Barclays merger will move 10,800 jobs to India

U.K. bank Barclays will move almost 11,000 jobs to India to cut costs, following a giant merger with Dutch bank ABN Amro announced Monday

U.K. bank Barclays will move 10,800 jobs to India following a giant merger announced Monday with ABN Amro, part of an effort to generate billions of euros in annual savings.

The bank announced Monday that it planned to buy Dutch bank ABN Amro for about Euro 67 billion (AUD$109 billion), creating a European banking giant with more than 47 million customers, including 1.4 million businesses.

The banks hope to boost their profits by slashing annual costs by an estimated Euro 2.8 billion, or 10 percent, by 2010, mostly through job reductions, outsourcing and IT savings, they said.

More than half the savings, or 57 percent, will come from combining some of the banks' service operations and moving them to India and other low-cost locations, Barclays said.

That will mean a net reduction of 12,800 jobs, and 10,800 positions moved elsewhere, of a combined workforce of 217,000.

The cuts will be made over three years through redundancies and attrition, Barclays said. It acknowledged the "difficult consequences" for affected workers and said it will need to negotiate the layoffs with local unions and regulators.

Savings from telecoms and IT will amount to about 29 percent of the total, or Euro 812 million, including hardware, software and development, the banks said. They plan to consolidate their data centers and IT support networks and use ABN Amro's trade and payments back office system.

Both companies use financial software from SAP, according to SAP's Web site, which could make the integration process less complicated.

The companies will have to spend first in order to achieve the savings: They expect pre-tax integration costs of Euro 3.6 billion between now and 2010 to achieve the "synergy benefits" of the deal, they said.

It's the latest of several outsourcing projects by European banks. ABN Amro had already announced in 2005 that it would cut 1,500 jobs and outsource its IT operations through outsourcing deals worth Euro 1.8 billion (AUD$2.9 billion) over five years. Most of the business went to IBM, with smaller deals for Accenture Ltd. and the Indian companies Infosys Technologies, Tata Consultancy Services and Patni Computer Systems.

In December, ING Group signed deals worth Euro 750 million over seven years to provide telephony and PC support services for its 53,000 employees in Europe. Those deals went to Royal KPN, Getronics, Atos Origin and Accenture.

As part of this latest deal, ABN Amro will sell its Chicago-based LaSalle Bank to Bank or America for US$21 billion, the companies said. The combined company will be called Barclays and have headquarters in Amsterdam. The deal must be approved by ABN Amro shareholders and is expected to close in the fourth quarter, the companies said.

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