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EOS Annual Report 2019/20

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    • Only 33 percent of Europeans trust companies to handle their digital data properly; in the USA as few as one in four consumers
    • Banks and online payment providers enjoy the greatest degree of trust, while telecommunications companies, online retailers, social networks and messaging services rank lower on the trust scale

    Hamburg, October 27, 2020 – The responsible handling of the valuable commodity “digital data” has become more important than ever. Because data like this helps companies to better understand their customers and their preferences and to respond to market trends. However, the willingness of consumers to disclose their data is crucially dependent on trust. In this respect, companies have not fared particularly well until now, with only 33 percent of Europeans trusting companies to handle their digital data. US citizens are even more distrustful (23 percent), while Russians are somewhat less skeptical (41 percent). These are some of the findings from a recent representative survey entitled “What’s the value of data?” conducted by financial services provider and investor EOS in 17 countries. The reasons for this skepticism result in part from bad experiences with disclosing data. Every fourth or fifth consumer has at some point had a negative experience online in this regard.

    Significant differences in level of trust depending on sector and type of data

    There are clear differences between sectors: Banks and financial services providers enjoy the greatest level of trust for their handling of customer data (Europe: 54 percent, USA: 56 percent, Russia: 54 percent), although not unconditionally across all countries. Energy utilities and insurance companies also come off relatively well (average value across all countries 39 percent). However, there is a lack of trust when it comes to telecommunications companies (28 percent on average), online retailers (21 percent on average) and social networks and messaging services (14 percent on average). That people still provide their data to the latter (contact information, movement data, purchasing and surfing behavior) can be explained by the fact that users regard this data as less sensitive. Universally, financial details are regarded as being the most worthy of protection.

    EOS data survey: What’s the value of data?

    Data minimization and service quality create trust

    Financial service providers in particular can therefore benefit from the higher level of trust they enjoy when it comes to the use of data. However, they need to create a balance between optimizing processes through as much data as possible and avoiding unnecessary requests for data. This is a challenge that EOS is facing as well. The debt collection service provider, which commissioned the survey, employs around 60 people worldwide in the data privacy and information security fields. “To build trust among our customers and consumers, we emphasize data minimization at EOS even when initially setting up projects. Instead of ‘collecting data for data's sake’, we pursue a data minimization approach and collect data only for specific purposes,” explains Stephan Bovermann, Senior Group Privacy Officer at EOS Group. He works with his colleagues to ensure data privacy in all 26 countries where EOS operates worldwide. From his perspective, however, handling data responsibly is just one way of establishing trust. “Naturally, high quality products and an excellent level of service are just as important for creating trust in a company as its careful handling of the data entrusted to it,” says Bovermann.

    Stephan Bovermann, Senior Group Privacy Officer EOS Group
    EOS data survey: What’s the value of data?
    Esther van Oirsouw, Head of Portals Integration EOS Technology Solutions

    Data minimization through self-service digital portals

    One example of the data minimization approach are the EOS service portals which defaulting payers can use to settle their outstanding debts. These portals only collect the data that is necessary for the payment process. This creates trust, says Esther van Oirsouw, Head of Portals & Integration at EOS Technology Solutions: “Our online portals allow defaulting payers simple and self-determined access to their outstanding debt. After entering the individual case number, they can complete payment with just a few clicks. And for the majority of payment methods offered, no personal data has to be provided. This makes the obstacles to payment extremely low, because we know from experience that the more self-determination and flexibility we create, the better the payment rate and the higher the trust in us.”

    Action needed across all national borders

    As the survey shows, gaining and building trust is still a major work in progress for many companies. In all countries, mistrust and skepticism on the part of consumers is on a similar scale. But one thing that is clear is that the digital environment is a leveler. If you want to be part of the digital universe you will meet the same global players and be subject to their rules in all countries. Many respondents felt that they often didn’t have a choice when it came to disclosing their data. Around two-thirds of Europeans (66 percent) and Americans (58 percent) and four out of five Russian consumers complain that they are not even able to use all the features of a lot of online services without disclosing their data. In addition, around 60 percent do not have enough information about how to prevent or limit the disclosure of their data.

    About the representative EOS survey “What's the value of data?” 2020

    The EOS survey, which was conducted in partnership with market research institute Kantar in the spring of 2020, is representative of the (online) population over the age of 18 in the 17 countries polled. A random sample of 1,000 respondents from each of the countries Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, the UK and the USA, and 300 respondents from North Macedonia, was used for the analysis. The survey participants answered questions on their personal handling and disclosure of data, their trust in companies and their willingness to sell data for compensation.

    You can find more information on the survey here.

