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Home > Business > Business Headline > Report


Sub-prime fear now haunts BPOs

Leslie D'Monte & Shivani Shinde in Mumbai | August 20, 2007 09:07 IST

The US sub-prime lending crisis forced Mumbai-based WNS Holdings to revise its net income guidance by 60 per cent, and this is worrying the $8 billion business process outsourcing sector players and analysts.

The concern is warranted since pure-play BPO firms (excluding infotech companies that also provide BPO services) derive anywhere between 40 and 70 per cent of their revenues from the banking, financial services and insurance segment. Mortgage process outsourcing comes under this.

Consider this. EXL Services, among the top 10 BPOs in the country, gets 70 per cent of its revenue from the BFSI segment. Of this, 7-8 per cent comes from its two clients in the mortgage segment.

One is a large mortgage lender bank - IndyMac Bank, which contributes 5 per cent to its revenue (IndyMac is also a client of WNS). The other is a small client in the sub-prime lending segment and contributes 2-3 per cent to the revenues.

Rohit Kapoor, president and co-founder, EXL Services, said: "We have two clients in the mortgage segment. Till now, we have received no issuance from the clients. But given the uncertainty in the market, it is a risk."

The BFSI segment accounts for around 34 per cent of WNS's revenue. Around 22 per cent comes from insurance, 9 per cent from mortgage (from 9 customers - First Magnus being the biggest) and 3 per cent from the rest.

Similarly, HOV Services [Get Quote], which provides BPO services to the finance and accounting sector, offers its services to 5 clients in the mortgage segment.

The company has four of its top 10 clients from the banking segment and 9 of its top 20 from the insurance vertical. R Vijaykumar, CFO, HOV Services, said: "As of now, we have had no issuance or concern being shown by our customers."

The BFSI segment currently accounts for 44.5 per cent of the total revenue of Genpact, the largest BPO services provider in India. The company declined to comment, stating it was in a quiet period.

Alok Shende, director, ICT practice, Frost and Sullivan, said: "The full impact is yet to be understood. However, there will be a psychological impact as customers may reduce spending. It might also lead to delay in the deal cycles as clients would like to wait for some stability."

Siddharth Pai, partner at outsourcing consultancy firm TPI, concurs: "I think it is early to comment." Likewise, others too are waiting for the story to unfold.

Firstsource, a pure-play BPO services company, maintained it had not been affected by the mortgage crisis. The company has only one UK-based client servicing the mortgage segment.

Alok Shende, director, ICT practice, Frost and Sullivan, said, "The full impact is yet to be understood. However, there will be a psychological impact as customers may reduce spending. It might also lead to delay in the deal cycles as clients would like to wait for some stability."


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