How brokers can overcome the barriers to outsourcing

Industry veteran combines benefits of outsourcing with local experience

How brokers can overcome the barriers to outsourcing


By Ryan Johnson

In an increasingly digital age, mortgage brokers face a dual challenge: meeting the demands of a competitive market while managing the complexities of a highly regulated industry.

Outsourcing has emerged as a solution to streamline operations and enhance efficiency, yet many brokers remain hesitant due to perceived barriers.

Universal Outsourcing, led by industry veteran Manisha Rai (pictured), aims to address these concerns head-on, leveraging Rai’s 20 years of experience in the Australian mortgage industry to provide tailored solutions from their base in Nepal.

Understanding the concerns

Outsourcing, particularly offshore, often raises valid concerns among mortgage brokers.

Issues such as data security, cultural differences, and continuity of service are frequently cited as barriers to adopting outsourcing solutions.

The allure of cost savings can be overshadowed by fears of compromised service quality, confusion, or confidentiality breaches.

But beyond the conventional outsourcing narrative lies a refreshing approach by Universal Outsourcing: integrating Australian cultural immersion into their operational framework.

Imagine your virtual assistant chatting about the game last night or discussing the nuances of “The Castle” with fervour.

These cultural touchpoints aren’t just gestures; they’re strategic tools ensuring understanding between offshore teams and Australian brokers.

“Nepalese people won’t sound like Australians,” Rai said. “But through education, we can help bridge the cultural gap.”

Manisha Rai: Bridging experience with innovation

Manisha Rai’s journey in the mortgage industry spans over two decades, starting from her roots in Nepal to establishing herself as a pivotal figure in Australian finance.

Having worked extensively with major players like ANZ, Resimac, and Aussie Home Loans, Rai understands the intricacies and client expectations that define the role of a mortgage broker. Her decision to found Universal Outsourcing in 2023 stemmed from a deep-seated commitment to enhance operational efficiency for brokers through strategic outsourcing solutions.

“Much of my skillset for outsourcing was built helping set up ANZ’s outsourcing operations in Bangalore,” said Rai.

“Three years ago, I started my business as a mentor for mortgage brokers in the industry, but my ultimate dream was always starting an outsourcing company.”

Overcoming online risk

One key barrier to outsourcing is that many brokers have been burnt hiring someone from offshoring websites offering very low rates.

These hires often lack proper management, and, if they disappear, there’s no point of contact. Data security is another concern, according to Rai, as these workers have access to your OneDrive, Google Drive, and other platforms.

“Even if you change passwords, there’s no guarantee that information isn’t stored on their systems,” she said.

The advantage with Universal Offshoring being based in Australia is that Rai is well-embedded in the industry providing brokers with a sense of security.

“They know they can find me and contact me directly if needed. I connect with my clients regularly. I’m always available to meet with brokers, address urgent matters, or catch up over coffee to sort out any issues,” said Rai who is the conduit between Nepal and Australia.

“This level of accessibility and comfort is important, especially considering the challenges brokers face in managing staff.”

Furthermore, Rai’s operations were built with privacy and data integrity in mind, with the ABN-registered business being ISO-certified and having outlined privacy and data security policies.

“We handle customer information, use online bank statements, and have virtual assistants in different parts of the world so it was essential we have robust policies and standards in place,” said Rai.

“It was also a no-brainer to get enough professional indemnity and cyber insurance in place, and given what we have seen with Medibank, Firstmac, and Harcourt, we encourage our clients to do the same. Basically, we operate like an Australian company domestically and in Nepal as well.”

Overcoming cultural and language barriers

Rai acknowledges that cultural differences could also be a significant barrier.

“Brokers worry about whether offshore staff will understand their customers and how outsourcing will reflect on their business,” she noted.

Universal Outsourcing addresses this challenge through cultural training during staff induction.

“We learn about Australian slang, do quizzes, and celebrate Australia Day,” Rai said. “Staff assigned to a client who follows footy automatically become part of that team. We even have grand final celebrations at work in Nepal.”

And of course, when a broker tells their virtual assistant to “tell ‘em he’s dreaming” after a ridiculous client request, they know what they mean.

“The Castle is a mandatory watch, week one of induction.”

Navigating the intricacies of the Australian tongue can also prove a challenge.

“One of my staff, in the early stages of working with us, had a client who would say, “Can I catch you in the arvo?” She understood it as “I’ll catch you in an hour,” so she would book a meeting an hour later, not realising “arvo” meant “afternoon”, Rai said.

“The client rang me and said, ‘Wow Manisha, your staff are really on the ball and keeping me accountable’.”

After realising the misunderstanding and chuckling to herself, Rai got to work.

“It’s a small cultural disconnect, but it’s something that we prioritise to overcome as we progress as an organisation,” she said. “We now include Aussie slang as part of the program.”

Training competent offshore virtual assistants

Another thing to consider is that the mortgage broking industry in Australia also has its cultural understanding among its members.

Brokers might worry about whether offshore staff will understand how to do the job itself and are concerned about the time required to train someone to understand the business operations, email communication, customer interactions, and file processing.

“Many brokers think it might be easier to do it themselves or hire someone in-house,” said Rai. “However, they don’t realise that in-house hires require the same training.”

Through Mr Mentor, Universal Outsourcing recruits go through a six-month training course for loan processing.

“I also personally do educational presentations and webinars through aggregators here in Australia, which I share with the team,” Rai said.

“Think about the investment in time, money, and resources you’d have to make if you were to do this in-house.”

Looking ahead

As Universal Outsourcing continues to innovate, Rai remains committed to bridging gaps and delivering great service.

“Our approach isn’t just about outsourcing; it’s about fostering genuine partnerships,” Rai concluded with a smile. “By embracing cultural diversity and client-centricity, we’re setting a new standard in broker support.”

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