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Home > Business > Business Headline > Report


eFunds takes BPO work back to US

Parvathy Ullatil in Mumbai | May 17, 2004 08:35 IST

The backlash in the United States against outsourcing has resurfaced with the Arizona-based business process outsourcing company eFunds forced to move a part of its Indian operations back to the US. 
 
Following the adoption of an anti-outsourcing Bill by Kansas state, prohibiting the offshoring of telephonic enquiries about its food stamp programme, eFunds will have to transfer the work it does for the Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services, Kansas, from its Indian facilities back to the US. 
 
eFunds operates call centres out of two cities in the US and Mumbai, Gurgaon and Chennai. 
 
It employs 3,500 people at its call centre operations, of which more than 3,000 work out of India. But the development won't affect employees because they will be redeployed to other projects, a public relations agency that handles the company's account said. 
 
An eFunds spokesman while confirming the development said: "Less than 10 per cent of all calls handled by eFunds for electronic benefits transfer (EBT) services for government agencies are escalated to a call centre agent; 90 per cent are handled by automated response units." 
 
The spokesman added that eFunds didn't offer government clients a standalone call centre service -- this was offered "in concert with other essential processing services." 
 
The Bill which was sponsored by the Kansas democratic legislator Tom Holland was passed in the Kansas Lower House with a 95-19 vote and by the Kansas Senate earlier this month. 
 
It has now been sent to the Governor for his signature. 
 
The Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services, Kansas, entered into a contract with eFunds in September 2002 to handle food stamp benefits and take clients' calls. 
 
Outsourcing became an issue in the legislature when it was revealed that Kansas' calls about food stamps were answered by call agents in India. 
 
eFunds offers three types of outsourcing solutions -- lowest cost call solution, where eFunds decides where the service is provided from; medium cost call solution where the state requires a US-based solution; and a high cost call solution where the state controls and defines the total solution. 
 
The Department of Social and Rehabilitation services will now move from a lowest cost solution to a higher one as a centre may have to be set up in Kansas. 
 
This is not the first case of its kind involving eFunds. 
 
In April 2003 the company was forced to shift its operation of handling calls for the Department of Human Services, New Jersey, from Mumbai to the US following a political outcry in the state.


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