Alec Tilley joins the MRS Team as Senior VP of Strategy and Operations

CHERRY HILL, NJ, FEBRUARY 18, 2021 — MRS is pleased to welcome Alec Tilley to the company full time as Senior Vice President of Strategy and Operations. Alec has a long history of success in our industry with over 12 years at ARS and Encore Capital prior to starting his consulting company. Previously, Alec was working with MRS as a consultant to assist with onboarding new clients. Alec will be leading a newly formed team that focuses on analytics, contact management, and letter strategies. Alec’s knowledge and skills pair perfectly with MRS values and vision and the company believes that his transition will be a seamless one.

Chief Operating Officer Jim Beck says, “I am excited to have Alec as part of the team at MRS. Alec brings a wealth of knowledge as well as a ton of experience to the team to help us execute our vision of building  a customer experience that integrates MRS’s cutting edge digital tools with traditional collections to greater financial results.”

Headshot of Alec Tilley

Tilley says, “I’m happy to join the growing MRS team that is winning with clients by leveraging industry-leading digital contact center solutions to provide customers options to communicate in their preferred channels.”

ABOUT MRS BPO, LLC

Founded in 1991, MRS has served the accounts receivable management needs of companies within the Financial Services, Governmental, Student Loans, Telecommunications, and Utility sectors for 26 years.

MRS BPO, LLC is a full service accounts receivable management firm based in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. The company’s unique combination of experience, technology, and compliance management processes allows them to provide industry-leading debt recovery solutions while enhancing their client’s brand and reputation. For more information on MRS BPO, LLC, visit them online at http://www.mrsbpo.com.

Generation Snapshot: how Millennials handle debt

Raised in the digital age, it’s no surprise that Millennials prefer text and email to traditional phone calls. Now many of them are postgraduates in their 20s, beginning to pay off their student loans.

The newly appointed CFPB director, Rohit Chopra, has in-depth experience with student loans and has witnessed the bad actors that pursue aggressive collection tactics. Along with abusive practices by certain agencies, there is a push to empower borrowers and supply them with more market power. Consequently, it is expected that Chopra’s administration will place stricter regulations regarding student loan collections. 

Picture of millennials holding tablets and phones

MRS always has, and always will, prioritize compliance as part of our strategy and we are confident that our digital solutions will be suitable in the proposed CFPB rule era. This means that we can reach our customers through their preferred communication channels, be it text or email, and  remaining loyal to Chopra’s new regulations. 

“MRS places a great deal of importance on customer experience and as we’ve pushed forward progressively with a digital transformation of our business, we have seen how well received it’s been from the end customers,” said Chris Repholz, MRS’s Chief Customer Officer. “While some people may want to still speak with an agent on the phone, the vast majority of them want digital solutions. We strongly believe that providing the customer with multiple communication options is the key to excellent customer experience. Self service via technology is the future of the collection industry,” he stated.

Millennials have almost 5 billion dollars worth of outstanding student loan debt, in addition to debt on credit cards, auto loans and other services. Oftentimes, they are not in a financial place to be making large monthly payments, but they still want to make an effort to settle their debt. MRS offers many solutions with flexible payment plans to suit the needs of each individual customer. Everyone’s situation differs and our goal is to ease the pressure, not add to it.

Overwhelmingly, Millennials want to pay back their student loans, but struggle to find the place to start. But MRS knows that the best way to get in contact with a Millennial is actually pretty simple: send a text. 

MRS Raises $10,000 for the Food Bank of South Jersey

2020 has certainly been an unconventional year, and in the unprecedented times accompanying COVID-19, the need for empathy and philanthropy cannot be overstated. As such, MRS hasn’t wavered from our charitable commitments. Quite the opposite, this year, the MRS family devoted a great deal of time and effort to fundraise and give back to the community.

The Food Bank of South Jersey exists to provide an immediate solution to the urgent problem of hunger by providing food to people in need, teaching them to eat nutritiously, and helping them to find sustainable ways to improve their lives.

