Corey Cox – Director of Agent Relations
November 14, 2019
Dave: Hey Corey, thanks for taking the time to sit down and talk with me today. I always like to start these conversations off with the same question. Where did you first get introduced to the collateral recovery industry?
Corey: Ah, well…. I see what you did there Dave. You’re trying to make me show my age. So, I was first formally introduced to the industry at a very young age. I would meet my brothers at out our Grandparents house in Apache, Oklahoma every summer. We all had that one uncle that wasn’t…. quite…right. Mine was the local repossessor. Night after night he’d go out in that faithful old truck and the AC probably had not worked in years, but I didn’t care. I watched as he would go property to property and seldom did he ever just conduct the business of “grab n’ go” but rather, he made it a point to get out and really talk to each customer. I found that to be rather inspiring. When I asked him why he did that he stated “They are people just like you and me. If I can make them feel better about the situation instead of confused, angry and alone, at the end of the day, I’ve done my job as a repossessor and a human being.” Funny thing is, he would walk away with the collateral every single time. I would say that’s where it all began for me.
Dave: Do you feel that the compassion your Uncle displayed is a dying trait of repossessor’s today?
Corey: I think the compassion is still present, but I think our hands are tied with the limitations placed on the industry in regard to contact in the field. It’s a new day and age. The game has certainly changed since my humble beginnings.
Dave: Many agencies today have never operated without a no contact stipulation. Do you think that the no contact rule was implemented to deal with the perceived risk of violence, as a reaction to regulatory compliance or a combination of the two? How do you see the direct impact of such a rule?
Corey: I think it was indeed a combination of the two. Changes really started happening when the regulatory compliance was heavily and quickly introduced to the industry. I believe, the lending side of the house wanted to be able to have controls in place to mitigate the potential risk of violence, 3rd party disclosure…etc. No contact was the easiest way to achieve this at the time. The direct impact on the industry was the inability to utilize our greatest resource for investigation as repossessors, face-to-face communication. Every agency owner and seasoned veteran out there know this specific scenario…. Unit never shows at the house after two runs. Beat the door and the customer comes out and says that they have been waiting for us but they kept the vehicle in the garage because they took insurance off of it and didn’t want to be liable for it in the event it was damaged or stolen. Now take away the element of being able to make contact, the process becomes much slower.
Dave: As an agency owner, I am sure that you see both the advantages of regulation and the hindrances. Is compliance a necessary evil?
Corey: It’s bittersweet. That’s how I would best describe it. It ensures that we are all keeping up to the same standard but in this industry, it’s something that’s been left to open interpretation which differs greatly from client to client. It needs to become a set standard industry wide and not be a piece that has so many different variations.
Dave: While regulatory compliance has greatly changed the entire industry and how it operates and functions, another factor has had an even deeper impact on collateral recovery and that is technology. How have you seen advancement in technology change the repossession field?
Corey: If you were in the industry as part of the late 90’s, across the earlier part of the year 2000, you understand how simple the industry was. The most difficult thing to deal with then was going out of town and being able to find the map in your glove box that you needed to navigate that particular area that you weren’t familiar with. Key maps and paper orders were the wave of the future back then. I remember when Streets and Trips hit the market and then Tom-Tom. Everyone was like “Whoa. This is efficient.” Little did we know what was to come. Now the assets in the field are literally rolling offices with every bit of information that they need at their fingertips. You just have to have good wi-fi signal.
Dave: Most of us know you not only as a recovery agency owner at Asset Resolutions but as a long-time industry advocate. Can you tell us about your new position that you’ve just undertaken?
Corey: I’d be glad to! For many years, agencies have felt there is a disconnect between them and the lending community. Even more so since the forwarding model has occupied the front lines and have become the intermediary in most cases between the agencies and the lenders. When tech really started becoming a big part the industry, it added yet another layer to an already difficult scenario for these agencies. They saw an industry growing and transitioning around them, yet their ideas and suggestions were not an integral part of this building process. Processes were being made easier across the board, but the agencies felt like they were burdened with the costs associated with these on-going changes. You can get on the industry forums on any given day and see owners vent their frustrations with many things they feel are disparaging to them and the industry that they love. We all knew something had to be done and the agencies voice needed to be heard. The individual agencies in every market are the cornerstone of every lenders and forwarders success. Without them in the field, risking life, limb and equipment to do what they do best and safely and effectively mitigate all the potential losses, the auto finance industry would take a severe hit. I’ve always made it a point to be a man of action, no matter the circumstance. This was no different. At an agent event in Dallas, I had met with Cort Dehart and we engaged in a long talk about the state of the industry. We both shared some very good insight and our line of thinking was common in many areas. Over the next couple of months, we had kept in contact, and Cort had asked if I would be interested in joining the MBSi team as the Director of Agent Relations. It was a perfect fit. I’m now the active voice of the agencies nationwide and I’m using those voices and my own industry experience to help with building of the new platform.