    About EOS Group

    The EOS Group is one of the leading technology-driven financial investors and an expert in the processing of outstanding receivables. The company's core business is the purchase of unsecured and secured debt portfolios. With over 40 years of experience, EOS offers some 20,000 customers in 26 countries around the world smart services for all their receivables management needs. Its key target sectors are banking, utilities, real estate and e-commerce. EOS employs more than 7,500 people and is part of the Otto Group.

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    • Great opportunity for companies: More than a third of consumers in favor of “compensation for data”
    • Majority willing to sell at least one item of personal information to a trustworthy company
    • Willingness to disclose data even exceeds demand in some cases

    Hamburg, October 5, 2020 – In today's digital environment, data like bank account number, date of birth, address, health details or purchasing preferences have become a key economic asset. This is why the handling of data and its value, and the reasons why companies are keen to make use of it, are increasingly a topic of public debate. This has also been validated by a recent representative survey entitled “What’s the value of data?” conducted in 17 countries by financial services provider and investor EOS. The survey revealed that more than 60 percent of consumers in Europe and the USA and as many as 70 percent in Russia believe that companies should compensate customers for the use of their data. More than a third of respondents, and in Russia as many as half, said they were willing to provide certain data in return for compensation.

    Trust and financial rewards the drivers for increased disclosure of data

    For people to be prepared to disclose personal data, it is crucial for them to trust a company or organization to handle their data responsibly and adhere to the relevant statutory regulations. The EOS survey showed that a clear majority of consumers would sell at least one item of personal data for money to a trustworthy company (Europe: 82 percent, USA: 75 percent, Russia: 90 percent). People are least concerned about disclosing purchasing decisions and preferences for products and brands, but consider account or credit card details, or insights into their bank account, to be especially worthy of protection. When asked about their specific compensation preferences, more than half of the respondents found material rewards and discounts particularly attractive, whereas in all regions there was less demand for services as compensation, with only around 20% in favor of this option.

    EOS data survey: What’s the value of data?

    Data analysis as the basis for modern receivables management

    A look at receivables management shows that it is worthwhile for companies to provide incentives to consumers to disclose their data. Because the better the data available about the purchaser of a product or service, the quicker they can be reached in the event of a payment default. And, the more empirical data from similar receivables cases is already available, the better the proposed installment plan will match the customer’s financial situation and the more likely the customer will comply with it as a result. This is why its Center of Analytics plays a key role at receivables management service provider EOS. With the help of machine learning algorithms, its central platform analyses thousands of debt collection cases to determine the best processing steps to be taken next.

    Willingness to disclose data even exceeds demand in some cases

    The EOS survey revealed that one in five consumers had already been offered compensation to disclose certain details. In Europe this was most common in Spain and Romania, where as many as one in four consumers had received such an offer. In some cases, however, the willingness of consumers to disclose data actually exceeds the number of offers of compensation by companies. “I think there are still significant opportunities and unexploited potential here,” stresses Joachim Göller.

    “Already, installment plans are produced on the basis of intelligent data analysis in a lot of the countries where EOS operates,” explains Joachim Göller, Head of the Center of Analytics. “It is in the interest of all parties to conclude a collection case as soon as possible to save costs on both sides. And this is where data can help. The sooner the contact is established and the better the chances of the payment agreement being met, the more likely it is for the creditor to get their money and the consumer to become debt-free. So it can absolutely be in the interests of the defaulting payer to disclose data.”

    “Already, installment plans are produced on the basis of intelligent data analysis in a lot of the countries where EOS operates,” explains Joachim Göller, Head of the Center of Analytics. “It is in the interest of all parties to conclude a collection case as soon as possible to save costs on both sides. And this is where data can help. The sooner the contact is established and the better the chances of the payment agreement being met, the more likely it is for the creditor to get their money and the consumer to become debt-free. So it can absolutely be in the interests of the defaulting payer to disclose data.”

    Joachim Göller, Head of the Center of Analytics at EOS, sees great potential in data analysis.
    Joachim Göller, Head of the Center of Analytics
    EOS data survey: What’s the value of data?

    About the representative EOS survey “What's the value of data?” 2020

    The EOS survey, which was conducted in partnership with market research institute Kantar in the spring of 2020, is representative of the (online) population over the age of 18 in the 17 countries polled. A random sample of 1,000 respondents from each of the countries Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, the UK and the USA, and 300 respondents from North Macedonia, was used for the analysis. The survey participants answered questions on their personal handling and disclosure of data, their trust in companies, and their willingness to sell data for compensation.

    You can find more information on the survey here.