Partnering with The Food Bank of South Jersey throughout the year, MRS employees made monthly donations as part of our ongoing charitable giving initiatives. The hard work and overwhelming support from the MRS employees allowed us to raise funds specifically for FBSJ. In addition to that, we took the money budgeted for holiday gifts and cards and donated that to the food bank as well, bringing our fundraising donation to $10,000. On Wednesday, December 16, 2020, many MRS employees donated time to help distribute food in Camden, NJ. 

MRS has always believed in giving back, hosting and participating in many charitable drives throughout the year. Philanthropy is central to the company’s family values and MRS is deeply moved by our employees’ dedication to lend a hand to those in need.

Chief Personnel Officer Regina Weir said, “The Chief Development Officer at the Food Bank called the MRS Team ‘hunger hero rock stars.’ It was our sincere pleasure to have partnered with this amazing group of volunteers and we look forward to continuing our work with them in 2021!”

On behalf of everyone at MRS, we’d like to wish you a happy and safe holiday season. 2020 brought many unexpected challenges, and MRS is glad to punctuate the year by giving back to the community. We are excited to welcome 2021 and everything that the new year will bring!

Baskets Full of Thanks

Fortunately, pandemics like COVID-19 are usually once in a century occurrences. The last time one of this severity happened, it was the climax of World War I and the Spanish Flu wreaked havoc across the globe. Medicine and scientific knowledge have made massive strides forward and our hope is a vaccine will be available soon for everyone.  

The Collection industry really wasn’t affected by the Spanish Flu because it didn’t exist in 1918, but came into existence not long after, in the middle of the Great Depression. While Collections has come a long way via the use of technology and analytics, one challenge for which it was woefully unprepared was a contagious health crisis that required people to shelter in place and work from their homes. Sure, the technology to work from home has been utilized for decades, but it has seldom been used by collection agencies, using work-from-home agent populations, and many were caught unaware, scrambling for a solution. 

MRS prepared ourselves for this pandemic in the months and weeks before it hit the shores of America. Needing a better remote access solution to connect with our first party clients and an offshore partner, we developed a cloud-based VDI which enabled us to get over 500 collection agents from three call centers to a work-from-home setting in under three weeks! 

The hard part was done by the third week in March. Everyone was home. Now what? 

We found ourselves in uncharted waters. Our management team had never managed a remote workforce. They were accustomed to being 10 feet away from their team and able to evaluate their daily performance and provide remediation with face-to-face coaching. 

Our Operations teams quickly adapted to this new reality and settled into the rhythms of no face-to-face communications, instead relying on cell phone calls, chats and text messages to stay in close communication with their agents and to provide the support they were accustomed to receiving in the call center. 

Throughout the summer, results were positive and we paid a lot of attention to employee morale and made sure that MRS performance recognition traditions and compliant business practices were not interrupted. The formality may have changed a bit, but we still observed them. For example: we hold an annual Gold Club dinner for members of our elite club that recognizes outstanding achievement in collections results. Since that wasn’t possible this year, we created an MRS Gold Club knapsack full of goodies including a $50 Visa gift card and scheduled every member to come to the building throughout the day for a picture, facemasks and all, with Saul and Jeff Freedman, the company’s owners. 

We also created a new tradition born of the pandemic: gift baskets. The occasion: great performance during a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic. 

Kelly Feoli, MRS’s Senior Vice President of Third Party Operations wanted to reward top performers who have been consistent and productive through the first six months of COVID-19, so she created gift baskets full of treats, food, stationery and other gifts and identified the top performer of each client group or unit and told them that they were going to receive an award. The winner’s selected demonstrated high productivity, achieved or exceeded monthly performance goals and maintained exceptional call quality. What she didn’t tell them was that it would be delivered personally by the company’s owners and herself to show their appreciation for their amazing contribution. 

“I love my agents and respect their hard work and dedication and just cannot believe the results they’ve achieved over the past six months,” said Feoli. “When this started, we had no idea how long this was going to last, or if it would even work at all. Here we are, almost a year into this with no end in sight and I’m amazed by the results of this fantastic and very dedicated team.” 

Winning agents were notified and authorized a home delivery but what they did not know, they would be receiving a delivery on a scheduled day and surprised to see Saul and Jeff standing at their front door with a basket in hand. 

