BNP Paribas seeks new offshore center as bank drives down costs

BNP Paribas reported weaker-than-expected debt-trading revenue in the fourth quarter (REUTERS)

BNP Paribas SA is scouring for a new low-cost location to house support staff as part of plans by the French bank to keep driving down costs under its new strategic plan. 

The Paris-based lender, which has long-standing technical and administrative operations in India and Portugal, wants to choose a third country to host more middle- and back-office employees, people familiar with the plans said. The lender aims to make a decision in the coming months, the people said, requiring anonymity as the plans aren’t public yet. 

BNP Paribas is set to unveil a new strategic plan on Feb. 8 in which efforts to trim costs are expected to feature. At the same time, the lender is considering boosting its payout ratio to 60% from 50%, rewarding investors after the lifting of pandemic-era restrictions on dividends. 

A spokeswoman for BNP Paribas declined to comment on the considerations. 

The lender had about 10,900 employees in India as of the end 2020, and some 6,585 people in Portugal. Smaller support operations exist in other countries.

Further cost-cutting efforts are under way in Italy. BNP’s Italian unit Banca Nazionale del Lavoro SpA is spinning off its back office and IT activities by selling them to specialized firms which have the benefit of scale, can make the needed investments and improve the quality of service for clients, according to people with knowledge of the matter. 

BNL reached separate accords to sell the IT business to Capgemini SE and the back office operations to Accenture PLC, the people said asking to not be named because the process is private. As part of the accords, about 900 employees will move to the new entities and the Italian bank has signed outsourcing accords to get services from them.

Workers at BNL went on strike for the first time since the 1990s on Dec. 27 to protest back-office and IT staff cuts. A new strike is scheduled for Jan. 24, unions said in a statement. 

This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.


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