    About EOS Group

    The EOS Group is one of the leading technology-driven financial investors and an expert in the processing of outstanding receivables. The company's core business is the purchase of unsecured and secured debt portfolios. With over 40 years of experience, EOS offers some 20,000 customers in 26 countries around the world smart services for all their receivables management needs. Its key target sectors are banking, utilities, real estate and e-commerce. EOS employs more than 7,500 people and is part of the Otto Group.

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  • Berlin, September 18, 2020 – The EOS Group will provide the President of the German Association of Debt Collection Companies (BDIU) for another four years. Kirsten Pedd, Chief Compliance Officer and Head of Public Affairs for the international financial services provider, was unanimously confirmed in office yesterday by the association's members. Pedd, who has been representing EOS in the BDIU for almost 20 years, was the first woman appointed to lead the association in 2016.

    “I am very pleased that the members of the BDIU have given me their vote of confidence by re-electing me,” says Pedd. “I am especially proud that we were able to adopt our Code of Conduct, which shows that responsibility and fairness are not just empty words for us but a real commitment.”

    The Code of Conduct unanimously adopted at the AGM covers the entire life cycle of a receivable, from acceptance of the collection order and communication with defaulting payers to other obligations related to the processing of payments and the handling of complaints and queries. Kirsten Pedd was the driving force behind its development.

    Profile of Kirsten Pedd, Chief Compliance Officer and Head of Public Affairs
    Kirsten Pedd, Chief Compliance Officer & Head of Public Affairs, EOS Group

    About EOS Group

    The EOS Group is one of the leading technology-driven financial investors and an expert in the processing of outstanding receivables. The company's core business is the purchase of unsecured and secured debt portfolios. With over 40 years of experience, EOS offers some 20,000 customers in 26 countries around the world smart services for all their receivables management needs. Its key target sectors are banking, utilities, real estate and e-commerce. EOS employs more than 7,500 people and is part of the Otto Group.

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    • Increase in revenue due to strong business performance in Eastern Europe
    • Again, a high level of investment in secured and unsecured receivables
    • Strong push towards digitalization

    Hamburg, Germany, July 15, 2020 – By consistently following its strategic direction as a technology-driven debt collection provider and financial investor, the EOS Group headquartered in Hamburg has again increased its revenue in the 2019/20 financial year. With a 4.8% increase in revenue to EUR 853.1 million, the previous year recorded very positive results. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) grew to EUR 343.4 million.

    Regional strengths, push for digitalization and high level of investment key success factors

    The international provider of tailored financial services, which is part of the Otto Group, can largely attribute its increase in earnings to a substantial 31.3% increase in revenue in Eastern Europe. Other important success factors include the strong push towards digitalization and the cultural development of the EOS Group combined with the consistently high level of investment of EUR 651.3 million in secured and unsecured receivables and real estate.

    “I feel very proud as I look back at the last financial year. It is the most successful year in the history of the EOS Group,” says Klaus Engberding, CEO of the EOS Group. “Above all, I would like to single out the tremendous progress we have made in digitalization, with EUR 25 million invested in expanding our core IT systems, and the focus on our cultural transformation process. The use of artificial intelligence and advanced data analyses will help boost innovation in our industry. And in uncertain times like in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, in particular, reliable processes, highly professional receivables management and sustainable financing are more important than ever for companies. We can offer all of this to our customers and we expect successful growth for our business in the coming year too.”

    Distribution of consolidated revenue of EOS Group in fiscal 2019/20 among global partner companies
    Revenue of the EOS Group in the various regions for fiscal 2019/20

    Germany remains most important EOS market

    Germany is again the strongest performing region in the EOS Group, with a 35.6% share of the consolidated revenue. The decline compared to the previous year to EUR 303.3 million resulted primarily from the sale of EOS Health Honorarmanagement AG. Even though fewer significant debt packages were offered on the highly competitive German market, EOS won crucial revolving portfolios and confirmed its leading position on account of its many years of experience and good reputation. Totaling EUR 236.0 million, the level of investment exceeded that of the previous year – particularly in the area of unsecured receivables.

    “The success in Germany is primarily due to our operational excellence and intense sales activities in close proximity to our customers. Together with numerous digitalization initiatives and our outstanding reputation – also with respect to data protection – this makes us a reliable and attractive partner for our customers,” says Andreas Kropp, Member of the EOS Group’s Board of Directors and responsible for the German market. “To secure this position and our future viability, we are focusing our investments on our most important areas: employees, culture and technology.”

    More information on the EOS financial year 2019/20 in Germany.