“Many of these agents have been with us for over ten years and they’re the key to our long term success. I am so proud of them and the way they’ve responded to this challenge,” said Co-CEO Saul Freedman. “Plus, I miss seeing them!” 

MRS’s operations floor is a vibrant and energetic environment, where senior management often engages with the collection agents and everyone’s name is known, stories about family are shared, sports rivalries are discussed, kidded and exalted, so this past six months has been a unique and challenging time for both management and the agents who are accustomed to seeing their co-workers every day. 

Added Co-CEO Jeff Freedman, “Our agents continue to inspire us. This is a very strange and unprecedented time for our country and for MRS, and our agents adapted to it without missing a beat. We cannot thank them enough for their hard work and dedication.” 

It’s be a crazy year for all of us. Working-from-home with new technology and juggling other responsibilities like child care, homeschool and hybrid education has created a situation that will push the best to their limits. But at MRS, our best agents have traded their stress for a basket full of rewards, because recognition is the keystone of MRS’s culture. We know that this pandemic will eventually fade and we’ll get back to being together in the call center, but when that will happen is unknown. What is known though: MRS values its people and is always looking for new ways to show it. 

Positive Customer & Client Feedback

MRS believes in the power of positive and persistent customer service. Every day, our goal is to go out of our way to help our customers. We especially love it when they share feedback about a positive experience they had with us. Here are some real examples.

“We the public are quick to criticize but slow to praise, so I would like to share with you the excellent customer service I have received from employee [DS]. Each and every time I have spoken with [DS], she is very professional, courteous and knowledgeable, and patient as she LISTENS to the customer. This employee shows empathy for the customer and even asks if there is anything she and MRS can do to assist.

[DS], you have always displayed not only SERVICE, but that customers are a PRIORITY for you and MRS. Best in class!”

-BP, MRS Credit Card Customer

“Having gone through tough times in the past few years, I had owed a debt that I wanted to pay off. MRS BPO actually makes the experience pleasurable. Everyone that I have spoken to in the past couple of months have been nothing but wonderful. Thank you for not making it intimidating and scary!”

-Carole K, MRS Credit Card Customer

“I wish I could remember the name of the person who helped me when I called about my credit card bill, but she was amazing. I called in early July and I was so scared and stressed, but she was kind and understanding and patient with me which was so unexpectedly wonderful. I just really appreciated it! I just fulfilled my last payment and it feels awesome. Thank you.”

-Michaela T., MRS Credit Card Customer

“Good Morning (from the west coast), 

I just wanted to let you know that your debt collector on the behalf of my closed account, Tiece ., was so patient, informative, and kind! She did a great job with walking me through the process of paying off my account. I appreciate good customer service and wanted to let you know that even though she has a hard job, she does wonderfully!” 

-Andrea, MRS Telecom client customer

“I am finally in a position to start paying back my creditors and I really like the way your website is set up.  Its very user friendly and easy to navigate.”

-Sandi C., MRS customer 

Recently, we had an issue with files getting from the processor to you all.  This happened yesterday and we needed your team’s help.  I gotta say, I felt like I was the only client in the world based on the response I got from William, Nina and Jordan. They did an awesome job of working with our processor whom as you know can be challenging.  


I am grateful and wanted to share how MRS showed the true spirit of partnership.  To me, it always means “we will treat your business like it’s ours because it is our business.”  You all did that today. I am impressed.   

Tom G., Operations Leader, Fintech Card Issuer (and MRS client)

“To whom it may regard, 

I wanted to reach out and give positive feedbank on a representative i had the pleasure of talking with today 5/5. I am a nurse working 7 days a week at the moment and have fallen behind on payments. 

I called to see what i had to do/pay to get my vehicle loan current. I spoke with Gianna. She was calm, pleasant, listened to my inquiries and answered each question thoroughly as well as educated me on how to better manage payments in the future. 

With trying times for all of us at the moment of wonder and uncertainity, I wanted to take the time to provide my feedback. Working in the medical field myself, is not always positivity and healing. Complaints seem to come in more than thankfulness and I feel it is my duty to give forth the recognition she deserves.”

