The challenge: Find cost savings while processing high volumes of mortgage transactions
The client is a top-four UK bank and one of the country’s biggest mortgage lenders. Following strategic expansion, the client was looking for a partner to handle high volumes of mortgage transactions while achieving year-on-year cost savings.
The lender sought offshore support to process two million non-digital transactions across mortgage origination and mortgage servicing. Maintaining high service quality, accuracy, and enhancing customer experience were key objectives.
Mortgage origination is the application review stage requiring back-office document processing. Here proofs of income, IDs, credit scores and other documents are accessed to accept or reject the application. Offers and completions management are also part of this stage.
Mortgage servicing stage is for existing mortgage accounts. Account maintenance, modifications, payments processing, redemptions, bankruptcy and legal questions are supported by back-office processes. While enquiries around payments, statement, redemptions and secure assets are supported by voice.
- Process two million mortgage transactions each year
- Achieve initial and year-on-year cost savings
- Move mortgage operations offshore
- Maintain high service quality and enhance customer experience
- Support UK voice call volumes
The solution: Customer-centric approach and continuous improvement culture
Firstsource has been providing offshore back-office support for client’s mortgage operation since 2005. We had 150 FTEs in Mumbai, India on the account when we won the contract to handle additional mortgage transactions.
To tackle increased scope of work Firstsource rapidly expanded existing back-office processing in Mumbai and established voice services in Cebu, Philippines.
To handle all non-digital, back-office transactions across mortgage origination and servicing stages we grew the Mumbai team from 150 FTEs up to 800 FTEs at peak time.
Firstsource applied a train-the-trainer approach to rapidly scale internal capabilities. The client’s team shared best practices and process requirements with the Firstsource trainers and leaders. Our teams then built and delivered training to associate teams. Depending on task complexity, the training duration varied from one to eight weeks, and sometimes 12—with teams of 15 associates supported by a dedicated team leader.
Culture of continuous improvement
Passing efficiencies on to our clients is part of the Firstsource approach. For example, at one point, we saw 12.6% of client cases were going over 14-day target for issuing an offer letter, post application submission. The delays were due to hold-ups at the handoff between offer and admin team.
To improve first time resolution at the offer stage, Firstsource initiated a project to investigate root causes of handoff delays. We identified five ways to streamline handoffs, such as granting the offer team the ability to ‘authorise’ cases on the system. The root causes and solution recommendations were shared with the client.
The client wanted to expand their business continuity plan (BCP) to ensure customers can speak to an advisor when onshore associates are unavailable. Offering voice services offshore was part of the client’s BCP improvement strategy. Firstsource provided voice support for non-digital services from Cebu.
Our associates initially dealt with simple servicing transactions such as payments and statements – these make up around 20% of mortgage calls. Once capabilities were proven the scope of work increased to complex services such as redemptions and secured assets.
At the peak of the operation Firstsource had 135 FTEs servicing 120,000 calls a month – averaging 70% of client’s mortgages call volumes.
As well as providing training on processes, compliance and fraud management our voice associates benefited from pre-process training on voice and culture. Firstsource ensured a Culture Coach from UK was permanently stationed in Cebu to support service teams. This covered soft skills training, informal training, call listening and QA sessions.
Customer experience initiative
Robust measures are imperative for improving customer experience. In 2018 Firstsource devised The Voice of the Customer – a measure for customer experience across mortgage calls. The metrics was subsequently implemented by the client across mortgage voice calls.
- 800 FTEs in Mumbai handling back-office administration for mortgage applications, processing, completions and servicing
- 135 FTEs in Cebu handling 120,000 calls a month across mortgage servicing
- Culture of continual improvement embedded in service
- Compliance and fraud management
- Permanent Culture Coach supporting voice associate
- Introduced Voice of the Customer metrics
The Result: Cost savings, efficiency gains, and improved customer satisfaction
- 30% initial cost savings from moving offshore
- 5% year-on-year efficiency gains contractually guaranteed
- 22% faster turnaround time for mortgage processing – cut from 18 days to 14
- 70% of FTEs cross-skilled for efficient queue management
- 99.4% Voice-of-Customer delight rates (against the goal of 80%)
- 96.1% Voice-of-customer resolution rates (against the goal of 80%)
- 99% and above consistently achieved for process and regulatory compliance accuracy (against SLA target of 95%)