    Substantial revenue increase in Eastern Europe leads to record high

    With a EUR 63.6 million increase in revenue compared with the previous year to EUR 266.7 million in the region of Eastern Europe, EOS is thrilled to achieve a record high. This can be largely attributed to much higher revenues from receivables purchases, especially in Russia and Poland, but Croatia, Hungary, Serbia and Bulgaria also made significant gains in revenue. Other major drivers included the development of collection software “Kollecto +” and the resulting increased efficiency in the processing of receivables. In the last financial year, EOS in Eastern Europe also carried out significant transactions in non-performing loans (NPL). The highest NPL investments were made in Poland, Croatia, Russia and Hungary. In addition, with an NPL portfolio comprising EUR 350 million, Bulgaria made the largest secured debt purchase on the Bulgarian market to date.

    “Our strong local expertise, our approach to dealing fairly with defaulting payers and our cooperation with customers, often across borders, are all paying off,” explains Marwin Ramcke, Member of the EOS Group’s Board of Directors and responsible for Eastern Europe. “As a result, we gained important momentum in secured and unsecured debt collection and could share knowledge and expertise within the Group. We also made substantial investments in secured debt portfolios in Slovenia and Serbia, and are now in a position to process secured and unsecured receivables in all the Eastern European countries in the best possible way,” says Ramcke.

    More information on the EOS financial year 2019/20 in Eastern Europe.

    Stable business performance in Western Europe

    In Western Europe, the very pleasing operational business performance in Belgium, France and Austria resulted in a 5% overall increase in revenue, exceeding the previous year’s result. Therefore, the regional EOS companies again held their ground as the leading provider for debt purchasing. Despite persistently tough market conditions, France stood out and made significantly larger investments in both portfolios secured by real estate and unsecured portfolios. Belgium and Spain also increased their investment activities. The nominal value of a package of 47,000 receivables that EOS Aremas in Belgium purchased from bpost bank, for example, is EUR 36 million.

    “The EOS Group is very well positioned in Western Europe. Thanks to our expertise and many years of experience, especially in banking and telecommunications, we are a preferred strategic partner for our customers,” comments Dr. Andreas Witzig, Member of the EOS Group’s Board of Directors and responsible for the Western European and North American regions. “We are making huge investments in big data and analytics and are helping to resolve problems relating to NPLs. Despite the coronavirus crisis, which has hit France and Spain particularly hard, we remain a reliable partner in the field of fiduciary services and debt purchasing,” confirms Witzig.

    More information on the EOS financial year 2019/20 in Western Europe.

    Growing investments in North America

    With a five percent increase in revenue of EUR 2.6 million, the North American region was slightly above the previous year’s result. In particular, the strategic focus on debt purchasing, in which EOS invested a total of EUR 28.8 million, almost EUR 4 million more than the previous year, paid off in the USA. In Canada, revenue was markedly above the 2018/19 financial year and thus well above target. The focus on fiduciary services, in particular, was developed further.

    “The North American market is a challenging environment for the EOS Group, but Canada is developing very satisfactorily,” comments Dr. Andreas Witzig, Member of the EOS Group’s Board of Directors and responsible for the Western European and North American regions. “We have become one of the market leaders in fiduciary collection there in recent years and have clearly exceeded the expectations for revenue and earnings for 2019/20. Along with our Canadian team, we are very proud of this. In the US, our increased investment in purchase of receivables is showing positive trends. We intend to continue this focus in the current financial year,” adds Witzig.

    About EOS Group

    The EOS Group is one of the leading technology-driven financial investors and an expert in the processing of outstanding receivables. The company's core business is the purchase of unsecured and secured debt portfolios. With over 40 years of experience, EOS offers some 20,000 customers in 26 countries around the world smart services for all their receivables management needs. Its key target sectors are banking, utilities, real estate and e-commerce. EOS employs more than 7,500 people and is part of the Otto Group.

    For more information on EOS Group, please go to www.eos-solutions.com

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  • Euler Hermes Rating, one of Europe’s leading rating agencies, has once again given the credit standing of EOS Holding an A rating. For the 16th time in a row, EOS impressed the auditors with their very high, stable level of earnings and excellent capital structure. The rating assessment emphasized their many years of experience in the valuation, acquisition and recovery of non-performing receivables, their market leadership in Germany and strong position in the European market, in particular.

    This builds confidence: Despite the coronavirus crisis, Euler Hermes rates the financial risk of EOS as low. Although there may be a decline in revenue and earnings in the short to medium term, the auditors again expect a good to very good level of earnings in the long term.

    Sustainable investments on a substantial scale

    In recent years, EOS has systematically stepped up its activities as a financial investor and has established itself as a market leader in the purchase of debt packages in some countries. In the 2019/20 financial year, the company invested EUR 651.3 million in unsecured and secured receivables and real estate.

