Sub-prime crisis to benefit prime Indian MPOs

By Venkatachari Jagannathan | 30 Aug 2007


Chennai: Even as big Indian mortgage process outsourcing (MPO) units lose business from clients going bust owing to the US'' sub-prime mortgage crisis, String Real Estate Information Services is expanding its operations.

The $6-million revenue company will increase the headcount in its Indian subsidiary to 1,100, by 2008 from the current 450. It is also looking at Coimbatore and Madurai for setting up processing centres. Mortgage processing involves checking loan applications for details like the property title, credit worthiness of the borrower, etc.

From now on, the American mortgage lenders will look at credit appraisals seriously but at a lower cost to remain profitable, says Prashant Kothari, CEO and founder, String Real Estate Information, US.

Despite the recent crisis, the projections for mortgage loan issuance in 2007 through 2009 are well in excess of $2 trillion.

According to Kothari, the US mortgage industry is worth $13 trillion ($8 trillion home mortgage and $5 trillion commercial properties). This involves back office and transaction processing work worth $100 billion annually.

Though the potential for offshoring mortgage processing is around $10 billion, the US lenders are outsourcing only $200 million worth of business. But this is expected to change. But this time only the specialised and experienced units would stand to gain.

According to Kothari, MPO for US lenders is a specialised activity. The processors have to check atleast 60 documents in respect of a single file and that number doubles in the case of complicated files. .

He said the MPOs are paid on file basis. The processing rate of a simple file is $30 and goes as high as $120 for complicated files.

String Real Estate Information will hire people who are good at numbers and have analytical skills. Kothari says Indian companies are better placed to offer MPO services than telemarketing of loans to the US.

"No amount of training would enable an Indian telemarketer to understand the American borrowers psyche. One Indian telemarketing company made around 50,000 calls to the US only to close 2 transactions successfully," he remarks.

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