often written about character and how important it is in the credit
Character is defined
as a willingness to do something, provide information, pay the bill,
etc. It is also about trust. Now Iím talking about being
trustworthy, not about trusting others and there is a difference.
There is certainly a relationship between the two concepts but a
decision to trust another is a choice, not an obligation. Being
trustworthy, however, is a very important aspect of good character.
If we want customers to be trustworthy then we should always
act in a manner to be worthy of trust.
Trust entails two
distinct qualities: Character and competence.
The attribute most
widely associated with trustworthy behavior is integrity. This vital
aspect of good character is demonstrated through conscientious honesty
and moral courage. If we want customers to trust our organization, or
us, they must believe that we will consistently do the right thing,
regardless of circumstances or pressures.
includes accountability and fairness. Customers trust those who accept
responsibility for their choices and donít pass blame to others for
their actions or decisions. It is also important to be regarded as
fair when making decisions or taking action especially when they are
In business today,
confidence in character is not enough to justify trust. Trust also
involves the conviction that the person or organization will
successfully do what is expected. This concept requires ability,
knowledge and judgment as well as a belief that the person or
organization will be reliable and responsive. Reliability is
established through diligence and follow-through while responsiveness
involves respectful communication and demonstrated concern.
The best method to
insure that we, as credit professionals, practice and maintain the
qualities of character and maintain that atmosphere of trust with our
customer is to develop sound credit and collection policy and
Policy is the
organizations position statement. It explains the organizationís
position on a subject and why thereís a rule about it. It informs
both the internal and external customer how the organization intends
to conduct itself.
supplement the policy guidelines with specifics on ďhow toĒ carry
out the organizationís policies. Procedures outline the steps that
employees are expected to take and the sequence in which to perform
those steps. They may also include the consequences of failure to
Written policy and
procedures provide the road map necessary to develop character traits
to enable all of us to maintain the qualities of trustworthiness. We
cannot expect customers to maintain those qualities that we do not
I wish you well.
information is provided as information only and not legal advice.
Legal advice should be obtained from a competent, licensed attorney,
in good standing with the state bar association.