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Interview with the CEO of MBA Consult group Viktor Vodenko

This year the company has celebrated its 22nd year anniversary. With what plans and results did you welcome this festivity?

22 years is a lot and at the same time not so much. From one side, we have vast experience in solving the most complex problems in Europe and the CIS, awards from clients for incredible results propels excellent business reputation. On the other hand, we entered the Asian market, where the banking services sector is at the stage of active growth via trial and error. We have to do absolutely exceptional work here not only in recovery, but also in matters of improving the financial literacy of the population, marketing, improving regional legislation and integrating our best practices at a very specific and most attractive region of the world. But, of course, the main result as I’m sure any director of a successful company will tell you, is that we managed to form an amazing team of professionals with whom we can come to any market and win. This is the main result of all our hard work in 22 years.

When you talk about the team, do you mean the top management or specialist of local call centers?

First of all, of course, it’s about our top managers and the head of the call – centers. After all, it is thanks to them that we built a unique system, in which every employee of the call center is in fact an independent manager who is not simply just “sitting by the phone” but really deals with serious issues and solves problems for each individual. This is appreciated by our customers, investors, ordinary people, whom we call every day, and, of course, the team itself is aware of the importance of their work and the impact on the success of the whole company.

And who is a professional in your understanding, in your company?

It’s a combination of business and personal qualities, with which every person always puts himself as the owner of the company and makes decisions based on the business logic of the whole company, and not just his duties and interests. You know, it’s very pleasant to argue with such people, and even more pleasant to lose in such disputes. At this point, you realize that you were not right about something, and at the same time you are always glad that there is such a person on your team. He cares, he is a brilliant specialist and can deliver his ideas to you only because he wants success for all of us. What else can you wish for? I have a unique team.

You entered the Asian market. What was the reason for this step?

Perhaps, we simply had no other choice. Asia is one of the most attractive regions for investing in the history of finance, 4 billion people live in Asia, how can we pass such opportunity? We have been preparing for this step for several years, we came to the market, made our own mistakes on which we learned and now we are confidently striving towards victory.

Do you come to Asia with your European team of managers?

At the first stage, yes. But our goal is to form in each country its unique local team of managers. It is obvious that no one better than the locals know the specifics and the mentality of their country. We share experience, train, correct errors together and continue to invest our full potential in the development of local professionals. We collect, first of all, like-minded people and really invest in them, our employees feel and appreciate and stay with us for many years.

Do I understand correctly that with this approach you leave freedom in decision-making for each top manager locally, and it is not affected by the parent company?

Not really. We certainly want our every office in every country to be extremely profitable, independent, and we could direct all our resources to opening new markets. But in practice, everything is a little different. The specifics of our business still requires a very close interaction of all the company’s structures. Assessing the risks of each new portfolio or integrating complex solutions within the framework of working with clients almost always requires the teamwork of specialists from different countries. And to our clients at meetings we say that they will have access to the best world experience in solving problems with debt portfolios we have to offer. To realize this in practice without close interaction of local offices with the parent company it is practically impossible. That is why this year we made a serious step toward by consolidating all our experience, IT resources, know-how and assets of the company for solving even more complex problems. We have united all local companies under a single MBA Consult brand. We returned to the primordial name, preserving the continuity of generations, and at the same time came to a new corporate style at the threshold of solving global problems of the entire global financial system.

Sounds really ambitious. What ideas have combined your new corporate identity?

It is an idea of global communication, the string theory, watermarks on banknotes, interference of waves, and of course it is just beautiful. In my opinion, we managed to unite new ideas and challenges facing us and the whole world, with the company’s philosophy in the field of business and humanistic values.

What new challenges are you talking about?

We live in an amazing time, the speed of life is very high, like never before in the history of our civilization. We all have become accustomed to the internet, cryptocurrency, smart phones, electric vehicles, robots on production, space tourism; and at the same time to financial crises, trade wars, stock reports with news about the fall of national currencies. Technologies will develop every year, and this cannot be stopped. But in this case, no matter how far our spacecrafts will fly, say to Mars, ordinary people will still want to buy a new home, a car, a phone, open their bakery or get a higher education. For these purposes, most of them will come for a loan to the bank. Our global task is to make this path as comfortable as possible for both the common man and the largest banks.

