Wes Slocum of Accenture Credit Services: Reflections on an Incredible Year

Wes Slocum is Managing Director with Accenture’s Mortgage BPO business. He is based in Charlotte, N.C., and has been with Accenture for nearly 20 years.

Wes Slocum

The mortgage industry is one of the best rollercoasters you will ever ride and there is no better example of that than 2022. A year that started out on a high from record-breaking originations, has now come to a close with the industry taking a long look at how to press forward.  At first blush, the next two years are likely to be challenging, but I lean more towards the optimistic view and see this time period as one filled with opportunity.

When volumes are high it is easy to overlook the rising mortgage manufacturing costs.  Today’s costs are roughly $10k per loan, that is a 53% increase since 2Q 2020[1]. With the significant drop in volumes, cost becomes the glaring line item, leading most to difficult decisions around cost reduction and operational efficiency.  Reducing capacity is not the only lever available to respond to these challenges and without additional actions, most will continue to live the loop of abundance and scarcity. 

There is a delicate equilibrium that needs to be achieved; organizations need to be able to scale, up and down, more efficiently and cost effectively. Do you have the correct tools in place (e.g., workflow, analytics, etc.) to create an efficient and scalable delivery model from the start?   In other words, what fulfillment costs in your operation can you convert from fixed to variable? Questions to consider as you review your organization:

  • Are we leveraging skilled people resources globally?
  • Have we made the right operating model changes to fully benefit from the technology investments?
  • Have we established strategic partnerships to help us navigate the future?
  • How are we improving our positioning to scale when the time comes?

Our colleague Mike Abbott, Accenture’s Senior Managing Director and Global Banking Lead, suggests in Accenture’s Banking Top 10 Trends for 2022, “smart operations put zero in their sights”.  What does this mean broadly?  It means that “artificial intelligence and machine learning in banking now surpass humans in some tasks”.  We believe that by applying the right technologies, we can help bring zero waste operations within reach. 

Thank you to my colleague Audra Agen for her contributions to this post. 

(Views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect policy of the Mortgage Bankers Association, nor do they connote an MBA endorsement of a specific company, product or service. MBA NewsLink welcomes your submissions. Inquiries can be sent to Mike Sorohan, editor, at msorohan@mba.org; or Michael Tucker, editorial manager, at mtucker@mba.org.)

[1] MBA Strategies to ensure productivity and profitability 10-25-22