    "We want to make substantial, sustainable investments in receivables packages in the coming years too," points out Justus Hecking-Veltman, Chief Financial Officer of the EOS Group. "In this context, spreading our risk over several countries is very important. Nevertheless, we do not win every portfolio with our pricing models. In certain markets, we go through phases in which we do not succeed for a long period of time. Nevertheless, we are sticking firmly to the script, because this is what makes us a stable, soundly operating and reliable company, today and in the future."

     

    About EOS Group

    The EOS Group is one of the leading technology-driven financial investors and an expert in the processing of outstanding receivables. The company's core business is the purchase of unsecured and secured debt portfolios. With over 40 years of experience, EOS offers some 20,000 customers in 26 countries around the world smart services for all their receivables management needs. Its key target sectors are banking, utilities, real estate and e-commerce. EOS employs more than 7,500 people and is part of the Otto Group.

    Further related articles and expert opinions on key topics

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    • EOS survey shows: receivables managers fear job losses due to AI
    • For one in three companies, AI is a trending issue that is overrated
    • Lack of trust in artificial intelligence across Europe

    Hamburg, November 5, 2019 – European companies are skeptical of artificial intelligence (AI). This is one of the insights from the representative survey “European Payment Practices” 2019 conducted by research institute Kantar on behalf of financial services provider EOS. It found that almost half of the financial executives polled believe that AI is a threat to jobs. Confidence in self-learning intelligent systems is low: only one in five companies can imagine relying wholly on artificial intelligence in receivables management. The survey polled 3,400 companies in 17 European countries.

    Information the key to countering skepticism about AI

    “As the survey shows, there is widespread skepticism in European companies towards the use of artificial intelligence. The only way to counter this is through awareness-raising, because those who immediately associate AI with the battle between man and machine often lack the necessary background information,” stresses Joachim Göller, Head of EOS Group’s Center of Analytics. Göller and his team are working on AI solutions that support EOS with receivables management. “My experience is that the more our colleagues engage with the topic the more likely it is that their prejudices diminish. Because when you use AI tools in your day-to-day work it quickly becomes apparent that they help you do your own job and are not a threat to it.”

    Western Europeans are somewhat more optimistic about the future

    Trepidation about AI is also reflected in the fact that only 30 percent of the financial executives polled assume that artificial intelligence will be a trending issue in the next two years, while 36 percent consider it “completely overrated”. As the EOS survey shows, Eastern European companies are on the whole more skeptical than their Western European counterparts. For example, only 17 percent of respondents in Eastern Europe can imagine relying completely on AI, compared with 22 percent in Western Europe. Anxiety about job losses is also greater in Eastern Europe, where 49 percent think AI is a threat to jobs, a concern shared by 43 percent in Western Europe. Incidentally, the greatest optimism about AI is found in Denmark, where just under a third of companies (the highest figure in Europe) can imagine relying completely on artificial intelligence in the future.

    Hopes for lower error rates

    Even if the companies from Europe that responded to the survey are overwhelmingly skeptical, some do see the potential offered by AI solutions. For example, a quarter see self-learning systems as a necessary component of receivables management. And 30 percent of financial executives assume that AI will “drastically reduce” error rates.

    In Europe there is a lack of trust in artificial intelligence

    “I can well imagine relying completely on artificial intelligence.”

    19%

    “I can’t wait to work with artificial intelligence in receivables management.”

    18%

    “The use of artificial intelligence in receivables management puts jobs at risk.”

    47%

    “Artificial intelligence will be a trending issue in receivables management in the next two years.”

    30%

    “Artificial intelligence is just a buzzword and is completely overrated.”

    36%


    Please find further information in our EOS newsroom.

    About the EOS Survey “European Payment Practices” 2019

    In partnership with independent market research institute Kantar, EOS conducted phone interviews with 3,400 companies in 17 European countries to ask them about the prevailing payment practices in their respective locations. In the spring of 2019, 200 companies with an annual turnover of more than EUR 5 million in each of the countries Belgium, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Croatia, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, and the UK answered questions about their own payment experiences and current issues relating to risk and receivables management. The annual survey has now been conducted by EOS no less than 12 times.

    About EOS Group

    EOS Group is a leading international provider of customized financial services. As a specialist in the evaluation and processing of receivables, EOS deploys new technologies to offer its some 20,000 customers in 26 countries financial security through smart services. The company’s core business is the purchase of unsecured and secured debt portfolios. Working within an international network of partner companies, EOS Group has a workforce of more than 7,500 and over 60 subsidiaries, so it can access resources in more than 180 countries. Its key target sectors are banking, utilities, real estate and e-commerce. EOS is part of Otto Group.