Courtney F., auto loan client

“I would like to praise Ms. Alexander’s service. She was very helpful and answered all my questions in the best manner. From the minute she picked up the phone til she hung up, she kept a high standard of respect and had a great tone. I didn’t want her service to go unnoticed.”

Sarim S, telecomm customer

“I’ve tried for weeks to get my dispute setting with {Client}. They said I owed them $46.19 when didn’t owe them anything. Finally, I was able to reach an MRS rep. (David Jones) who explained to me that on February 12, {Client} contacted MRS and said to stop collections. David told me I had a ZERO balance due, which was correct. My beef was with {Client’s} poor billing department but MRS and their fine agent David, gave me the good news . Thanks to MRS for stepping up and helping me.”

Bob M., telecomm customer

MRS promotes Kelly Feoli to Senior Vice President

It is MRS’s pleasure to announce that Kelly Feoli has been promoted to Senior Vice President, overseeing all third party operations. Feoli has demonstrated attention to quality, compliance, and operation detail. Her competitive drive to meet performance metrics while simultaneously providing excellent customer experience will be an asset in exceeding client goals and objectives.

Feoli started as an agent and has continued to grow within the organization due to her ability to demonstrate professional management capabilities, build rapport with all team members, and motivate each unit to achieve and exceed third party clients’ expectations.

Chief Operating Officer, Jim Beck, said, “I am excited to see the impact that Kelly will have in this larger role with all of MRS’s third party clients. Kelly has shown an ability to drive results, increase key agent and portfolio KPIs, and develop her team. She is a large part of the company’s success and I am excited to see her in this role.”

As MRS continues to grow our client base, Feoli will be instrumental in executing our vision of growth and financial profitability. On behalf of the Senior Executive Management team, we look forward to the impact Feoli will have on the entire organization and our clients in this new expanded role.

A Letter to Our Clients: How MRS is Handling the COVID-19 Pandemic

March 23, 2020

Dear Valued MRS Client,

We are all grappling with a crisis that none of us could have imagined just a few short weeks ago.  While I know you are busier than ever, I wanted to take a moment and remind you that we are here to do our part, as best we can, to support you, your organization, and your customers.

Obviously, the safety and security of our employees is paramount and we have been following all of the guidance provided by WHO, the CDC, and other government bodies to keep our staff safe.  In addition, we are working tirelessly to reduce the headcount in our office locations and facilitate, where possible, for our staff to work from home. We have made tremendous progress in this regard and we are confident in our ability to continue to service your customers in this time of crisis with compassion, understanding, and patience.  

Furthermore, we recognize that this situation is fluid and changing rapidly.  While we believe that continued communication with customers is paramount at a time like this, there are others who believe collection activities should cease.  It is with this in mind that we have been preparing contingencies to aid you and your organization. Should MRS, and all other collection companies, be forced to cease outbound collecting efforts, this will no doubt lead to massive layoffs within the industry.  With a dramatically reduced supply of qualified agents at virtually every collection organization, there will be an enormous need to still handle large volumes of inbound customer contacts. 

Most agencies will no longer have the capacity or the ability to aid in handling the volume of communications.  MRS, however, has spent years developing our conversational IVA called ADAM. ADAM can handle an infinite number of calls simultaneously and can aid in a variety of functions.  ADAM can handle everything from dispute, deceased, and bankruptcy notifications to single payment set-ups and payment plans. In addition, ADAM can further be customized to handle a multitude of functions unique to the current circumstances such as an expected flood of customer calls looking to alter, change or defer existing arrangements or respond to customer concerns about their account status.  As we are all in this together, and trying to figure out ways to help each other through this nationwide crisis, this is a tool at your disposal.  

In addition to, and supplementary to ADAM, we recently deployed our new Customer Portal on the web.  The MRS Portal enables customers to self-service a multitude of different functions far beyond what most agencies or their vendors can handle via their older and more static websites.  Customers can visit the MRS Portal directly, or through integration with ADAM, and be redirected there when they prefer engaging on the web rather than via an IVA. 

