Barclays increasing call centers in India

Wednesday, 18 August 2004, 07:00 Hrs
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LONDON: A British bank major is increasing its call centre involvement in India by buying a 50 percent stake in a processing centre in Mumbai.

More Barclays jobs from here are now expected to be moved to India.

The bank is paying 19 million pounds for its shares in Intelenet, which houses some of the employees processing work it already outsources to India.

The Barclays deal is a rare example of a big company buying into an operation that works for several firms.

The move came at a time when Forrester Research forecast that Britain would suffer 760,000 job losses by 2015. Forrester expects a million jobs to be outsourced from the entire European Union by 2010.

Other financial firms such as HSBC, Aviva and Lloyds TSB are outsourcing jobs to India. Now Britain's National Health Service is also considering sending blood and urine samples to the subcontinent for testing.

Barclays expects to put a "proportion" of its business through the operation in Mumbai, which it will run as a 50-50 joint venture with India's Housing Development Finance Corp (HDFC).

Intelenet, a 3,550-seat operation, also works for Standard Life Healthcare, AT&T Wireless and Household, the consumer finance arm of HSBC.

The bank refused to specify the number of people it would employ in India.

It already has a 200-seat capacity at Intelenet but uses only 103 of them. The Mumbai operation handles calls to Barclays' help desks for online banking and other electronic services.

Barclays has outsourced 464 posts to India but insists it has done so without any compulsory redundancies. It said outsourcing allowed it to "free up" staff to deal with customers.

Roger Davis, chief executive of Barclays UK banking arm, told the media the bank had an agreement with finance union Unifi about outsourcing.

"The objective is to enhance staff employability and minimise UK job losses as a result of offshore outsourcing, and it has been proved very successful," Davis said.

Source: IANS
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