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    • Only 49 percent of companies rate their degree of digitalization as high or very high
    • Just 17 percent already have a fully digitalized dunning system
    • 55 percent have hardly or only partially digitalized their dunning processes

    Hamburg, October 23, 2019 – The digital transformation of European industry is currently a picture of two halves: Whereas half of companies give themselves high marks, the other half is only getting an average score for digitalization compared with others in the sector, or may even regard itself as having a below-average level of digitalization. A mere 14 percent of those polled state that their own company has a very high degree of digitalization, while another 35 percent rate their progress as high. These are some of the insights from the representative survey “European Payment Practices” 2019, which polled 3,400 companies in 17 European countries.

    Digital dunning systems: majority of companies in a poor position

    As the survey shows, the majority of European companies (55 percent) still need to catch up when it comes to digitalizing their dunning processes. 38 percent of firms have only partially digitalized their dunning systems, while 17 percent have hardly done anything at all about digitalizing these processes.

     

    Europe

    Fully digital dunning system

    17%

    Dunning system largely digital

    24%

    Dunning system semi digital

    38%

    Hardly digitalized at all

    17%

    The digitalization process necessitates a substantial financial investment

    “As the figures show, more than half of the European companies polled have room for improvement in respect of their digital dunning systems. There is an acute need for action here to reduce payment defaults,” stresses Justus Hecking-Veltman, Chief Financial Officer of EOS Group. “A manual, analog dunning system is not just susceptible to errors but generally does not reach the customer on what is the most suitable communication channel for them at the best possible time.”

    The financial expert sees the main reason for the slow pace of digitalization as being the significant investment needed to convert dunning processes. “The introduction of digital tools and processes calls for an appropriate mindset as well as substantial financial resources,” says Hecking-Veltman. “Not every company can afford it or wants to. At EOS for example, we invested around EUR 10 million in the last fiscal year alone in the digital upgrade of our core collection systems.”

    Please find further information in our EOS newsroom.

    About the EOS Survey “European Payment Practices” 2019

    In partnership with independent market research institute Kantar, EOS conducted phone interviews with 3,400 companies in 17 European countries to ask them about the prevailing payment practices in their respective locations. In the spring of 2019, 200 companies with an annual turnover of more than EUR 5 million in each of the countries Belgium, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Croatia, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, and the UK answered questions about their own payment experiences and current issues relating to risk and receivables management. The annual survey has now been conducted by EOS no less than 12 times.

    About EOS Group

    EOS Group is a leading international provider of customized financial services. As a specialist in the evaluation and processing of receivables, EOS deploys new technologies to offer its some 20,000 customers in 26 countries financial security through smart services. The company’s core business is the purchase of unsecured and secured debt portfolios. Working within an international network of partner companies, EOS Group has a workforce of more than 7,500 and over 60 subsidiaries, so it can access resources in more than 180 countries. Its key target sectors are banking, utilities, real estate and e-commerce. EOS is part of Otto Group.

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    • Financial executives across Europe see cyber security and data protection as major trends in the next two years
    • Just 28 percent are already working on issues of cyber security in receivables management
    • Western Europeans more active in dealing with data protection than Eastern Europeans

    Hamburg, September 24, 2019 – If you ask major European companies about the trends in receivables management in the next two years, most will cite security issues, regardless of their country. 52 percent attach great importance to data protection, and 49 percent to cyber security. This was one of the insights from the survey “European Payment Practices” 2019, which polled 3,400 companies in 17 European countries on behalf of financial services provider EOS. Astonishingly, although cyber security is seen as a trending issue in receivables management, just 28 percent of the European companies taking part in the survey have taken any action in this area. In Western Europe, every third company is actively addressing this issue (33 percent), while in Eastern Europe it’s only one in four (25 percent). Companies are doing a little better at improving data protection. Nevertheless, despite the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which entered into force in 2018, only 67 percent of Western European and 55 percent of Eastern European companies are actively addressing this issue.

    Risk of loss of revenue due to cyber attacks

    “The survey shows that the question of cyber security is still being neglected by many financial executives,” says Gunnar Woitack, Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) at EOS Group. “This is negligent and can lead to significant economic losses. There is a massive need for investment in this area.” A study by management consultancy Accenture revealed that USD 5.2 trillion in revenue could be lost to companies worldwide in the next five years as a result of cyber attacks.