Dave Branch: Tell us more about the new platform, it’s current structure and where the platform is headed now that you are a part of the team?
Corey Cox: I’d be glad too. It is the result of a complete overhaul of the legacy MBSi systems that agents are familiar with today that is based on MRS© scalable architecture. It’s an efficient tool for agencies to utilize to accept, track and report the cases that are assigned to them by their clients. It’s much more user friendly than it’s predecessor and Recovery Connect comes with many great features. It is not only going to be competitively priced but it’s going to be the first of it’s kind that is GIVING the agencies the ability to generate additional revenue for their businesses. I can’t let the cat out of the proverbial bag but there are going to be many new features that are geared with helping the agencies on many other levels other than just processing of regular assignments. Currently, we are in product validation where myself and colleagues beat up the system and verify the functionality. When this is complete, we will be ready to bring it to the industry. I believe with the change in direction that we have applied by bringing in individuals with extensive industry knowledge from the agency side of the house, it has facilitated a new approach to allow those who deal with the recovery process on a daily basis to really dig deep into what’s being built, give our honest feedback and work with the development and design team first hand to make the applicable changes and recommendations. The entire team has really worked tirelessly to make the new platform what it is today. It’s a great group of people with a common end goal. We may not always agree but at the end of the day, we hash it all out and move forward and push on to the next task.
Dave: What sets MBSi apart from the rest of the field and what are some of the changes that users will see in the near future?
Corey: We are about to be the new kid on the block. Being in that position, you have to come with something new, innovative, exciting. At the end of the day, our mission is to provide simplicity and minimize the financial burden to those who are the heartbeat of this industry. The agency owners. We’ve already started our “Pro-agency” stance with hosting events all over the country. Since last year, the team has been traveling once a month to different destinations to talk to agents and get their feedback. I alone spend XX hours a week just reaching out to our agents. We are really going above and beyond to provide agencies with the opportunity to generate more money, utilize the software at a lower price point and really help facilitate the reconnect with the lending community and allow their voices to be heard. You’ll see more lender education events. You’ll see more opportunity arise to reach across the aisle to work together and better understand what drives success for each entity.
Dave: Tell me a little more about your outreach campaign and Cocktails and Conversation tour?
Corey: The team has been setting up events across the country and inviting all agents in the area to come out and sit and talk and air their grievances and give their suggestions. We take the time to share a sneak peek of the new Recovery Connect platform and what is new that they can expect to see in the near future. I really learned that transparency is best in this industry. The events were originally surrounded around lunch or dinner and we found that participation and engagement was very tough to get. So, we decided to switch it up to “Cocktails & Conversations” and it’s exactly how it sounds. Now, it’s been interesting to say the least. You take a room full of people that may have something they want to say but normally wouldn’t, add alcohol and hilarity ensues. It’s really been a great campaign that allows us to get out there, visit agencies on their own turf and really get a good feel for what their trials and tribulations are in their markets. Typically, myself and Avanti go a day early and stay a day late so that we can schedule to go to some agent offices and get a feel for their day-to-day and meet their staff.
Through our outreach campaign, we have been able to sit with agency owners at their offices and really get good feedback from them that we have been able to apply to this build as well. Many times, we are also able to provide insight and suggestions for their business and give them ideas on how to better drive production and streamline their internal processes. These agencies see that we are invested and know that we are actively promoting ways to keep the industry and their business healthy.
Dave: Do you have a list of cities and dates for the Cocktails & Conversations tour?
Corey: Our next event is set for Tuesday, 11-19-19 in Los Angeles. Watch the MBSi marketing posts on Repo Buzz for locations and dates to be announced along with 2020 events. I’m thinking a bigger, better user conference is coming.
Dave: I really appreciate you taking the time to talk about your new role with MBSi and all of the updates and new features that agencies can look forward to. Do you have any closing words or anything you’d like to add for our readers?
Corey: I feel as if I should end with a powerful quote from a prominent and influential person of our past. But that’s not really me and it’s fairly cliché.
I’m grateful for the opportunity that I have been given. It’s time to put all the cards out on the table, bring some new life to the industry and give the agencies something that not only works for them but also goes the extra mile to work with them. I cannot begin to explain my gratitude for all of my friends and colleagues that have rallied behind me when I accepted this position. Especially Bryanna. Always my biggest cheerleader.
I’m excited to see what the future of the industry looks like and what we can all get accomplished when we work together. I’m sure I’ll be seeing or talking to most of you soon!
Corey Cox lives in Houston, Texas with his wife, Bryanna. He is the owner of Asset Resolutions Inc. and is the Director of Agent Relations at MBSI. You may reach Corey directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
For those of you in the Los Angeles area, here is your chance to come out and meet Corey Cox and discuss the new features he spoke of here and provide some feedback directly with him.
When: November 19, 2019 from 5:00pm – 7:00pm
Where: Chloe’s at Golden Road Brewery
5410 W San Fernando Rd
Los Angeles, CA 90039