Over half a billion dollars in unpaid debt was owed to Inland Revenue by overseas-based borrowers (OBBs) defaulting on their student loans.
Whether enjoying an OE or making a new life abroad, OBBs had far more important priorities. The fact that they were responsible for making their own repayments compounded this issue. The perceived ‘loss’ of paying back money they felt was essentially theirs would feel a lot more painful than when it came directly out of their salary (as it had done in NZ). Add this to the hassle factor of wiring money overseas and infrequent payment dates, and it becomes clear why so many OBBs were defaulting.
The problem was Inland Revenue had contact details for only a small percentage and had no way of knowing where the remainder were. So the task was to find the ‘unfindable’. Using the latest data technologies, a global digital manhunt was launched – a test-and-learn platform that became increasingly sophisticated at determining who and where OBBs were.
The campaign delivered unprecedented results: contact details for defaulters increased by 39% and repayments increased by 42% to $71.7M.