Kent Reliance to move more jobs to Asia

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The Independent Online

Kent Reliance Building Society is to press on with plans to outsource more back-office administration jobs to Asia, despite the controversy caused two years ago when the small, mutually owned savings account and mortgage provider moved more than 40 jobs to Bangalore in India.

The society, based in Chatham, announced yesterday it had awarded a £1m contract to the IT and networking specialist s2s. The consultant has been asked to design a high-speed computer network that will enable Kent Reliance to move more work overseas.

Mike Lazenby, the society's chief executive, said he was considering opening a second overseas administration site, with possible locations including India, Singapore and Sri Lanka.

"We're going to outsource everything we possibly can if it can be done better elsewhere," he said. "It's a more cost-effective way to do business and despite concerns about issues such as data protection, security is actually better offshore than in the UK."

Five years ago, Kent Reliance's assets totalled £400m and the society employed 150 staff. It has recorded faster growth than any other building society, with assets up to about £1.3bn, but now employs only 90 staff, 44 of whom are based in India.