Anytime Access Inc., a call center operator that emphasizes rapid loan decision-making, has broadened its approach to customer support and has dubbed it Accession.
Thomas R. Bollum, president and chief executive officer, said Accession- the brand name for capabilities it draws from various vendors-puts the Sacramento, Calif., company in a position to be a "single-source supplier of technology, products, and support" at affordable prices.
The expanded arsenal includes credit bureau and scorecard systems from Experian Inc. and Fair, Isaac & Co., and loan processing software from Credit Management Solutions Inc. of Columbia, Md.
"Customers rely on Anytime Access for retail competition," Mr. Bollum said in an interview. "They get the capabilities that only the Chases and the NationsBanks can afford to develop themselves."
Serving some 160 financial institutions between $10 million and $18 billion of assets, Anytime Access pulls together the kinds of risk management and decision support systems that enable instantaneous or rapid responses to loan applications, while "reducing the time to market and capital investment" of its clients, Mr. Bollum said.
Whether taking an application or otherwise communicating over the telephone, automatic voice response unit, or Internet, "we are delivering the bank's relationship with the consumer," Mr. Bollum said.
Mr. Bollum formed the privately held, venture-capital-backed company in 1994 after a career in the savings and loan and credit union industries. Anytime Access has grown with the call center boom to 250 employees, from 15 two years ago.
Mr. Bollum said Anytime Access and its Accession philosophy fills a need that larger call center vendors do not, which he called "judgmental review."
"For the majority of lenders in this country, lending is still judgmental," he said, with the conspicuous exception of formulaic credit card products. He sees financial institutions evolving in two directions- either toward megabank size and efficiency, or toward more personal, face- to-face interaction. As consumers demand instant access to information and responses to their needs, he said, "the call center is the bridge between high-tech and high-touch delivery systems."
Anytime Access can handle virtually any type of consumer and small- business loan within any parameters set by clients. Some might just want applications taken-the company's volume exceeds 50,000 a month-while others delegate approval and denial authority.
"We harness technology, bring together resources, and focus on core marketing principles that allow banks to increase revenue and decrease expenses, which in turn has a positive impact on profitability," Mr. Bollum said.
Banks can add products through the Accession alliances, such as Credit Management Solutions' CreditConnection for indirect auto loans, "or they can simply enhance their existing products with our programs," Mr. Bollum said.
"Not only do we offer the products," he added, "but we can shape the policies that maximize success."