Making life a little easier for lenders

Q: How is xit2 structured?

A: xit2, owned by its three directors – Simon Henson, David Gillam and Paul Duckworth, is the main holding company and undertakes software design and development for the trading subsidiaries (The Repossession, Valuation and Conveyancing Exchanges). Each subsidiary has its own service centre support staff. All three systems are lenderand client-facing using web technology. The Valuation Exchange alone receives 50,000 hits per day.

Q: What percentage of business comes from each service?

A: The Repossession Exchange is the platform with the greatest market share and is taking on new clients as the volume of repossessions drops and lenders increasingly outsource the process. The Valuation Exchange is the fastest growing and contributes the most revenue with new business coming on every month. The Conveyancing Exchange is in beta testing and will not generate revenues until Q1 2003.

Q: How can xit2 substantiate claims of superior service?

A: Don&#39t take our word for it, talk to our clients. Our last quarterly survey of 6,000 registered users showed that over 95% are satisfied or very satisfied with the services we provide. Not many outsourced service suppliers get that kind of response from their users.

We spend a great deal of time listening to clients and users. We have regular client strategy and review meetings and structured user surveys to find out how we can improve our services. We publish the user surveys in full as we believe that transparency and honesty build confidence and loyalty.

Q: Who are your clients? A: Lenders, mortgage brokers, packagers, surveyors, conveyancers, asset managers, contractors and estate agents. Among the lenders are Abbey National and ANMF, Northern Rock, Woolwich, Barclays, Cheltenham & Gloucester, Bristol & West, Bank of Ireland Mortgages and Stroud & Swindon.

Q: Which type of lender is more likely to use your services?

A: Our products are designed to be attractive across the board. Our applications are web-based with the ability to provide fully automated integration with lenders&#39 systems based on XML. We have just signed an agreement with Lynx Financial Systems to develop a fully automated interface between both the Valuation and Conveyancing Exchanges and the Lynx Summit system. This allows a large number of lenders to connect to our exchanges without bespoke development.

The lenders most likely to use our systems are the ones who are prepared to embrace change and the subsequent benefits. Being customer focussed is key, as is looking to optimise processes, improve response times and make cost savings.

Q: Which type of intermediary is likely to use your service?

A: Currently it is almost entirely mortgage packagers but developments underway mean that we will shortly appeal to all mortgage brokers. The Conveyancing Exchange has already generated a lot of interest from estate agency IFA groups. It is breaking new ground in that it will be the first third party real time online tracking system that automatically feeds from and into a lender&#39s mortgage processing system and the conveyancing solicitor&#39s case management system.

Q: What advantages and drawbacks does outsourcing offer lenders?

A: The biggest IT problem facing lenders is that a system developed over the next 18 months will be redundant on delivery. This phenomenon was recognised by those who predicted the introduction of Application Service Providers in the 1990s. ASPs will happen, but the market isn&#39t ready yet.

The advantage of outsourcing processes to an organisation like xit2 is that the lender gets 100% cost control and we can dedicate 100% of our time to developing the process and the software to drive it. We thrive on change. The Valuation Exchange is in its third rewrite in as many years to accommodate the latest lender requirements and to introduce developments that might raise some eyebrows next year.

Some of our successes have been halving the time to market for repossessions, halving the time to mortgage offer, taking tens of thousands of faxes per month out of lenders&#39 mortgage centres, replacing thousands of individual supplier cheques with one monthly BACS payment, removing thousands of unnecessary update and cancellation calls and producing real time quality management information. The ultimate service beneficiary is, of course, the borrower.

The main concern lenders have with outsourcing is the perceived loss of control. We say &#39perceived&#39 because our experience shows that more often than not we provide lenders with tighter controls and better information.

Q: How will you be affected by forthcoming mortgage regulation?

A: We are largely unaffected by mortgage regulations because we are purely data and process managers with no specific litigating, valuing or conveyancing role.

Xit2 is a privately-owned company founded in 1996 which provides web-based process management services to the lending community. xit2 started as a software house and developed The Repossession Exchange for Abbey National in 1997. It now operates the Valuation Exchange, which is in its third year of operation, and the Conveyancing Exchange, due to go live later this year. The Sellers Information Pack Exchange is in suspended animation pending November&#39s Queen&#39s speech.