The automation of debt collection processes is entering a new level, thanks to the rapidly increasing digitalisation of the services provided by debt collection companies, as well as greater access to data on public services. It is the latter that we will take a closer look at in order to show the extent of change in recent years and estimate the real impact on business process optimisation.
The electronic writ-of-payment system (EPU)
A brief historical overview:
9 january 2009 – an act enabling writ of payment proceedings (pursuant to the civil code and other acts) to be conducted by way of electronic writ of payment proceedings (epu) enters into force.
1 january 2010 – the act comes into force, commencing the transformation of the judicial debt collection departments, which must adapt their processes to the new reality.
The beginnings were difficult – the necessity to adapt processes and systems as well as learn how to use the system to file a mass claims. The results of the proceedings were not stunning at first, but, over time, the number of claims handled favourably for creditors began to increase and the epu process accelerated considerably. Certainly, investing in the development of the portal and making it possible to process case bundles in mass claims has been helpful. The development of the epu service allows for online integration via a connector, which significantly increases the possibility of effectively managing the process of transferring case bundles to the court. Communication with the court designated to handle epu processes runs at this point de facto entirely through the portal, and debt collection staff can be kept informed of the effects of the proceedings in the source system on an ongoing basis. An additional advantage of the integration is the possibility for the debt collection system to ‘track’ deadlines, remind us to fill in the documents required by the e-court, but above all, the portal allows all history and documentation to be gathered in one place.
To sum up, the epu has opened the door to the digitalisation of court processes for mass creditors and generated demand for the automation of hitherto tedious and time-consuming debt collection processes.
IPCC – Information Portal for Common Courts
Another milestone in the digitalisation process was the creation of the information portal for common courts, whose role has been electrifying all participants of court proceedings in recent months. All this is due to the amendment of the provisions on e-delivery of correspondence from the court in the course of conducting proceedings according to the provisions of the code of civil procedure.
The portal itself was created several years ago and allowed access to electronically available case files within a given appeal. The change in the use of the portal occurred due to the epidemic threat and reduced access to stationary court premises. In 2020, provisions were introduced that the court is to deliver court letters to an attorney or legal advisor by posting their contents in the ict system used to make these letters available, the information portal of the common courts.
The regulations effective since 3 july 2021 have forced law firms and professional plenipotentiaries to adapt very quickly to the changes in the way litigation correspondence is delivered. Due to the pace of change, numerous institutions considerably interested in the topic of access to litigation documentation are looking for solutions to help ensure access to data on the portal. The aforementioned changes have created an opportunity to implement further functionalities to optimise the course of the judicial process.
The response to the need for quick access to data from various appeals is the connector, which can extract data from all portals and present the results in the collection systems in the context of the case to which the documentation relates. Within the metadata downloaded by the connector, the system can assign tasks/notifications to case handlers and monitor the stages of the proceedings.
NDR – National Debtors Register
This year should see another innovation in terms of access to data necessary for debt collection processes – the digital national debtors register. The launch of the registry has already been postponed several times, but the latest planned launch date is december 2021, so there is less and less time left to adapt processes and tools to make use of the new data source. And it is supposed to be so revolutionary that one newspaper article compared the introduction of the NDR to switching from a Polonez to a Tesla.
The register is intended to provide entirely electronic bankruptcy and restructuring proceedings and access to data on child support debtors. De facto, the introduction of the ndr is expected to accelerate access to sensitive information about ongoing restructuring and bankruptcy processes, ensure a smooth transfer of information between creditors and debtors and eliminate ‘paper’ from the creditor-debtor-court-restructuring advisors processes.
The introduction of the ndr is one of the largest projects implemented as part of digitalisation of justice.
Another process that has undergone a huge metamorphosis in recent years is debt enforcement, and the pandemic has had the greatest impact on its transformation. Pandemic regulations blocked the possibility of direct real estate enforcement, so the ideal solution was to introduce e-auctions. The path to the introduction of this solution was paved by e-enforcement on movables (electronic auctions), which was well received by the community of bailiffs and creditors. A huge role in proposing new solutions is played by the national council of bailiffs, which pilots the topics of digitisation of enforcement processes, submitting new ideas for making bailiff proceedings more efficient.
For the time being, the pandemic restrictions on the prohibition of eviction are still in force, so the provisions effective since 19 september 2021 (regarding e-auctions of real estate) currently apply to proceedings where the property does not meet the housing needs of the debtor. The main assumption is to speed up the proceedings and eliminate the situation of participants artificially prolonging the auction process.
The above-mentioned registers, databases and portals provide participants of these solutions with one most significant benefit – probably the most frequently used in the context of digitalisation – the elimination of paper. For creditors, the most crucial advantage is the acceleration of proceedings and the possibility of optimising business processes, through efficient resource allocation and better ‘measured’ monitoring of proceedings.
At VSoft S.A., Joanna deals with functional analysis as well as the development and adaptation of IT tools to business needs in the financial area, in particular monitoring and debt collection. She has been gaining knowledge in the area of monitoring and debt collection since 2005, based on her experience in managing processes and teams responsible for monitoring and debt collection for, among others, Bank BPH S.A., Bank Pekao S.A., Alior Bank S.A., SGB-Bank S.A.