    Planned hacker attacks boost cyber security

    To ensure the greatest possible level of data security at the more than 60 EOS companies in 26 countries, Woitack regularly engages the services of specialized hackers from outside the company who scan the virtual defenses of EOS for breaches. “Naturally it is painful in that first moment when the outside professionals manage to overcome our defenses in what are known as penetration tests,” he admits. “But this is the only way to reveal our potential vulnerabilities and close them before an actual data theft can occur.”

    The major trends in receivables management in the next 2 years are …

      Western Europe Eastern Europe Total

    Measures to improve data protection

    51% 52% 52%

    ... Cyber security

    52% 47% 49%

    Trending measures already being implemented …

      Western Europe Eastern Europe Total

    Measures to improve data protection

    67% 55% 60%

    ... Cyber security

    33% 25% 28%


    Please find further information in our EOS newsroom.

    About the EOS Survey “European Payment Practices” 2019

    In partnership with independent market research institute Kantar, EOS conducted phone interviews with 3,400 companies in 17 European countries to ask them about the prevailing payment practices in their respective locations. In the spring of 2019, 200 companies with an annual turnover of more than EUR 5 million in each of the countries Belgium, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Croatia, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, and the UK answered questions about their own payment experiences and current issues relating to risk and receivables management. The annual survey has now been conducted by EOS no less than 12 times.

    About EOS Group

    EOS Group is a leading international provider of customized financial services. As a specialist in the evaluation and processing of receivables, EOS deploys new technologies to offer its some 20,000 customers in 26 countries financial security through smart services. The company’s core business is the purchase of unsecured and secured debt portfolios. Working within an international network of partner companies, EOS Group has a workforce of more than 7,500 and over 60 subsidiaries, so it can access resources in more than 180 countries. Its key target sectors are banking, utilities, real estate and e-commerce. EOS is part of Otto Group.

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    • Just 28 percent of European companies offer their customers digital payment methods
    • On average, four different payment options are offered
    • Mobile payment is gaining ground, but cryptocurrencies are rarely accepted

    Hamburg, September 18, 2019 – In Europe, digital payment methods continue to play a minor role, with just 28 percent of companies offering their customers digital payment options, down slightly on the previous year (2018: 29 percent). Whereas in Western Europe just under a third (32 percent) offer their customers this option, only around a quarter of companies in Eastern Europe do so (26 percent). Just 23 percent of European companies offer online transfers via third-party providers, while the availability of mobile payment is seven percent and rising (up from five percent in 2018). Cryptocurrencies continue to be a niche phenomenon and are rarely accepted as a means of payment. On average, customers are only offered four different payment methods. The survey commissioned on behalf of financial services provider EOS polled 3,400 companies in 17 European countries.

    Across Europe, conventional payment methods dominate

    The most popular payment method in Europe is still the traditional bank transfer, which is offered by 81 percent of all companies. This is followed by payment on account (69 percent) and advance payment (50 percent). “As our survey shows, European companies are still lagging far behind when it comes to using digital payment methods,” says Klaus Engberding, CEO of the EOS Group. “In a digitalized environment it will not suffice in the long term to rely solely on traditional payment methods. Companies should gear themselves systematically to customer needs and increase the number of payment options possible so as not to miss the boat. At EOS we also regularly check which payment methods are best suited to which country, so that defaulting payers can settle their debts in a way that is convenient for them.” EOS Group is represented in 26 countries worldwide.

    Payment methods offered in Europe:

      2019 2018
    Traditional payment methods 100% 100%
    Bank transfer 81% 82%
    Payment on account 69% 64%
    Payment in advance 50% 52%
    Cash payment/payment on collection 42% 39%
    Direct debit 38% 29%
    Credit card 37% 32%
    Payment in installments/financing 31% 33%
    Debit card 28% 26%
     
    Digital Payment methods 28% 29%
    Online transfers via third party providers 23% 23%
    Mobile payment 7% 5%
    e-Wallets 4% 5%
    Cryptocurrencies 1% 1%

    “Please state which of the following payment methods you currently offer your 
    customers for settling their bills.” / Multiple responses possible.

    Please find further information in our EOS newsroom.

    About the EOS Survey “European Payment Practices” 2019

    In partnership with independent market research institute Kantar, EOS conducted phone interviews with 3,400 companies in 17 European countries to ask them about the prevailing payment practices in their respective locations. In the spring of 2019, 200 companies with an annual turnover of more than EUR 5 million in each of the countries Belgium, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Croatia, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, and the UK answered questions about their own payment experiences and current issues relating to risk and receivables management. The annual survey has now been conducted by EOS no less than 12 times.

