Solutions Servicing, Master Servicing, and recovery businesses, they leverage custom scores such as their proprietary Borrower Engagement Score, which predicts the likelihood of delinquent borrowers engaging. The company is also investing heavily in omnichannel communication content and the cadence, so they are event-triggered with relevant messaging to get borrowers when there is the maximum likelihood a borrower will respond to a call to action. The last thing they are doing is focusing heavily on providing self-service options for consumers. Suppose they want to talk to an agent great. However, if they’re going to serve themselves, they want to make those options available to them to maximize their comfort around engaging with themselves. Self-service takes the form of an AI-driven conversational IVR brain that can drive phone, chat, and text engagements, fewer clicks to pay from digital messaging, and automated ways to perform tasks such as receiving payoff requests and postponement forms.
For example, a fintech lender has been handling its reporting for investors, which typically will partially break down until the number of customers is small enough to manage in a spreadsheet or SalesForce. The lender is dealing with unsophisticated investors with low expectations, and if that fintech platform reaches any measure of success, they are quickly overwhelmed and far out of its depth. This results in lousy servicing which translates into a poor customer experience and high delinquencies, promptly threatening the viability of the entire business. But, when they partner with Goal Solutions, they immediately benefit from the company’s scale, strong SLAs, omnichannel communication capabilities, and portfolio optimization strategies. The customers get great results and are happy customers, leading to a portfolio that performs at a high level. Their investor reporting will instill confidence, allowing them access to the capital markets in a manner they would otherwise be unable to. This allows the platforms to focus their time, energy, and capital where it is more accretive, acquiring more clients.
Towards the Future
Matt spends a lot of time talking about how technology is a significant driver of quality services across everything that Goal Solutions do, from servicing to investor reporting to master servicing, and rightfully so. Equally important are the people manning the technology and delivering the services. Goal Solutions’ competitive advantage is something other than people or technology. It is people and technology. “Any person or company who tells you that this is not the case, I’d be hesitant to trust the quality of the service they provide. We invest in our people, and it has become a competitive advantage for us in the market,” says Matt. “Many of our team members joined us from competitors looking for a company where they are valued as people and can grow as individuals and expand their skill set and careers.” At Goal, the employees have a voice that can be heard, and they can take all that they see and hear on the front lines of the business and use that to help the company enhance how they provide services to the clients.
Goal Solutions has received numerous regional and national awards as the best place to work, and they came in #2 in all of Southern California in 2022 for midsize businesses. Happy and fulfilled employees show up to their jobs with an unapparelled sense of passion and enthusiasm for their work, which translates into a very high level of accountability and desire to serve our clients and partners at the highest level. “I have worked at Goal for 16+ years back to its founding. With our culture, team, and work environment, coupled with our proprietary technology, we have the ingredients for a successful, award-winning business that works with some of the most renowned companies in the world,” adds the steadfast leader. “There was only a handful of us and every single client no matter how large or small counted as we built the business, we have that same DNA today. Couple that culture, team and work environment with the proprietary technology we leverage, and we have the ingredients for an award-winning and growing business that works with some of the most well-known and respected companies in the world.”
Goal Solutions currently partners with clients across banks, hedge funds, insurance companies, PE companies, fintech platforms, credit unions, money managers, and many more. The wide variety of client types makes the company unique in the market, giving them the opportunity to understand the business from a multitude of perspectives. They also provide the most comprehensive array of services in the consumer lending market, offering a complete set of solutions. “In the future, we are looking at expansion into additional asset classes. We have become leaders in residential solar, home improvement, personal loans, education finance and elective medical. By the end of 2023, we will likely enter 1-2 new markets, with auto being the most likely,” states Matt. “To ensure success, we have partnered with experts in auto loan servicing and asset management to provide a gap analysis and learned our offerings and technology would align with auto. Participants in this space have lent further validation that our solutions will add value to financial stakeholders in auto finance. We believe the time is right to find our entry point and invest heavily in it, as we have done with the other asset classes in which we are now leaders.”