What are the In-House Call Center in the Philippines?
AIG, JPMorgan expanding BPO operations here despite crisis
BY PAOLO LUIS G. MONTECILLO
MARIA ELOISA I. CALDERON
September 24, 2008
THE LOCAL outsourcing operations of troubled US insurance firm American International Group (AIG) and financial giant JPMorgan Chase Co. will continue expanding here despite mounting concerns of a slump in the world�s largest economy.
AIG-Business Processing Services, Inc. (BPSI), which has operations in the Philippines handling all customer service requirements of its parent, said it does not expect demand to slow down. The company is hiring 1,700 more workers for a third business process outsourcing (BPO) site.
Despite the downturn, there is still a huge opportunity since AIG is still the largest insurance company in the world, AIG-BPSI Chief Executive Officer Chris Duncan-Webb told executives at the Asia CEO Forum in Makati.
In a separate briefing, JPMorgan said it was expanding its BPO operations here to serve its American credit card clientele.
Chase, the New York-based financial giant�s brand for its credit card services, yesterday opened its 14,050-seat call center facility, which will be housed at the New Quad Building in Fort Bonifacio in Taguig City.
The launch marks the first phase of JPMorgan�s expansion plans in the country, five years after it tapped the Philippines for its offshore backroom operations. JPMorgan has been housed at the Philamlife Tower in Makati City since 2003.
Last week, the US Federal Reserve extended a lifeline worth $85 billion in loans � designed to help AIG meet its obligations and prevent its collapse � in exchange for an 80% stake in the company.
Fed officials said they had to act because of AIG�s extensive involvement in financial markets.
Through its insurance, risk and asset management businesses, AIG has dealings with thousands of companies all over the world, so a bankruptcy would have had huge global repercussions.
As a result of the US home loan mortgage crisis, AIG has lost more than $18 billion since the year started. Its share price has fallen by more than 90%.
On the other hand, JPMorgan did not sustain as much damage from the US subprime mortgage mess by avoiding bad mortgage investments and focusing instead on its commercial and retail banking businesses.
AIG�s Mr. Duncan-Webb said the company had set up its third BPO site in Muntinlupa City, which is expected to more than double the company�s employees.
BPSI, which has 1,200 workers now, is planning to add 1,700 more employees when the site opens in December.
He said the company had prepared the site ahead of the need, in anticipation of higher demand from its parent in the next few years.
Mr. Duncan-Webb said the Philippines has an incredible future ahead of it, even with its small operations in the global BPO sector.
He said the country is a good investment site for the long term. The company, he added, is confident that demand for its services from AIG would not slow down.
He also said outsourcing services have evolved into knowledge-based services from regular call center operations.
Mr. Duncan-Webb said AIG would find it hard to bring the outsourced services back to the US, where labor costs are higher.
The insurance firm is a Fortune 500 company that has over a trillion dollars in assets and around 74 million clients in 130 countries.
Meanwhile, JPMorgan said its expansion attests to its increased optimism in the Philippine economy.
Over the years, JP Morgan will be a top employer here. This marks only the first phase of our expansion in the Philippines. The best is yet to come, Barry E. Marshall, JPMorgan senior country operations officer, said at yesterday�s ribbon-cutting ceremony.
Our investment in this facility showed that we�ve done well, said Michael J. Looney, JP Morgan card service operations executive.
JPMorgan plans to grow its call center manpower to 24,000 in the long term, starting off with 2,000 by yearend. It now has 1,300 workers.
It depends on where customer demand is, Mr. Looney said in an interview. We will need more staff as we grow the business, he added.
The credit card arm of JPMorgan has around 50 million customers in the US. While admitting that it has been a more challenging year � with more Americans defaulting in their loan payments and the widening credit squeeze in the US dampening consumer demand � Mr. Looney was bullish about growing their credit card portfolio.
We�re not immune to [defaults]. But we�re well positioned to weather the crisis, he said.
JP Morgan has veered away from subprime mortgage-related investments, shielding it from the financial crisis that had led to the collapse of America�s financial market pillars like Lehman Brothers.
The Philippines wants to corner a 10% share of the projected $130-billion BPO market by 2010. Business process outsourcing was a $3.3-billion industry as of 2007, with 120 companies employing at least 200,000 workers.
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Comprehensive Medical Insurance (HMO)
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Performance Evaluation Increases
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Company sponsored Team Building Activities
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