    About EOS Group

    EOS Group is a leading international provider of customized financial services. As a specialist in the evaluation and processing of receivables, EOS deploys new technologies to offer its some 20,000 customers in 26 countries financial security through smart services. The company’s core business is the purchase of unsecured and secured debt portfolios. Working within an international network of partner companies, EOS Group has a workforce of more than 7,500 and over 60 subsidiaries, so it can access resources in more than 180 countries. Its key target sectors are banking, utilities, real estate and e-commerce. EOS is part of Otto Group.

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    • Payment practices continue to improve, with 81 percent of all invoices being paid on time
    • But future outlook more pessimistic than of late
    • Consumers more reliable payers than business customers

    Hamburg, September 9, 2019 – Payment practices in Europe have continued to improve in both the B2C and B2B segments, with 81 percent of all invoices currently being paid on time. Five years ago it was just 75 percent. In Eastern Europe, four out of five payments arrive on time (80 percent); in Western Europe it’s as much as 83 percent. Punctual payment is especially high in Russia, where 89 percent of all receivables are paid on time, followed by Germany (86 percent) and Denmark (85 percent). In Europe, Slovakia (76 percent), Bulgaria and Greece (each 77 percent) are bringing up the rear for punctuality. The representative survey “European Payment Practices” 2019, conducted on behalf of financial services provider EOS, polled 3,400 companies in 17 European countries.

    The outlook is gloomy – is the tide about to turn for payment practices?

    Despite the ongoing positive trend in payment practices, European companies are meanwhile looking skeptically to the future. Only 22 percent expect a significant improvement in payment practices in the next two years; in 2018 the figure was 24 percent. On the other hand, 15 percent of those polled expect things to get worse; that’s an increase of two percent compared with the previous year. In Western Europe, companies from Germany and the UK are particularly negative about the future. In Eastern Europe, it is primarily companies from Russia and Slovenia that assume an adverse trend.

    “The survey confirms what many current economic forecasts are also showing: the mood in the European economy is no longer as optimistic as it has been in recent years,” says Klaus Engberding, CEO of the EOS Group. “In the UK, a possible no-deal Brexit is dampening expectations, and in Germany the negative economic outlook in particular is having an impact on morale. If global trade disputes are further exacerbated, a decline in payment levels in Europe can be expected as early as next year.”

    Five-year trend: payment terms in Europe were reduced and payment practices improved ...

      2019 2014
    Average payment term 33 days 37 days
    Receivables paid on time 81% 75%
    Receivables paid late or unrecoverable 19% 25%

     

    … but how long will the trend continue?

      2019 2018

    “Payment practices will generally/significantly improve in the next two years”

    22% 24%

    “Payment practices will generally/significantly deteriorate in the next two years.”

    15% 13%

     

    Majority still dispenses with outside support for receivables management

    In Europe, companies getting professional support with their receivables management are still in the minority. Just four out of ten companies (42 percent) work with external service providers to recover outstanding debts. “With a view to a potentially depressed economic climate in particular, those companies not already doing so should professionalize their receivables management to a greater extent and look at working with external collection providers, to keep their cash flows stable in the event of a possible decline in the level of payments,” says Engberding.

    Consumers more reliable payers than companies

    As the EOS Survey shows, European companies set their customers an average payment term of 33 days; five years ago they were allowed four days more. Whereas in 84 percent of cases consumers and private customers meet this deadline, only 79 percent of companies manage to do so. The main reasons for payment delays cited by the respondents were primarily cash flow problems in the B2C segment (57 percent) and in the B2B segment, outstanding payments by a customer’s own clients (55 percent) and the use of supplier credits (51 percent).

    Please find further information in our EOS newsroom.

     

    About the EOS Survey “European Payment Practices” 2019

    In partnership with independent market research institute Kantar, EOS conducted phone interviews with 3,400 companies in 17 European countries to ask them about the prevailing payment practices in their respective locations. In the spring of 2019, 200 companies with an annual turnover of more than EUR 5 million in each of the countries Belgium, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Croatia, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, and the UK answered questions about their own payment experiences and current issues relating to risk and receivables management. The annual survey has now been conducted by EOS no less than 12 times.

    About EOS Group

    EOS Group is a leading international provider of customized financial services. As a specialist in the evaluation and processing of receivables, EOS deploys new technologies to offer its some 20,000 customers in 26 countries financial security through smart services. The company’s core business is the purchase of unsecured and secured debt portfolios. Working within an international network of partner companies, EOS Group has a workforce of more than 7,500 and over 60 subsidiaries, so it can access resources in more than 180 countries. Its key target sectors are banking, utilities, real estate and e-commerce. EOS is part of Otto Group.

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