We all live in debt?

If we talk about most common people, then yes, it’s a fact, one more reality of our time. Life is short. Everyone wants to live here and now, receiving the maximum of what his time gives them. The boom of consumption is just as unstoppable as the development of technology. We see our task in ensuring that the entire world financial system is more flexible and in line with the realities of our time, giving people opportunities to realize their desires, while remaining at the top of the whole system of the world economy.

In what manner, do you believe, can we resolve this task?

We need serious structural, legislative and even mental changes on a global scale. We are ready to go this way and implement these changes in life. For finances, stability and predictability are vitally important. Not to mention properly functioning control leavers for managing the movement of money at every stage of their lives. We need mechanisms to solve the complex problems of large companies, taking into account the specifics of the global economy and the laws of different countries. New cycles of financial chain movements starting from the simple operations of poultry farms to multinational companies. In general, the path is difficult and currently out of reach. But we have already taken the first steps along this path, and there is no turning back. This is one of the most important challenges facing our company in its entire history; the evolution of the world financial system. I have no doubt -the evolution of the financial system is inevitable. And we are sure we already became a key element in this process.


You believe companies from collection services are able to solve such serious problems?

Ok let’s figure it out. What is collections business in general? From your point of view, what do we do?

Call people and say that you need to repay the debt?

And if a person does not have money, and he cannot return it?

I do not know, call again, go to court, write letters to them at work…

These steps will somehow change their financial situation and they will be able to pay back their debt?

Hmm, I guess not.

That’s it. Options are not so optimistic – judicial seizure of property, or a stained credit history and the inability to take another credit when it becomes especially necessary, for example, to purchase housing after the birth of a child. But don’t you think that it does not have to be so?

What exactly?

The system can in fact be much more effective for both the bank and for the debtor, without resorting to such extreme measures, not beneficial for both the borrower and the lender. No one wants courts and arrests. A working system of interaction in the “creditor-borrower” chain is essential. Right laws are needed, competent marketing from the creditors, clear, fair legal system, effective mechanism of communication with the debtor in the early stages and effective problem solving if they occur; the program must work with debtors with a healthy system keeping into account their debt history, the legal framework for the debtor’s credit reputation after they have paid their debt and customer loyalty programs by the bank for law-abiding borrowers. These are just the most obvious steps. In fact, the system can work much more efficiently for all its participants. We devote most of our time and resources to these very topics.

Are you saying that the work of a collection agency can be much broader than a simple debt repayment?

First, a simple repayment of a debt – is massive work of a large number of super-professionals. It too can be done very differently. If you talk to any bank owner, they will tell you how much the results of two different collection agencies can differ. Therefore, our main priority is, first of all, the solution of current problems of clients with overdue debts. Maximum effectivity, fast and with concern for the client’s reputation in the eyes of its borrowers.
Well, and secondly, yes, the collection agency can solve a much more serious and fundamental range of issues. And this is our way. Very soon you will learn about all the revolutionary solutions that we offer to the market.

Rebranding was also linked to these future changes?

Perhaps, yes. New challenges and opportunities of the market demanded from us quality new solutions, both in the field of resource consolidation and the company’s visual perception. The new corporate style is much closer to our values, rather better embodies our philosophy, mission and the idea of ​​global synergy. We are only at the beginning of our journey. There is plenty of work to be done and exactly now new ideas are in need of implementation.

And what are your immediate plans for this new journey?

To complete the consolidation of the company, to strengthen the leading positions in the Asian markets, to achieve new heights in the effectiveness of solving current problems, to make a brand of MBA Consult most attractive not only for clients and investors, but also for debtors, to offer investors projects that would pleasantly surprise even the most experienced of them, and integrate all those products that we have been preparing for the last 2 years. And, of course, the development process cannot be stopped, so we are always preparing platforms for entering new markets. However, you will see it all yourself soon enough.

Thank you for an interesting conversation. I will follow the news.

Thank you, too. I also want to thank our entire team. Colleagues, we have been together a long way. But the road ahead is even longer. Thank you for being one team all this time, we solved many problems together and made many plans, packed with bumps along the way and celebrated victories. All the successes of our company would have been impossible without you. I’m glad that one day our paths crossed and since then we have been walking together.


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