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UK's Lloyds to move 1,500 jobs to India

September 25, 2003 19:23 IST

Despite protests from a section of trade unions, more British financial services jobs are destined for India with Lloyds TSB announcing that 1,500 jobs will be created in Bangalore and Hyderabad by the end of next year.

A spokesman of the high street bank said that a pilot programme it began in Bangalore in May to process new bank accounts and credit card applications had been highly successful, convincing management that a larger operation could provide a swift and effective service to its customers.

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As a result, Lloyds TSB will expand the Bangalore site, where it currently has 250 staff, and build a new operation in Hyderabad.

In a staff memo, the Lloyds Bank said: "The staff involved in the small-scale operation have proven, through their enthusiasm and commitment, that it is possible to work well as one extended team, regardless of location, and to provide customer service levels at least comparable with the United Kingdom."

Mike Fairey, deputy group chief executive of Lloyds TSB, did not rule out job losses in the UK as a result of the decision to expand in India.

"At this time we cannot be precise about the likely impact on jobs in the UK. Any reductions in staff numbers will be achieved through natural wastage, reductions in temporary and agency staff, by redeploying people, and where appropriate, by offering voluntary redundancy," he said in a memo to the bank's 79,000 staff.

Meanwhile, another bank Abbey National, which is undertaking a 25 million re-branding exercise to become 'Abbey,' said it too was setting up on the subcontinent.

Luqman Arnold, chief executive of Abbey National, said none of the bank's current 27,000 staff would lose their jobs this year as a result of a new pilot operation in India.

Instead, he highlighted 150 jobs that would be created in call centres and 450 in branches as part of an effort to boost customer service.

A spokesman for banking union Unifi, Dai Davies, said: "Most of them are running pilot schemes employing, between 150 and 250 people in India. If they are as efficient as the one Lloyds TSB is running, there will be a lot more of this."

According to Unifi, about 20,000 of Lloyds TSB's 79,000 staff work in these operations in Britain.

Lloyds TSB currently operates six large call centres in Glasgow, Newcastle, Sunderland, Newport, Bridgend and Swansea, plus numerous smaller ones for subsidiaries.

The Bank said the Indian jobs being created could include back-office processing and work currently carried out by British call centres.

It said it plans to build the Indian operation in stages and will undertake a further detailed evaluation at the end of next year. Operations that could be affected by the move include Lloyds TSB's Scottish Widows, Cheltenham and Gloucester and general insurance subsidiaries.

Welcoming the news that no compulsory redundancies will be involved, Davies said "we want to make sure that Lloyds TSB continues its promise in May that no British jobs or call centres will be threatened by this move.

"Lloyds TSB has a staff turnover of 9,000 a year so it can manage this process very easily. There is no need to have any voluntary redundancies at all."

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