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Sean Delaney | 12 March, 2024

Data driven decisions with Sean Delaney, Senior Credit and Risk Manager at McCormick

On this week's episode, we sit down with McCormick Senior Credit and Risk Manager Sean Delaney. We discuss his experience within the collections space, the industry's evolution throughout his time in collections, and where he sees the sector implementing artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML). 

Listen on Spotify here.

Listen on Apple here.

About Sean

Sean has 20 years of experience in the collections industry, and like many others who've made a career for themselves, he didn't plan on working in collections. After graduating from college, he was offered a position in collections, and he took it with the idea that he would stay long enough to get on his feet and then pursue something different. 

Fast forward 20 years later, and he's still working in collections and has dabbled in various aspects of the industry. From being a collector to managing a team of collectors and working in risk management, Sean has gained vast knowledge of the industry and how everything works together. He states that he doesn't think anyone plans on working in collections, but those who do almost always stay longer than they ever anticipated. 

Throughout his two decades within collections, Sean has seen how everything has evolved from when he started in the industry. He shares how he feels like everything he's learned during his time in collections has allowed him to grow professionally and personally. 

How the Role and Responsibilities of Credit Risk Managers and Collectors Have Evolved

Like others who've worked in collections and credit risk management for several years, Sean has seen firsthand how things have evolved since 2004. He shares that the roles and responsibilities that he and others have changed over time. 

One instance he remembers is how, previously, when someone would apply for a line of credit, customers would often have to wait a minimum of five to seven days before they received an answer. Those working in the industry would have to call around for references for the customer and create spreadsheets with information, which was quite time-consuming. 

Sean talks about how technology has allowed many collections and credit risk management processes to be automated. Automating many processes has allowed people applying for a line of credit to get an answer in only a few minutes. 

The efficiency of automation and technology in collections has allowed businesses to create data-driven decisions and build better customer relationships because customers are far happier with fast service. 

AI and Machine Learning Within Collections

With the technology aspect that collections have now, Sean shares his thoughts on where AI and machine learning are going within the industry. He feels we're on the verge of seeing how this technology can help collectors and others within the industry. Since much of the technology is new, there may be a learning curve initially, but it should only benefit the industry. 

Adding to that, he wanted to clarify that while automation with AI and machine learning can be highly beneficial for businesses and their customers, you can't get that human aspect with this technology. So, pairing this technology with a human element will help collections businesses succeed and continue to thrive. 

The last point Sean addresses about AI and machine learning is that while they're helpful, there are still many gray areas regarding laws and regulations inside the country and internationally. Sean states that these gray areas must be addressed before the industry moves too far forward with the technology. 

Impact of Data-Driven Decision Making on Collections Strategy

Like others in the collections industry, Sean states that data-driven decision-making is a massive shift. Sean shares that he's seen a lot of positive things with this collection strategy. He states that it's saved much time for companies, and its efficiency allows those within the industry, including himself, to dabble in other aspects of business operations. 

Parting Words From Sean Delaney 

Sean Delaney is passionate about the collections industry and seeing where it will go. With AI and machine learning starting to take over, he believes we'll see more use of this technology within the space. 

 Sean Delaney
About the author

Sean Delaney

Sean Delaney is the Senior Credit and Risk Manager at McCormick, boasting 20 years of progressive experience in the collections industry. Starting his career shortly after college in a role he intended as temporary, Sean has since explored various facets of the industry, from direct collections to team management and risk assessment.

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