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Faces of Nelnet: Jason Latimer from Nelnet’s Customer Interaction Center

March 26, 2011

Jason Latimer, Manager, Default Management Center

Dawn: What are you most proud of with your department?

Jason Latimer: There are many things that I am proud of with my department.  The one that I am most proud of is our ability to achieve outstanding results while creating and maintaining a vibrant and positive environment.  One of my many axioms is “We can get the job done and still have some fun!” Default Management and Skip Tracing can be tough. However, my outstanding leaders and dedicated associates have created an environment where we can be successful and focused on the tasks at hand but not so serious that we can’t find time to laugh. Whether because of the many crazy contests we hold, the friendships that department members develop or whatever else it may be, there is an energetic buzz that pulses through the floor at all times. I believe this is crucial to performance and associate retention.  If people don’t enjoy coming to work, they won’t.  It’s hard not to have fun at least once in a while here in the Default Management Center (DMC).

Dawn: Please describe a typical day for you.

Jason: Just like most of us I’m sure; there really is no “typical” day.  I’m generally in the office from around 07:45 to 05:30-06:00 each day. I then spend the majority of my time in meetings.  Whether strategy, pulse of the department, or one on one meetings, this is where most of my time is devoted.  When not in meetings, I spend a lot of time analyzing our daily, weekly and monthly stats to determine whether or not what we’re doing is working and where we have areas of opportunity. After work it really depends on the day of the week.  Some nights I have my leisure sport leagues, i.e. bowling and golf, others are open.  I enjoy reading at home and watching any kind of sports, Go Big Red!

Dawn: What has been your biggest challenge work-wise over the past 12 months?

Jason: Like many of us in the industry my biggest challenge has been the change from servicing FFELP loans only to FFELP and Direct.  During the last twelve months my department has undergone a near complete overhaul.  We now have a FFELP and an ED team, we have developed new procedures and performance appraisal plans and we are using a completely new telephony system.  All of these changes have been extremely positive and our results are improving dramatically.  However, it has been a challenge along the way to keep us all on the same page and moving toward the same goals. Luckily, we do not view it as a challenge but instead as an opportunity and I believe we have seen many improvements in efficiency and results over the past year.

Dawn: If a school asks you what you do for Nelnet that impacts them, what would you say?

Jason: The work that my team does impacts schools greatly by keeping their Cohort Default Rates low.  Through our superior default management techniques and dedication to our customers we attempt to keep their former students out of default. DMC also plays the role of financial educator.  We assist students by clearly explaining their rights and responsibilities as they relate to successful repayment of their student loans. I also oversee the daily operations of our “Responsible Repay” service.  Responsible Repay is a service whereby NDS provides intensified default prevention and financial wellness services on behalf of schools. This service is designed to lower CDR’s for our school clients.  In DMC we truly understand the importance of our work not only to our company but also to our partner schools and most importantly to our customers.

 Dawn: If you could have dinner with anyone on the planet, who would that be and what would you order?  

Jason: That’s a tough question but today I would say Warren Buffett.  I admire his measured optimism and I’m sure that any wisdom that he imparted would be useful.  I imagine that we would end up at a Dairy Queen so I would order the Peanut Buster Parfait.

Dawn: What is one piece of clothing you just can’t live without?

Jason: I am not really attached to any of my clothing.  However, I would have to say my golf shoes.  Although I am not very good at golf, it is a great escape from stress for me.  Now that the weather is getting warmer I’m looking forward to getting back out there again and dominating the Nelnet League!

Dawn: What super-power would you like to have?

Jason: I would like to have “Sponge Power”.  This would give me the ability to absorb and use all of the positive qualities and talents that others have and I do not.  Although, now that I hear it, being the “Human Sponge” doesn’t sound real sexy!

Dawn Knight, Western Regional Director: AZ, WA, OR, ID, NV, CA, WY and ND



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