Monitor Live+ Poll: 53% Believe COVID-19 Default Rate Will Be Worse Than Great Recession



Monitor Live+ has been hosting a series of free virtual events over a three-week period. The “What’s Next” conferences, moderator Vince Belcastro, group head of Syndications, Element Fleet Management, has provided expert commentary alongside a rotating table of panelists.

The series has included pop-up poll questions designed to collect information from the audience on how the current situation is playing out in their own businesses.

Highlights of the poll results from Part 1 indicate that business practices have been altered, in large part, due to customers that cannot make payments due to the implications of the pandemic. As well, some lenders (35%) worried for the future of their own business as a result of the abrupt economic downturn.

How has your business been most impacted by COVID-19?

Total Answers: 195

  1. Accommodating customer needs related to legislative/economic change (operational change to manage negative interest rates, late payments, restructures) 49%
  2. Economic instability of future business 35%
  3. Pivoting to a “suddenly work from home” workforce 14%
  4. Maintaining workforce 2%

Across the board, for both the panelists and the audience in Part 1, technology did not present itself as an unbearable obstacle. A majority of the responses show that technology made the transition of working from home somewhere along the continuum of seamless to low impact.

What role has technology played in making your workforce transition to “work from home” possible?

Total Answers: 195

  1. Our technology systems made the transition seamless 64%
  2. Our technology systems made the transition somewhat easier 28%
  3. Our technology systems did not have any impact (positive or negative) on the transition 5%
  4. Our technology systems made it more difficult to transition 3%

Despite what the transition to technology may have been like for businesses it really comes down to whether or not their daily operations can be completed virtually. Fortunately, it appears that many businesses are able to complete all business operations virtually, eliminating the need for people to be in an office.

Would better technology enable you to have less “business critical operations” ongoing in your physical offices (making “work from home” more sustainable)?

Total Answers: 122

  1. Yes, we have manual processes that require some of our teams to remain at the physical office 20%
  2. Yes, but we do have a substantial amount of our business processes automated 32%
  3. No, we have technology that automates the majority of our business operations 48%

In terms of how businesses are moving forward in the uncertain economic climate, many are choosing to move with caution. Priority initiatives are underway, yet the amount of capital expenditures is heavily considered. Some businesses are even considering new business strategies in order to stay afloat. For some, it may include exploring different product offerings, while for others it may mean entering new markets.

What impact is COVID-19 having on any business transformation initiatives you were considering?

Total Answers: 122

  1. We are freezing spend on all capital expenditures 5%
  2. We are being more judicious in which capital expenditures we pursue, but we are still moving forward with priority initiatives 79%
  3. COVID-19 is not impacting any business transformation initiatives 16%
  4. We did not plan to spend on business transformation anyway <1%

Of the following, which of the following changes in business strategy might you consider in response to the current pandemic?

Total Answers: 122

  1. Diversifying product offerings (adopting pay-per-use, deferred payment structures, etc.) 28%
  2. Entrance into new markets (direct instead of broker, offering different asset classes, etc.) 20%
  3. Departure from existing markets (leaving geographic regions, eliminating asset classes, etc.) 11%
  4. Different ways of funding business (less securitizations, more syndications, etc.) 6%
  5. None of the above 35%

Part 2 of the conference, on May 26, reintroduced questions from Part 1 but also incorporated new questions as well.

Answers regarding how the overall impact of COVID-19, as well as the impact on any transformation initiatives, were fairly similar to that in the first poll. However, the question about changes in the business strategy seemed to increase in the second poll, acknowledging people are considering different ways they can tweak their business and perform to the best it can with the circumstances.

How has your business been most impacted by COVID-19?

Total Answers: 118

  1. Accommodating customer needs related to legislative/economic change (operational change to manage negative interest rates, late payments, restructures) 48%
  2. Economic instability of future business 40%
  3. Pivoting to a “suddenly work from home” workforce 8%
  4. Maintaining workforce 4%

What impact is COVID-19 having on any business transformation initiatives you were considering?

Total Answers: 83

  1. We are freezing spend on all capital expenditures 7%
  2. We are being more judicious in which capital expenditures we pursue, but we are still moving forward with priority initiatives 70%
  3. COVID-19 is not impacting any business transformation initiatives 16%
  4. We did not plan to spend on business transformation anyway 7%

Of the following, which of the following changes in business strategy might you consider in response to the current pandemic?

Total Answers: 83

  1. Diversifying product offerings (adopting pay-per-use, deferred payment structures, etc.) 17%
  2. Entrance into new markets (direct instead of broker, offering different asset classes, etc.) 23%
  3. Departure from existing markets (leaving geographic regions, eliminating asset classes, etc.) 20%
  4. Different ways of funding business (less securitizations, more syndications, etc.) 13%
  5. None of the above 27%

The majority of the audience from Part 2 predicted that the default rate related to COVID-19 will be greater than the rate from the 2008 Great Recession. A question regarding the shape of the recession and future recovery showed varied predictions. However, the top two answers were a U-shaped recession, followed by a W-shaped.

How do you think the COVID-19 related default rate will compare to 2008 during the Great Recession?

Total Answers: 118

  1. Greater 53%
  2. Same 20%
  3. Lower 27%

What shape do you think the developing recession and future recovery will take?

Total Answers: 118

  1. V-shaped recession 14%
  2. U-shaped recession 42%
  3. W-shaped recession 30%
  4. L-shaped recession 14%

A small portion of the audience said they are taking measures to gain a better understanding of the impact COVID-19 is having on their business and borrowers. Some are doing so using a visualization tool, others are using Al for an algorithmic understanding and others have used data scientists or consultants. However, an even greater amount opted out of changing their data practices altogether.

Are you adopting more progressive/predictive approaches to analyzing your data to better understand the impact to your business and borrowers? (Select all that apply.)

Total Answers: 83

  1. Yes, we are onboarding a data visualization tool 22%
  2. Yes, we are hiring data scientists or working with a data consultant 6%
  3. Yes, we are applying AI to achieve greater algorithmic understanding of our data 12%
  4. No, we are not changing our data practices 59%

The final Monitor Live+ Asking the C-Suite What’s Next final conference is scheduled for Thursday, June 4, at 12 p.m. ET with featured guests Dave Drury, Dave Fate, Kirk Phillips and Adam Warner. Register Now!


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Terry Mulreany
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