Leadership Insights: President and CEO Ashish Masih on Encore’s Unique Role as Year Unfolds
As we kick off a new year, we sat down with Encore President and Chief Executive Officer Ashish Masih to talk about what lies ahead in 2024. He shared his insights on how our company is uniquely positioned to support both consumers and the broader credit ecosystem in the year ahead.
Can you talk about the economic environment as you see it for 2024 and Encore’s role in it?
I believe that trends in the broader economy mean the work we do has never been more critical, both to the consumers we serve and to the larger credit ecosystem.
In the United States, credit card lending has reached record highs, and we’re increasingly going to be called to work with consumers who haven’t been able to meet their obligations. In the U.K. and Europe, the long reach of pandemic-related impacts, coupled with persistent inflation, have created challenges for many consumers. These factors make this a critically important time for the work we do.
The consumer credit ecosystem depends on all of us. Credit is the lifeblood of modern economies, allowing people access to money for everything they need, from buying a home or car to starting a new business. However, there are always some situations where people are unable to pay back their debts on time for a wide variety of reasons.
The essential role we play is in helping consumers resolve those debts in a caring, collaborative way. When we do that, we achieve our Mission of creating pathways to economic freedom for the people we support, and we achieve our Vision of helping make credit accessible by returning capital to the credit ecosystem.
What’s different about our approach to working with consumers?
What sets us apart is that we care. When we engage with consumers, we often hear that they’ve had a hard time finding someone to talk to about the financial challenges they’ve faced. When we show them that we want to understand their situation, that we care about finding a solution that works for them, it changes the conversation completely. They realize there’s a path forward and that we can help them get there. Caring about consumers is really the foundation of our business.
I regularly listen to the calls our team has with consumers, and that care really comes through. Our account managers build great rapport by asking questions about the individual’s challenges and listening carefully to the answers. We know every person’s situation is unique, so for us, listening is key. In the end, together they’re often able to create an affordable plan to resolve the consumer’s debt, which in turn gives the consumer peace of mind to be able to move forward. That really is the best of Encore – listening, caring, solving problems.
How do you see Encore’s company culture evolving in 2024?
We believe we have a strong culture grounded in respect, inclusion and opportunity. At the same time, we know that our culture can only remain strong if it’s co-created with our colleagues. That’s why we’re committed to a variety of strategies to help make Encore – no matter where you work in our organization – a place where you can thrive.
For example, the Great Place to Work® survey is now our annual employee survey company-wide. Our colleagues’ anonymous feedback helps us identify areas to improve, evolve or sustain as we co-create the workplace we want Encore to be. It makes me feel proud that our colleagues’ feedback resulted in Encore being designated as a Great Place to Work® in most of our regions in 2022 and 2023. I’m excited to see what progress we make against these goals this year.
We’ve also launched several global employee resource groups (ERGs), such as the Black Employee Network, the Pride Network and Women@Encore&Allies, to help foster fellowship, talent development, awareness and connection, and we’re looking to support new ERGs in the future. I particularly love that these groups bring people around the globe together through shared experiences.
Support for our communities is also part of our culture, and our work in this area is guided by our three community impact pillars: restoring financial health, promoting financial freedom and developing resilient and sustainable communities. I look forward to the positive impact our colleagues will continue to make in our local communities as the year unfolds.
And even as our culture evolves (as it should), we’re all connected by the bedrock of the Values we co-created as an organization. The fact that we care, we find a better way, and we’re inclusive and collaborative help guide everything we do and define who we are.
What are you most looking forward to this year?
I love getting to meet our colleagues in person. I’m always inspired by their passion to support consumers, and it’s even more meaningful when I get to connect with them on your home turf. Last year, I was able to visit many of our sites across the countries where we operate and in 2024 I’m looking forward to spending more time with teams in action, helping and supporting consumers.
And to every one of our colleagues around the world, let me take a moment to say thank you for everything you do. This will be a great year because of the way you support our consumers and each other. I’m excited for what the future holds – this is the moment our company was made for.