Wells Fargo Outsourcing Jobs To India, Philippines To Cut Costs

CHARLOTTE, N.C., June 20 (Reuters) - Wells Fargo & Co , the fourth-largest U.S. bank by assets, is looking to move some jobs outside the United States as it pushes forward with a company-wide cost-cutting program, a spokeswoman said on Wednesday.

The bank is considering sending work in its retirement division, technology areas and other business lines to India and the Philippines, spokeswoman Bridget Braxton said. She declined to say how many jobs could be lost.

The Charlotte Observer reported earlier on Wednesday that Wells Fargo was preparing to outsource jobs in its institutional retirement division to India and the Philippines, citing an internal memo sent to employees.

Braxton said the San Francisco-based bank could also shift positions within the United States and is examining which markets are the most "economically attractive."

A global workforce could also help it meet the demands of clients worldwide who want round-the-clock service, she said.

Wells Fargo had about 265,000 full-time employees at the end of the first quarter. The vast majority will continue to based in the United States, Braxton said.

Wells Fargo has told investors it aims to reduce quarterly expenses by about $1.7 billion to $11.25 billion by the end of this year.

The bank has said it would consolidate technology units and streamline staff functions as part of the efficiency initiative, called Project Compass.

David Carroll, Wells Fargo's head of wealth management, brokerage and retirement services, told Reuters in February his business was looking at areas where it could use less expensive workers overseas, mostly for back-office processing tasks.

His business has about 35,000 employees, with about 500 in India and Chile, he said at the time. Financial services firms often shift technology and processing tasks offshore.

In 2006, Wells Fargo opened a "technology resource center" in India's Hyderabad to provide software development. Wachovia, which Wells Fargo acquired in 2008, began partnering with Indian outsourcing firms such as Genpact Ltd in 2005.

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