Bank of America opens Guangzhou ops hub

The US bank will process trade transactions through the new hub. Some job losses in Hong Kong and Singapore.

Bank of America has announced the opening of a new operations hub in southern China's city of Guangzhou, making it the number two hub for Asian operations after Hong Kong.

The centre will process trade finance business generated by the bank's Singapore and Hong Kong branches, plus some of the processing activity currently performed by its Hong Kong hub on behalf of its network of regional branches.

The centre is scheduled to be operational by the end of 2003 and will employ about 100 local staff. That means there will be about 60 people made redundant in Hong Kong and another eight in Singapore.

Head of operations for Bank of America in Asia, Dennis Arnum, says the bank has attempted to keep job losses to a minimum by offering positions in the new centre to associates in Hong Kong with the right skills. "During the next few months we will be working closely with our associates and offering support during the transition," says Arnum.

Arnum says the Guangzhou centre is needed to handle the growth in transaction volumes at the bank. "The average annual growth of our transactional banking volumes over the past few years has been over 20% and we forecast a continuing growth trend," he says.

Guangzhou was chosen because of its cost effectiveness and access to a large pool of local talent. China is also one of the biggest areas of business growth for Bank of America, making it a logical place to concentrate resources, says Colm McCarthy, president of Bank of America in Asia.

"Positioning Guangzhou as a support location for Bank of America's is a key part of our regional growth strategy," says McCarthy. "This is both an exciting and challenging time for our operations team."