Head of Customer Service, Italy at Generali
Paolo has over 30 years experience in Italian banking and insurance. He was one of the first customers of Gruppo Mutuionline when launching Woolwich Bank, Barclays’ online venture in the early 2000’s, and he has used Mutuionline and other competitors for both mortgage broking and insurance and mortgage BPO services. He is currently Head of Customer Service for Generali where he uses Gruppo Mutuionline’s BPO services for claims management. Read moreView Profile Page
Disclaimer: This interview is for informational purposes only and should not be relied upon as a basis for investment decisions. In Practise is an independent publisher and all opinions expressed by guests are solely their own opinions and do not reflect the opinion of In Practise.
Paolo, could you start by providing a short introduction to your role and responsibilities, when you were at Barclays, in 2005?
In Barclays, I was head of the online channel. More precisely, I was head of online mortgage sales, in the Woolwich bank, which was the original name for Barclays Bank in Italy. It was a company specializing in mortgages, providing mortgages to the population of Italy, across the country, to enable people to buy a house. Woolwich was operating four branches in several cities in Italy. I was responsible for around 20 to 50 people, because the business was increasing year by year and we were dealing with people from their first contact on our website until the end of the process and the signing of the mortgage contract and the purchase of the property.
After that, I became responsible for the entire customer service area of Barclays Bank, when Banca Woolwich became the bank in Italy. As well as my original area of responsibility, I was also responsible for all banking customer care.
When you were running the online mortgages for Barclays, what part of the business was through brokers versus how much was through direct channels?
I’d say it was half and half. Originally, we were 10% direct and then the online market exploded, early in the century and we managed to reach up to 40% or 50% of the entire sales budget of the company. It was increasing significantly and this was also thanks to the contribution of MutuiOnline.
Were you only using MutuiOnline, at that point?
Yes; we were actually one of the two major competitors in that environment. The other one was Mutuo Arancio, so ING. That was our main competitor and we were both using the same tools from MutuiOnline.
Can we walk through a customer journey, using MutuiOnline? If I am a customer, looking for a mortgage, I land on MutuiOnline and I then fill out the process.
It is a process that is organized step by step. In step one, you go into the infrastructure of MutuiOnline, mutuionline.it, and you provide some basic information regarding the amount of money you need, the value of the property and your salary. After that, you are offered some information, such as the amount of monthly instalments, if you were to proceed with your request. After that, if you choose to, you register with the website and you would be offered some options. You can then choose your option and start the process. You would provide the initial documents for the first approval and then you can get in contact with the bank for the next step of the process.
In some cases, MutuiOnline was also entitled to proceed with that process. We did it ourselves, but other banks preferred to go through MutuiOnline, in terms of checks about the salary and things like that.
Is that the mortgage BPO process that MutuiOnline offer?
Yes, but in reality, as far as I know, they are also able to provide BPO services to banks that are not online. So if you are with a bank that has branches and you don’t have the skills or the capacity to deal with all the requests, then you can ask MutuiOnline to undertake this process on your behalf.
You were actually collecting the documents and doing the checks yourself, or were you outsourcing that to GruppoMutuiOnline?
We did that ourself because, again, we were vertical; a specialized bank. All our people were mortgage people.
Do you think there are many synergies in using MutuiOnline for both lead generation and BPO?
Absolutely. They are a very skilled company, in BPO and technology, with added financial skills, and not vice versa. They were able to understand your business and provide you with good services and also with good people. I am probably exaggerating a little bit but they have done, for the financial industry, something similar to what Amazon has done for the retail market; good technology and special skills provided to customers.
Why don’t all the Italian banks use them for BPO processes? I know that some of them do it internally?
I am not working with them on that, but I know that, for many other banks, especially Mediabank but I also know that CheBanca was using them. You can find it out by simply going to their website.