TCM expands international debt collection services in Southeast Asia
UCC extends TCM’s collection reach in Southeast Asia
By GRAHAM LACEY
Aug. 20, 2018
WANNEROO, Australia (TCM Newsroom) — TCM’s collection services in Southeast Asia are growing significantly and it is thanks to a new project kick-started by TCM Australia, otherwise known as Upper Class Collections.
The important new project is designed to shore up Group representation in Southeast Asian states in the years ahead.
When UCC joined TCM Group in 2014 there was a veritable void in the Southeast Asian region regarding Group representation. At that time, TCM had three strong shareholders in the region: Qingdao Inter-Credit Services Pte Co Ltd. in China, Ace Law Group in South Korea, and Haraguchi International Law Office in Japan. So the northern economic zone of Asia was comprehensively covered, but there was very little representation south of these countries.
Initially, UCC used the debt collection agencies and service providers on the TCM platform, but we found that once we stopped using Group shareholders, reliability began to drop. Obtaining email replies from some providers was an onerous task and in some cases replies were simply not forthcoming; once these providers received a debt to collect we never heard from them again.
So UCC resolved to fill this void by launching an ambitious project whose aim is to have reliable and comprehensive representation on the ground in every ASEAN country by the end of 2020. Depending on demand, the form of representation may vary from a call-centre-type set-up to a single-person office.
In 2016, we registered in Singapore, Malaysia, and Vietnam under our brand name and in 2018 registered in the Philippines under the temporary name of Patrician Debt Recovery. In other countries in the region, we have been using numerous agents, but so far none have proved themselves reliable enough to be invited to sign up as an agency or service provider.
Now let’s take a closer look at our activities in four ASEAN countries.
Malaysia. We have had a stable presence in Malaysia since 2016, though we have encountered internal issues that have resulted in the UCC’s CEO (the author) having to reside in Malaysia in 2018 to assist in establishing the office on a sound footing. Things have improved considerably, and we have just moved into new offices in a new building called Sunway Geo Avenue. Ms. Juliet Sumalinog is the person in charge of our office in this country.
Singapore. Many companies who entrusted us with their receivables for Singapore may have known Ms. Kenix Wu, who worked in our Singapore office. Ms. Wu has now left UCC, and I am currently negotiating to get a replacement as soon as possible. Ms. Sumalinog from our Malaysian office is currently collecting in Singapore, as well as completing field visits on a regular basis. We have just completed a major upgrade to our Singapore VOIP phone system, which adds enhanced functionality to the system and to our 3CX network overall.
Vietnam. In Vietnam we provide debt collection services, field services, and legal support services. And we have just signed up with a company called Vietnam Credit to enlarge our services portfolio to include credit reporting. At the end of August, I will travel to Hanoi to discuss opening an office there and to negotiate with a Vietnamese bank with a view to commencing collection on their unsecured debts. They have expressed a keen interest in our international reach and I expect this will be the first of many Vietnamese banks to become a TCM customer.
Ms. Huong Hoang is responsible for all international debt collection issues within Vietnam and Ms. Hoai Nguyen handles the outsourcing to other TCM members.
Philippines. Ms. Chrishelyn Parba, who used to work in our Malaysian office before returning to her home country, is in charge of our Philippine office. Here we are in a position to dispense legal support, and the coverage capacity of our field agents is now up to 50% of the country. If required, we can also deliver credit reports.
It goes without saying that other ASEAN countries are also in our sights – for example, we are currently in negotiation with a collector in Indonesia to establish TCM’s presence in Jakarta. We also plan to achieve representation in Thailand and Laos
Enlarging its presence in the ASEAN segment will give TCM a unique and significant advantage: the Group will be the only international provider of global debt recovery services with an office in every ASEAN country. None of our competitors have been able to achieve this coverage level thus far and we are confident that we will not only do so, and do so with success, but that it will be another first for TCM.
Mr. Graham Lacey is the CEO of UCC.