Though offshoring once meant grappling with long-distance management challenges, today’s technologies ensure seamless communication and streamlined oversight.
Case in point: The COVID-19 pandemic showed us that we have the technological capability to effectively communicate and manage resources on a remote basis. AI-powered performance management platforms offer transparency over teams and individuals, regardless of location or affiliation. In a world where remote work is becoming the norm, such capabilities have removed the long-distance challenges.
Mortgage companies have traditionally turned to India, the Philippines and South America among others for their talent – so has every other industry. While these countries are essentially turn-key for outsourcing, the demand for their talent has driven up the costs. The salary arbitrage has shrunk and mobility among the job seekers has risen.
Africa: A goldmine of talent for the mortgage industry
Africa boasts the world’s largest and youngest pool of tech-savvy and innovative young
professionals. By 2050, according to the McKinsey Global Institute, Africa will contribute
796 million individuals to the global workforce.
The mortgage industry would be wise to tap into Africa’s educated and growing talent pool now. Given the financial pressures the mortgage industry is facing, Africa’s talent pool offers quality services at a fraction of traditional labor costs, including those of the familiar offshore destinations.
Africa’s highly competent talent would significantly help the industry optimize its processes, and African talent would infuse fresh perspectives and skills into their operations. Engaging with emerging markets that prioritize digital proficiency and process automation presents a robust solution to the industry’s current quandary.
Countries such as Kenya have a higher English proficiency than India according to the Education First Proficiency Index, and Zambia’s official language is English. As a result, inclusion into existing stateside operations is smoother and opens the opportunity for call center outsourcing.
Aside from call center outsourcing, African Mortgage BPO vendors can be leveraged for core mortgage processes such as data entry within the loan origination and servicing areas.
In addition, some providers will offer skilled IT support tailored to mortgage software platforms. Lastly, they offer resources skilled in overseeing financial tasks such as mortgage accounting and compliance auditing.
Bridging the gap: Synchronizing US and African time zones
Organizations have been modifying their processes, procedures and oversight for years with India and the Philippines, which are 10 and 12 hours ahead, respectively.
Navigating U.S. and African time zones – they can span 5 to 8 hours or more – simply requires strategic planning.
Time zone and asynchronous communication tools have proven invaluable for coordinating optimal communication windows and allowing for updates without real-time interaction. Thanks to modern technology, the U.S. and Africa can successfully collaborate across time zones.
Tips and best practices for finding African mortgage BPO vendors
In Africa’s emerging BPO market, finding a reliable vendor for mortgage processes can be challenging. Your best approach is to pinpoint processes that third parties can effectively manage with timing, quality and cost in mind.
The best way to stay informed about Africa’s BPO market is to research current outsourcing trends and seek insights from businesses experienced in offshore mortgage BPO. Another way to broaden your vendor connections is to consider attending industry-specific events in Africa.
Given the region’s untapped potential, it’s imperative to vet vendors meticulously. It’s critical that you dive into their track records and prioritize those who stand out in quality, communication and data security. Thorough vetting will lay the foundation for a successful partnership.
Redefining borders: Embracing global talent and tech in the U.S. mortgage landscape
The U.S. mortgage industry stands on the cusp of transformation. Beyond mere adaptation, the industry has a unique opportunity to lead. The industry can harness global technologies and the African talent pool in crafting the future workforce.
Does it really matter if your teams are in Fort Worth, Texas versus Lusaka, Zambia? The simple answer is no. Talent exists along with the technology that allows for effective management and oversight.
As we look ahead, complacency won’t suffice; it’s the innovators and forward-thinkers who will shape the industry’s future and emerge as its trailblazers. The future calls: let’s seize the opportunity and embrace change.
Tim Gaven is a founding Partner of Newbold Advisors. Since 2006, Newbold has provided best-in-class advice and services to the mortgage industry. Michael Wade is a Partner with Newbold Advisors, where he has worked for 12 years as part of the senior leadership team.