Smart mortgage team proves hot property

PUBLISHED : Friday, 23 June, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 23 June, 2006, 12:00am

WHEN THE PROPERTY market started to pick up last year, Hang Seng Bank sprang into action and recruited 130 fresh graduates to sell the bank's tailor-made mortgage packages.

The trainees had to be put through their paces in three months. During this period they were expected to gain a good understanding of a complex and increasingly sophisticated mortgage market.

'They did not understand mortgage, and most had no experience in buying property,' said Janice Li, Hang Seng's head of staff, training and development.

The training covered classroom study, putting the trainees through real-life situations, pairing them up with bank colleagues handling various financial products, and giving them back office duties.

A post-training survey showed that close to 90 per cent of the trainees were ready and confident to deliver mortgage services.

It was noted that during this period, customers were increasingly complimentary of the bank's services, and there was a significant drop in the number of complaints.

'The bank also registered an upward trend in mortgage [market] share,' Ms Li said.

In another programme qualified for the training award finalists, Hang Seng geared up trade service centre staff to cross-sell financial services for import and export businesses.

The training team was required to 'transform' three groups of people: those at management level who formulated strategies and action plans; middle managers who mobilised front-line staff to implement strategies; and the front-line staff.

The programme aimed to empower managers in the task of drawing up strategies, show middle managers that the business world was evolving and had to be seen as such, and help front-line workers to soft-sell services over the telephone.

It was noted that 94 to 95 per cent of the trainees identified with the bank's new business direction.

Also, they notched more than 83 per cent on the confidence index. Also, sales figures improved, thanks to cross-selling.