Barclaycard has announced plans to close its customer contact centre in Manchester and offshore some of the work to India.
The announcement comes just days after Lloyds TSB bank went public with a move in the opposite direction, closing its call centre in Mumbai, India, and allowing customers to ring their local branches directly.
The Manchester centre will close in July, with the loss of 630 jobs and its work will be transferred to Barclaycard's facilities on Teesside and in Mumbai and Delhi, India. A planned move to new premises elsewhere in Manchester has been abandoned.
Barclaycard chief executive Antony Jenkins said: “Decisions like these are never easy and we will be doing everything we can to support those affected. Barclaycard's business is becoming more global and, to stay successful, we must change how we operate to reflect this.”
Preliminary annual financial results for parent company Barclays Bank released last month showed that pre-tax profits for the Barclaycard business had plummeted 40% from £640m in 2005 to £382m last year. The company said profits had been hit by industry-wide impairment pressures in UK cards and unsecured loans.
A spokesperson for Barclaycard said the move of contact centre work was aimed at “making sure our processes are working in an effective way both for cardholders in the UK and in the rest of the world”.
She denied that the shift had been made because it would be cheaper, but said: “It’s streamlining our operations and the organisational restructure will ensure we are able to continue to operate effectively.”