Servicers are creating offshore call centers and conducting heavy outsourcing in places like India and Mexico, according to panelists at the SourceMedia Mortgage Servicing Conference in Dallas.Option One Mortgage Corp., which has a call center in Guadalajara, Mexico, has employees who spend at least 60 minutes per call helping Spanish-speaking borrowers. Teji Singh, Option One's chief servicing officer, said domestic calls in the United States have an 86% success rate compared with 83%-84% for offshore calls. "There is no difference if you train them well," she said. "Seventy-eight percent of mortgage lenders will outsource. It takes tremendous effort and tenacity to put up a call center on the other side of the country." A very small percentage of calls are sent back to the United States because borrowers did not want to talk with non-U.S. agents, she added. Countrywide Home Loans, Calabasas, Calif., has also seen very positive results with offshore call centers, a panelist said. In India, their agents handle front-end collections, dealing with borrowers who are one or two payments late.

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