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DETROIT, Sept. 20, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Diversified Data Processing & Consulting, Inc. ("DivDat" or the "Company"), announced today that its President and CEO, Jason Bierkle, presented on the Diversity Equity & Inclusion panel at the invitation of the Michigan Government Finance Officers Association, at their recent Fall Training Institute. Bierkle asserted Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion can be measured by the access municipalities give to residents to pay essential bills, and that access-focused communities have higher on-time bill payments and overall collection volumes.
The education conference, which took place Sept. 11 – 14th at the Amway Grand Hotel, in Grand Rapids, Mich. gathered nearly 200 MGFOA members, made up of Michigan municipal treasury and finance leaders and their teams for trainings. Bierkle presented alongside Andre Daley, director of inclusion at the Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce and Adam Bonarek, director of finance, risk, and IT at the Charter Township of Redford and treasurer, Michigan Government Finance Officers Association.
The DE&I panel provided session guests with steps to take in order to:
- Attract and retain top talent
- Engage and retain businesses and their workforces
- Provide all residents (regardless of their access to credit or traditional banking) with equal access to pay essential bills
"We need to change the way we think about taking payments from residents," said Jason Bierkle, president and CEO, DivDat. "Equal access is not making it easy for the group of people who can jump online and pay a bill for city services by credit card while ignoring the percentage of your population who might have to take time off of work, drive to the city's cashiering center, pay to park, and hand over a money gram it cost them additional money to get."
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The panel further discussed the estimated 25% of the country's population now classified as unbanked or underbanked, a statistic which spans multiple sex, age, race, ethnicity, and gender demographics. By providing resident consumers with multiple payment channels through which to pay, including bill payment kiosks that accept cash and are conveniently placed in neighborhood centers and retail establishments, DivDat municipal customers across the country are seeing increases in on-time payments from their residents.
"We're approaching almost 40% unbanked and underbanked population levels in some Michigan townships. It's not obvious, because most residents are paying their bills, it's just much harder for them. If you're not giving your residents the access to stay current on essential bills by providing more channels and accepting more payment types – cash, in particular – then you're leaving out a large portion of your population, and that's not inclusion." added Adam Bonarek, Redford Township director of finance, risk, and IT and MGFOA treasurer. "Financial solvency has everything to do with means certainly, but now more than ever, it's about equal access."
From budgeting trends like "cash stuffing" to a growing percentage of the population pivoting to "cash preferred", the panel explored ways in which municipalities can partner with tech firms like DivDat that pioneered escrow programs with financial institutions to provide property tax savings plans (individual escrow accounts for their bill paying residents) to help consumers better budget for large upcoming spends like bi-annual tax and water bills.
"Forward thinking municipalities have identified there is an issue with the level of access they have traditionally provided their resident consumers, and they're addressing it," concluded Bierkle. "At DivDat, we say we're 'leveling the paying field®' by making it just as easy for unbanked and underbanked residents to pay their property taxes, utilities, and other essential bills, as it is for everyone else. Our bill payment technology supports the social mission of inclusion, which has delivered huge monetary and social benefits for our customers. We stand at the ready to support all Michigan municipalities and their bill paying residents with this same level of access."
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Jason Bierkle was honored by Crain's Detroit Business with their "Notable Executives in DE&I Award" in 2021. DivDat was recognized as a "Diversity Focused Company" by Corp! Magazine in 2020. You can learn more about DivDat and how it helps municipalities, utilities companies, courts, and other essential billers to provide measurable DE&I practices at www.divdat.com
DivDat is the leader in omnichannel bill payment and processing serving corporations as well as municipalities, utility companies, courts, and quasi-governmental entities. DivDat's proprietary payment technologies span indoor and outdoor payment kiosks, web interfaces, IVR/phone payment options, mobile app, and point of service modules facilitating in-person payments made to cashiering representatives. Across all channels, bill payments paid on the DivDat Payment Network feature real-time automated posting to accurate customer-specific accounts, reducing the need for manual intervention, so treasury teams are more efficient and get paid faster®. DivDat and its leadership have been recognized for their contributions to DE&I. The DivDat Bill Pay Kiosk and the full DivDat Payment Network promote equality and access by providing corporations and governments with the tools and technologies to make it just as easy for unbanked and underbanked people to stay current on essential bills as it is for those with access to electronic payment methodologies and credit, effectively leveling the paying field®. Learn more about DivDat at www.divdat.com/about/diversity-equity-inclusion.
Samara Cogswell, Chief Marketing Officer
Filed Under: Business
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