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Longmont local uses AI to help others get out of debt

The program is designed to work with the consumer’s preferences as they pay off their debts

Can artificial intelligence help you out of debt without all the stress? Joe Thompson, Longmont resident and founder of A.I. Collect, believes so.

Thompson has worked in collections for nearly 20 years. Over the last 10, he has tried to change the industry by reducing the stress both the consumer and the collector feel during the process.

“It is such a tough environment and there are so many lives we can impact positively,” Thompson said.

Up until COVID, Thompson believed that he was making progress by offering a more empathic approach to collections. The pandemic halted innovation and the momentum toward monumental change.

Over the last year, Thompson has researched how AI is being used in all industries and developed an idea on how to use it in debt collection. 

He is in the final stages of developing an AI program that will work with consumers to reduce their debt. The AI is programmed to be empathetic and considerate of the consumer’s situation while also helping them find new solutions.

Thompson said that sudden car repairs can often impede a person’s ability to make a payment on their debt. The AI will look at that situation and calculate how long it will take to get back on track with the sudden expense. At the same time, the AI will create a list of credible local mechanics for the client to contact and will search for government and local grants, subsidies and programs the client may be eligible for to gain financial assistance.

The program is designed to work with the consumer’s preferences as they pay off their debts, Thompson said. 

“Taking away the human — in this situation — is such a positive. It’s not a fun conversation. No one wants to have that conversation … it isn’t something you want to keep talking about or having someone else — whether it’s on purpose or not — make you feel worse about the situation,” he said. 

A.I. Collect will offer clients the opportunity to chat online with the AI, which is programmed to find solutions that help, without feeling judged or shamed for their current financial situation.

Not only will the startup business help consumers get free of debt, but it has created the Prosperity Plus Initiative. This initiative will collect a reserve of funds that will help others get started on their debt-free journey, Thompson said. 

A.I. Collect will also offer financial management classes for those interested in maintaining their financial independence.

The service is not yet available, however, Thompson believes it will be ready to take on clients before the end of the year. 

“It is possible now to not only make a difference in consumer’s lives but do it in a way that is still efficient,” Thompson said.