Outsourcing Outshines In Pandemic

Bank of America (BofA) adds around 3,000 more jobs in India 

Outsourcing Outshines In Pandemic
PTI - 06 April 2021

The pandemic has not deterred job growth in India. Bank of America (BofA) has added around 3,000 more jobs in India during the pandemic, and the country has “outshone” the world because of its ability to thrive in chaos, a top official said.

The pandemic presented a chance to take leadership roles, as there were no business continuity plans (BCP) prepared for a scenario where the entire world gets locked in, the US-headquartered financial institution’s country head for India, Kaku Nakhate said speaking at an event hosted by CII.

“I think in this COVID time, we have been able to add around 3,000 jobs in India. We have taken a lot more work in India,” Nakhate said, adding other multinationals have also witnessed similar additions in jobs.

She cited the jump in retail and small business loans it has done in its home market of the US during the pandemic, pointing out that some of those loads have come into India.

It can be noted that typically, a lot of multinationals deploy staff in India to carry out critical back-office work on processes from India because of the cost advantage.

“India outshone many of the other countries…Indians can thrive in chaos and I think this is the first time in the world where everybody had to thrive in chaos, processes had to be invented and I think that is where (India outshone),” Nakhate said.

The bank is reported to have 23,000 people working out of what it calls global business centres Mumbai, Hyderabad, Gurugram, and Chennai, and has also opened an office in the GIFT City, to carry out activities for its worldwide operations.

Nakhate said the first task after Covid struck was to create ecosystems that can sustain client interaction, which was followed by strategies to ensure employee safety and wellness.

The global presence of the bank gave it a lead because, by the time the lockdowns happened in India, it had processes in place on how to operate, she said.

The first fortnight after the lockdown was devoted to own staff, movement of critical systems to homes, and making large corporates understand about liquidity preservation, availing credit lines, and building resilience, she said.

She said India took time to announce the loan repayment moratorium and also the non-performing assets recognition norms, and added that in the face of fears about a rating downgrade, the bank also spoke to the Finance Ministry, RBI and Sebi.

The targeted long-term repo operations (TLTRO) facility opened by the RBI was a welcome move and got the local debt markets going, she added.

Nakhate also appreciated the role played by private equity funds by pumping in over USD 47 billion into Indian enterprises during the pandemic.

She said corporate boards have started discussing the environment, social, and governance (ESG) themes, but need to do a lot more on diversity and inclusion.

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