How Financial Services Leadership Must Adapt in the Time of Coronavirus

Though we all eagerly await a return to normalcy, business leaders abroad must prepare for both a radically different present and future in the wake of the unprecedented COVID-19 outbreak.

With the US economy projected to contract 14% in the second quarter,  COVID-19 and the resulting waves it has made through every facet of the global market has the potential to “forever change the financial services industry,” according to Jeffries CEO Rich Handler. 

Serving as just one example, many of our senior-level loan servicing contacts in the mortgage industry share a consensus that payment defaults will most likely double across all products and credit segments.  Furthermore, though foreclosures may be disallowed for the remainder of the year, there will be loan modification programs available to assist individuals to defer some or all of their payments due to job loss resulting from COVID-19.

The question of how to respond during such unprecedented times weighs heavily on the minds of business leaders across all industries. Currently, though, the playing field is level. Unlike a major cyberattack, for example, the coronavirus outbreak is besieging all firms simultaneously, rather than just one or a few. 

How your leadership responds now is critical for both the present and future. Communication from your senior leadership is more important now than ever to preserve the integral trust and reputation among clients as we all navigate the uncertainties of these times together. 

Frequent, honest, and transparent communication is paramount to update clients, regulators, and employees on how your firm is responding to the situation. Organizations must be paying immediate, close attention to their leadership teams across their customer call center, collections, default management, data, investor relations, and loss mitigation teams to ensure they have the appropriate processes, technology, and people in place to service their customers above and beyond expectations. 

In such challenging times, providing maximum benefit to the customer while strictly adhering to government regulations, guidelines, and directives is vastly important. In order to keep and grow your valued customer relationships, how you engage and service clients now, when they need you the most, can speak volumes for years to come.

Cybersecurity is another key area to address. By now, with so many organizations operating as remotely as possible, there are more vulnerabilities and points of entry for malicious cyber actors to take advantage of due to such a significant increase of remote access to data and core systems. Organizations should begin to shore up their defenses immediately by:

  • Increasing awareness among staff about suspicious emails; phishing attempts are drastically increasing during the crisis
  • Utilize security tools to identify and remedy any potential weak points throughout your information systems
  • Strengthen your remote working policies; ensure employees are working from as secure a network as possible
  • Make sure all decisions and software are updated and patched

The coming months, though they may be racked with challenges, will be highly indicative of a firm’s standing for the coming years as we all eagerly await an end to the current economic and health crisis.  

With payments defaults projected to double across all products and segments in the coming months, and the importance of an organization’s response paramount, Huffman Associates can help you build the leadership team you need to address your readiness and navigate through these trying times. 

Over the years, our team of dedicated executive recruiters has partnered with great organizations to help them find the leaders they need to drive their business forward. 

Get in touch with us today to learn more.

Huffman Associates LLC