Founded in 2007 in Rotterdam by young entrepreneurs Niels de Peuter and Laurens Withagen, Centraal Invorderings Bureau (CIB) has since been helping its clients in the fields of client acceptance, outsourcing, amicable and legal collection activities, as well as legal support. We spoke to one of the directors, Roman Berkhout, to find out more.
Centraal Invorderings Bureau is founded against a market background where no innovation was occuring. “It was difficult to get a clear overview of the activities of the collection industry at that time and all of the processes looked standard and lacked innovation”, Berkhout explains. Thus, the founders saw the opportunity laid in front of them, that being becoming an effective market player by being transparent and IT-driven. “Those core values combined with a personal approach, striving for top quality and having an against-the-grain mentality made the company grow significantly over the last couple of years’’ Berkhout adds. Today, they are a proud member of the Dutch Association for Credit Management Companies (NVI) and have over 80 employees.
The current team is specialised in credit management, data analytics, or IT, and the average age is 26. The young team’s mentality and dynamic spirit assists in company processes while creating an open and enthusiastic atmosphere.
Berkhout is vocal about some gradual changes witnessed during his work at CIB regarding the clients’ attitude toward the credit management process. “At this moment we see that companies are changing their view and scope”, he says. “It used to be a forgotten process within companies to reduce costs and loss of credit. Nowadays companies are trying to understand their customer behaviour by trying to understand why their client is in default. Credit management has become more and more an important department within companies.”
A rapidly-changing landscape
While challenges in the debt collection industry remain, CIB has witnessed a rapid change in the landscape due to law and regulations as well as mergers within the branch. “We finally see a change where companies are becoming more aware of the data they already have and how to use this for credit management purposes”, Berkhout remarks. “Different payment methods are becoming a commodity; however, the use of artificial intelligence and/ or machine learning is more and more becoming the trend in this branch”, he adds. Finally, CIB is of the opinion that having clear and open communication with the clients of its customers paves the way to success. “By approaching them in a way we would like to be approached ourselves in daily life, we are able to make the difference.” Berkhout adds.
The majority of the customers of CIB are e-commerce related companies, while the organisation also serves companies such as online merchants, insurance companies, publishers, payment platforms and telco’s. The best fit seems to be with the companies that possess solid IT infrastructures. Berkhout adds, “Working with API’s is still in our branch clearly not well-known. Due to our technical capabilities we have a good fit with other technical companies, such as e-commerce, scale-ups and of course other Holland Fintech Members.”
CIB is proud to instantly have adopted new techniques, payment methods, and communication tools thanks to their skillful employees and to their close work with payment service providers.
Partnerships and fintech’s future
CIB recently has celebrated a partnership with Parkmobile and Parkline, where CIB is assisting these parties with their credit management process to optimise their contact with debtors in a friendly way. The organisation is also proud to announce a cooperation with Buckaroo, where it offers an end-to-end solution. When asked about his thoughts on the fintech landscape and the Holland Fintech membership, Berkhout shares that he witnesses an increase in the awareness of fintech in the community since the first meeting of CIB and Holland FinTech over 3 years ago. Also, he is of the opinion that the Holland FinTech community is evolving in a good direction today, as the members are not only corporates but also a number of disruptors in their branches.