Collector - November 2017 - 48
Ahead of the Game
After more than 30 years in business, family-owned company Williams & Fudge has learned to use ongoing changes in
the student loan servicing industry to its advantage.
By Katy Zillmer
illiams & Fudge Inc. keeps
change at the forefront of its
business strategy in the student
loan servicing industry.
"I think one thing that we've all found out
about the collection business lately is that
if you don't change, you're going to get left
behind," said David Williams, president of
Williams & Fudge.
Williams & Fudge considers itself an
extension of the more than 1,400 colleges
WILLIAMS & FUDGE INC.
ROCK HILL, S.C.
PRESIDENT DAVID WILLIAMS,
FOUNDER AND CHAIRMAN OF THE
BOARD GARY WILLIAMS AND CEO
and universities it works with as it
communicates with student loan borrowers.
And with student loan debt reaching a
record high, activity in the servicing industry
is on everyone's radar, including regulators,
consumers and colleges and universities,
making it even more of a priority to
successfully communicate with borrowers on
One critical component of Williams &
Fudge's approach is its Student Loans &
Receivables Collection Conference, held
every year since the company's inception in
From the beginning, Williams & Fudge
Founder Gary Williams knew the conference
would be a significant part of the company's
growth and education for staff and clients.
The event is designed to help college and
university personnel learn more about
federal student loan programs and accounts
receivable. It also enables Williams & Fudge
staff to hear firsthand how clients run their
"With the population that we work
with, a lot of them being freshly out of
school, it's even more important that we're
knowledgeable of what [student loan
borrowers'] options are-be it consolidating
debt, rehabilitating a debt or paying it off
with help from someone," Williams said.
The company has a twofold approach to
communicating with consumers about their
accounts and payment options. Well-trained
collection agents reach out to borrowers
first over the phone, but Williams & Fudge
also created an option for borrowers to
communicate with agents and manage
their account online through their website,
Williams said some consumers prefer the
online options, while others still want to talk
to a person.
"We are trying to stay on the edge of
technology for consumers to make payments
and let them be in control of how they
communicate with us as well," he said.
Williams & Fudge also brought on
Robert Duenkel as the company's CCCO/
ombudsman to communicate with
consumers who prefer person-to-person
"The ombudsman is really good at talking
to people and understanding their issues and
where they're coming from and how to help
them," Williams said.
Internally, the company works to ensure
its collection agents get regular training that
fits their learning style.
Trainers offer shorter sessions and
regularly vary the format of those sessions,
including PowerPoint presentations and
games to help keep staff interested.
"We really want to try to change and
keep up and make sure we're providing our
employees the information that they need
and the way they want it, as opposed to
sitting in a classroom at a desk all the time,"
Williams said. "It's a new age of employees
just like it's a new age of consumers."
Overall, the company's goals are to look
five years down the road and diversify to
ensure its opportunities continue, Williams
said. It is equally focused on staying ahead of
the game in technology and data security.
At the same time, the company also
continues its focus on a work-life balance for
employees and helping the community.
"Work-play-give is our new motto,"
Williams said. "Our community is really
important to us. We diversify what we do,
how we do it [and] we try to see what else we
can do to help."
Katy Zillmer is ACA International's
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Collector - November 2017
Making the Right Choice
Getting Your Ducks in a Row
Putting it all Together
CFPB Pursues Two Student Loan Servicers
Collector - November 2017 - Cover1
Collector - November 2017 - Cover2
Collector - November 2017 - 1
Collector - November 2017 - Upfront
Collector - November 2017 - 3
Collector - November 2017 - Industry News
Collector - November 2017 - 5
Collector - November 2017 - 6
Collector - November 2017 - 7
Collector - November 2017 - Best Practices
Collector - November 2017 - 9
Collector - November 2017 - FYI
Collector - November 2017 - 11
Collector - November 2017 - Collection Tips
Collector - November 2017 - 13
Collector - November 2017 - Making the Right Choice
Collector - November 2017 - 15
Collector - November 2017 - 16
Collector - November 2017 - 17
Collector - November 2017 - Getting Your Ducks in a Row
Collector - November 2017 - 19
Collector - November 2017 - 20
Collector - November 2017 - 21
Collector - November 2017 - 22
Collector - November 2017 - 23
Collector - November 2017 - 24
Collector - November 2017 - 25
Collector - November 2017 - Highlight Reel
Collector - November 2017 - 27
Collector - November 2017 - 28
Collector - November 2017 - 29
Collector - November 2017 - 30
Collector - November 2017 - 31
Collector - November 2017 - Putting it all Together
Collector - November 2017 - 33
Collector - November 2017 - 34
Collector - November 2017 - 35
Collector - November 2017 - Calendar
Collector - November 2017 - Honor Roll
Collector - November 2017 - On Call
Collector - November 2017 - 39
Collector - November 2017 - Hire Purpose
Collector - November 2017 - 41
Collector - November 2017 - CFPB Pursues Two Student Loan Servicers
Collector - November 2017 - 43
Collector - November 2017 - Compliance
Collector - November 2017 - 45
Collector - November 2017 - ACA SearchPoint
Collector - November 2017 - 47
Collector - November 2017 - Last Word
Collector - November 2017 - Cover3
Collector - November 2017 - Cover4