Kent Reliance Building Society is looking at outsourcing part of its call centre and mortgage administration facilities in order to increase cost-efficiencies and facilitate expansion.
The regional society is already using IT consultants in India to aid developments in its mortgage software, and admitted it may eventually follow the lead of some major insurers, such as Royal & SunAlliance and Prudential, and set up call centres in the sub-continent.
Rob Proctor, head of lending at Kent Reliance Building, said: ‘We have to look at ways of reducing our costs and improving our efficiencies at all times; in respect of this we have been looking at all our systems and processes and we are currently developing software in India, looking at both internet front-end and mortgage processing.’
Proctor said even with efficiencies from technology, smaller building societies may struggle to expand in the future, as the cost implications of increased staff and offices could prove too high.
‘If we wanted to double our business we would have great problems as regards premises and staff. The availability of staff [in India] means you can take on more work more quickly,’ said Procter.
He refused to rule out the possibility that this could lead to potential job losses in the UK and that mortgage brokers could be transferred to overseas call centres in the future.
‘I would not rule out anything in the future, but there are no current plans to transfer business away and brokers will still continue to deal with head office. We hope the support given to us from India will lead to improved service and our ability to deal with greater volumes more efficiently.’
l For full coverage of the changes in the building society market turn to page 20.