My point in sharing all of this is that we have both the experience in deploying these strategies and the bandwidth to aid you at this critical time.  It is also worth mentioning that we also offer live chat on the website, so the core MRS team could also engage customers in this capacity as well when they prefer not to call.

If you would like to discuss ways we might be able to help you, please let us know and we can begin working together, in these unique times, to best serve your customers and aid your organization.  

We are hoping you, and your employees, remain safe and as a business partner we are here to help you in any way we can.  

Respectfully,

Jeff Freedman

Co-CEO

MRS BPO LLC

Advancing The Interests of Women in Consumer Finance

It’s no secret that in the past, women have been chronically underrepresented within the financial services sector. The lack of representation perpetuates an ambition gap and creates an imbalance in the industry. The 2019 insideARM Women in Consumer & Commercial Finance Conference recognized these concerns and is actively working to combat them. 

In its second year, the conference attendance tripled and the women present focused on growth, inclusivity, and support. Introducing a conference solely for women within the finance industry allowed attendees to share their experiences and advocate for each other as well as themselves. MRS Director of Payment Processing and Bank Reconciliation Jessica Lovelace said, “One theme that came up often was don’t be afraid to speak up for yourself. I learned that I need to advocate for myself- no one else can do it for me.” 

With an ever increasing female population entering the financial sector, the WCCF Conference couldn’t come at a better time. Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing Misty Carson recognized this trend and her dedication to the advancement of women in the industry was echoed at the conference. “With the recent economic uptick and growth in our industry, the number of women entering the workforce in the financial services sector will continue to grow with the addition of entry level management positions and middle management…It is important for me to mentor and promote the growth and development of women not only at MRS but also within our industry,” she said.

MRS is devoted to evening the scales for gender representation in the industry and recognizes the importance of the WCCF Conference. MRS is a company that is heavily populated with women, with a split of 76% female to 24% male. “Of that 76% female, 17% are in Management Positions, and of that 17% in Management, 77% are in Senior Management Positions. MRS is confident, based on our current employee population, that we exceed the norm regarding female representation in the financial industry spectrum,” says Chief Personnel Officer Regina Weir. 

Lovelace, Carson, and Erin Kerr represented MRS at the WCCF Conference to share their stories as well as listen to others’ experiences. The Conference provided a meeting for women across the country to come together and work towards bettering the industry. Compliance Manager Kerr said, “There is always room to add women’s voices at higher levels. I feel that MRS is actively doing what it takes to make that happen. Their commitment to women in leadership is illustrated by their support of a group of women attending WCCF Conference this year, last year, and in the future.”

Much work has been done, but there is still a way to go. The recent McKinsey Study offered research and insight into women in finance. The statistics present a narrative that MRS, insideARM, and the WCCF Conference attendees are working to combat. Carson said, “As highlighted in a McKinsey Study, women account for over half the entry level positions in Financial Services in North America, however only 1 in 5 positions in the C-suite. The conference focused on several topics to bridge this gap including a session on advocating for yourself and championing diversity and inclusion.”

Women are an important part of the financial industry and MRS understands this. The WCCF Conference fostered important discourse on representation and being agents of change. MRS believes change starts small and takes the steps necessary to lead by example.

MRS Recognized at Toyota Motor North America’s Indirect Procurement Shared Services Awards Ceremony

On October 30, 2019 MRS’s Co-CEO Jeff Freedman, and Chief Customer Officer Chris Repholz attended the awards ceremony, held at Toyota’s corporate headquarters in Plano, TX, where they accepted the award for Professional Services Partnership and Delivery for Collections.

2019 was the first year that professional services were added to the award ceremony, which previously was focused exclusively on the manufacturing side of Toyota’s business.

MRS was recognized for outstanding performance, quality and innovation for our work on pre-chargeoff (first party) and post-chargeoff (third party) collection services.

“We are very proud to be an inaugural winner in these expanded awards at TMNA. Toyota is an amazing partner who enthusiastically collaborates with their suppliers and truly values our perspective. We look forward to being a repeat winner for these prestigious awards,” said Repholz.