Monday 3 May 2021 7:59 am

India's Covid crisis makes Barclays and other banks to shift call centre operations back to UK

Barclays has announced it will shift some of its Indian call centre operations back to the UK as staff in the South-Asian country are struggling to cope with the ongoing Covid-19 crisis.

A range of other UK and US banks and companies are mulling to do the same, according to multiple media reports in India this weekend.

Barclays employs more than 20,000 people in India but many have been forced to stay at home to look after family members as the country’s death toll soars, the bank’s chief executive Jes Staley explained.

“One of the shifts was on our call centre people in the UK. Our people in our branches really stepped up. Historically we have not used branch personnel to take incoming call centre calls,” he added.

Permanent shift

Staley stressed the shift will be permanent as it is to remain in place post-pandemic.

“We went to all of our branch personnel said ‘Would you mind, if you’re not busy, letting us direct a call to a call centre to you in the branch to help a consumer?’ and people stepped up right away, and that’s an exercise we will continue, even past the pandemic,” he explained.

Staley added that Barclays has sent money via its charitable foundation to support the efforts in the country.

He further said that the flexibility shown by employees throughout the pandemic also means the company is unlikely to need so much office space, following in the footsteps of rival banks which have implemented hybrid working.

A review of its offices is under way, and Staley said he expects to see a hybrid working model in the future.