Experts term Banking sector as one of the biggest client for BPO

Experts and stake holders concerned who gathered at the balcony of the Sonargaon Hotel on Thursday agreed on one thing that banking sector could be the biggest client of the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) sector after the government.

It was a session on BPO’s opportunity on the banking sector. Earlier on the same day, another session titled ‘government as a client’ was held where the speakers identified government as the best possible client for a growing BPO sector of a country.

Experts in that session however said that for the government to become the client of the BPO sector, bureaucratic red tape acts as one of the big hindrances and that’s not an easy thing to overcome in a country like Bangladesh all of a sudden.

But for banking sector to become BPO’s client, there is no such barrier. “But this sector is very sophisticated and the banks will feel reliable in outsourcing their activities only if they are guaranteed with utmost security”, said Abrar A Anwar, CEO of standard chartered bank in Bangladesh.

Speaking on the occasion as one of the distinguished panelists, Anwar said that banking sector is a very demanding sector and it requires top notch service. “So if a bank wants to outsource its activities, it first ensures that the reputation on which it is being build on would be upheld by the outsourcing party”.

He said that Bangladesh has huge potential because the main requirements in the BPO industry and is able human resources And Bangladesh has no lackings in that. “The big part of Bangladesh ‘s population is under 25 and they could be trained to do anything “.

He said that the primary goal of the BPO industry is creating an agile, multi-skilled international working force with a knowledge base to support wide range of banking products and services.

Fayezul Choudhury, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) also said that for a successful BPO industry, there is no option but to have an able human resources.

Choudhary, a former vice president of the World Bank flew in to Dhaka from London yesterday to attend the first ever BPO summit. “From the airport to this summit venue, the traffic clog is unbearable and this is something you have to keep in your mind while doing business with companies from other countries “.

He said that a businessman might find it very convenient to get down at Singapore airport and reach to a particular destination without facing any hassle. “This sort of infrastructure back up adds value in businesses like BPO”.

He also emphasized importance establishing proper infrastructure like redundant power supply, uninterrupted data connectivity, IT infra park facilities to provide the base for technology platforms supporting BPO.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr Atiar Rahman, Governor of Bangladesh Bank (BB) said, it is high time for us now to nurture grooming up of BPO entities in Bangladesh for outsourcing of the rapidly expanding data management and analytics processes of our growing banking sector.

He said that BPO is not new concept and has already taken off quite substantially in Bangladesh’s banking sector; with banks using wholesale and retail agent networks for Mobile phone/smart card/ATM based payment services, and using MFIs and other businesses in the agent banking mode in offering crop loans and other financial services.

“However, risk management, analytics and other allied data processing work continue to be handled by banks in their in-house IT platforms that have been or are being equipped with core banking software covering their entire branch networks”, he said.

He said that the challenge is more acute particularly for the newer and smaller banks, for them the acquisition costs of standalone core banking software platforms may be quite stiff relative to their modest current or likely near term portfolio sizes.

“This provides promising ground in our market for BPO platforms serving multiple client banks to emerge and flourish. It should be possible for the local bankers’ associations like the ABB and BAB and the locally active IT business entrepreneurs in the BACCO to work together in shaping up strategic partnerships in banking sector BPO entities”.

About the central bank’s role, he said over the past few years BB has spearheaded massive buildup of big data management and processing capacities within its own EDW, data center and data recovery center, work is progressing also on a proposed countrywide dedicated IT network exclusively for the banking sector.

“Some local and foreign private sector owned big data management platforms have also already emerged. Basic elements of institutional infrastructure required for emergence of banking related BPO service providing entities thus appear to be already in place, the government’s ICT Division can perhaps facilitate further with investments in 4G related IT infrastructures to provide seamless connectivity, including with neighboring countries”, he said.

Faisal Mahmud