Encouraged by the quality of work and savings at its initial outsourcing operations in India, Bank of America Corp has announced the opening of its second unit in India in Mumbai which will work largely for the global corporate and investment banking unit.
Describing the second unit, to be opened in summer in Mumbai, as 'the next generation' of work and part of the bank's Continuum Solutions subsidiary, the bank's top official said it will do market research and prepare presentations for bank executives working with corporate clients.
The bank's initial outsourcing operation in Hyderabad has 'exceeded expectations,' Barbara Desoer, the bank's top technology executive, said.
At Hyderabad, the bank was not only able to hire more highly skilled workers than expected, but those workers had also learned their jobs faster than anticipated.
"The Hyderabad early learnings have been very positive and have enabled us to deliver more effectively to customers and shareholders than we would have expected," Desoer said.
The Hyderabad operation, which started with handling of corporate accounts has added working with consumer accounts, a sore point with outsourcing critics.
In Hyderabad, workers mostly reconcile accounts, tracking down every penny in the millions of transactions the third-largest American bank handles around the world every day.
The combined Indian operations are expected to employ 1,500 people by year's end. That's the maximum number the bank said last year that it would have within three years in Hyderabad.
At 1,500, Continuum would represent less than 1 per cent of the bank's global work force of 175,000. However, the expansion in India comes as workers worry about continuing job cuts from last year's FleetBoston Financial Corp acquisition.
The bank won't say how much it has saved in Hyderabad or expects to save in Mumbai, but Desoer told the Charlotte Observer, a North Carolina paper, that there have been pleasant surprises.
For example, one team identified a way to slash processing time on about half of the transactions it handled, saving time and money. Those improvements have been implemented at other bank locations.
Desoer credits Indian culture and schools that emphasize math, science and engineering -- all requiring logical, process-oriented thinking.
"It is a focus on really understanding and challenging every step of the process," she said. "They just thrive on the opportunity to look for improvements."