Executive spotlight: dan yakimenko, head of digital collections solutions.

Dan Yakimenko with Digital Collections Solutions featured on Executive Spotlight

What are your primary duties in your current role?

As Head of Digital Collections Solutions, I am responsible for the whole product management cycle that starts with Solution design and MVP creation and spreads out to the client deployments and product features development.

Industry Q&A:

How did you join the receivables industry?

It happened in 2007 when I joined Barclays Bank, where I was managing their retail credit policy, which also included debt collections. Obviously, the levels of debt collection back then and now are very different: there was no digitization and very little analytics, which was normal for that time (the old-timers would confirm). After that, I became the Head of the Modeling and Analytics department for one of the largest collection agencies in Europe, where my only focus was on debt collection strategy and analytics. After that, it was nearly impossible to distance myself from the ARM industry, and that journey still lasts.

In the receivables industry, what emerging trend has your attention?

I wouldn’t be original: AI is the thing. And the ARM industry is perfect for AI as the use cases are very stereotypical and easily automated, reducing the cost to collect and providing a similar (if not higher) collection efficiency.
A close second would be self-learning ML algorithms. We’ve started using them in our solutions, and they are making miracles. And I’m sure there is still a huge headroom.

What are your hopes for the receivables industry?

I want to see the first fully digital collections agency without any human in the loop that would shellack its brick-and-mortar competitors. There were a couple of tries, but to no avail so far. Hopefully, we will see that changing shortly, and my biggest hope is to see EXL playing a leading role in that evolution.

What is your favorite part of working at your company?

I like that EXL allowed me to come up with an idea of a new digital collections solution which got funded, supported, and eventually converted into a full-fledged digital product. In my current role, my favorite part is that I have a high level of freedom to decide what’s best for the product and put my focus accordingly, whether it’s attending some client event or creating another cutting-edge product feature. It is quite unusual for a multinational $1.6Bn company traded on NASDAQ, and I appreciate it enormously.

Professional Motivation & Inspiration:

Share a quote that motivates or inspires you:

“Falling down is not a failure. Failure comes when you stay where you have fallen.” – Socrates There were many brighter ways of saying the same, but Socrates did it first, hence I decided to quote him.
I’ve been trying to digitize debt collections since the early 2000s when I was implementing email tone progression while most of the emails were going to SPAM or left unread, and we only had 10% of the customers who had shared their email IDs. There was no technical opportunity to track the deliverability of emails, let alone enable 2-way communications, but had I stopped back then, I wouldn’t be where I am today.

What is the best piece of advice you have ever received in life?

Don’t worry too much about the title and paycheck and keep chasing the dream. Truth be told, that piece of advice was given to me when I was 20 years old or so, but I do believe it helped and is still helping me avoid some career opportunities to get a higher salary by switching to a less scientific and “techy” field, which would eventually become a dead-end.

What are you most proud of, or what is your biggest accomplishment?

I would say getting a full scholarship from one of the best schools of economics and getting a double major (Financial Analysis and Applied Math) while receiving a stipendium from the Government. To get it, I had to sacrifice several years of my personal life in late middle and high school, but it was surely worth it.

Personal Q&A:

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I wanted to work in a bank, having my own cubicle, PC and trash bin. I always thought throwing crumpled paper balls into a trash bin was kind of cool :) Interestingly, I never even tried doing it once I got my cubicle many years after.

If you work from home, what is the best thing about your home office setup/working from home? And if you work in an office, what is your favorite part of working in the office?

I finally learned how to work from home and increase my efficiency. I have a beautiful double-keyboard and 3-monitor setup with a height-adjustable desk and a wobbly chair. Given there is no need to commute or dress to impress, my day starts early (usually my first meeting is at 7am) and lasts longer than 5pm. However, nothing can replace face-to-face interactions in the office, so I do go to the office every now and then.

What is your favorite book, movie, TV show, podcast, or music genre?

I love different sorts of books, but I would put Fyodor Dostoevsky above most. Besides, I had the privilege of reading his books untranslated. As for the music, I’m a true melomane: any good song can drag my attention regardless of the genre. But I do not listen to much music, and I do not watch TV shows or sports events due to the time constraints of being involved in a high-tech industry. It requires a lot of self-development which is very time-consuming.

People would be surprised if they knew…

…that I’m a committed nerd. Those who see me for the first time, with my broken wrestling ears, and “big guns,” think that I must be a sports fiend. However, all these “cauliflowers” are the heritage of the past, and I spend very little time on fitness currently.
At the same time, I am an active competitive programmer (I still try to compete at least bi-weekly). I try to learn one new coding language every year (the last one was Golang and I’m looking forward to seeing the release of Carbon by Google). I love soldering, and all the keyboards I’m using are self-made from scratch. I don’t use Microsoft software on my laptops and stick to Linux as much as possible. As you can see, none of this correlates much with my appearance.

Do you have a pet? If so, what kind and what’s their name?

Leaving my 3 kids aside, I have 2 dogs: Toby is a Shar Pei-English bulldog mix (named after the bulldog from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle books), and Dina is a pocket-size miniature pinscher (named after another min pin my granny used to have when I was a kid).

About EXL

EXL is the indispensable partner for leading businesses in data-led industries such as insurance, banking and financial services, healthcare, retail and logistics. We bring a unique combination of data, advanced analytics, digital technology and industry expertise to help our clients turn data into insights, streamline operations, improve customer experience, and transform their business.
Our partnerships with clients are built on a foundation of collaboration – and we’ve been chosen as a partner by nine of the top ten leading US insurance companies, nine of the top 20 global banks, and six of the top ten US health care payers. We function as one team to make your goals our goals, whether that’s unlocking the value of generative AI or embedding analytics into workflows that reduce risk or power your growth. With a global talent pool more than 50,000 employees strong, we’re able to be where you need us to be.

Published On: February 22nd, 2024|Categories: Executive Spotlight|Tags: , , |

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