The coronavirus situation in India is devastating. We’ve all seen the pictures and heard the mounting numbers. It’s horrific for the Indian people and our sincerest sympathies and best wishes go out to them.
 
And without wanting to sound trite or disrespectful, the situation in India is likely to also have an impact on your bank. Most Aussies aren’t aware that Australian banks rely heavily on Indian workforces, beyond just their call centres.
 
Why? Because Indian workers are cheaper than Australian workers, especially for back-office and call centre staff. One major Australian bank employs tens of thousands of Indians to run its IT centre in Bangalore, for example.
 
It follows that our banks, along with many other businesses, are going to be negatively affected as their Indian workforces adjust to working from home, or not working at all.

So what does it mean for you?
 
Anything that’s usually handled in India will likely be impacted, including document preparation, certifications and settlements. In particular, you can expect to see delays in end-to-end loan applications.
 
Mortgage brokers are already pulling their hair out due to the delays, as in many cases the buck stops with them. However, customers going direct to the banks may be cushioned from this, as in-house resources are ramped up.
 
All of the banks have committed to a range of initiatives to support customers and minimise disruptions. Workload is being balanced across operations sites, an escalations process has been established, specific teams have been re-aligned to enhance operational effectiveness, and since last year banks have on-shored a significant amount of previously off-shored functions. This is continuing as quickly as possible.
 
The unfortunate reality though, is that due to the gravity of the situation in India, delays are unavoidable. And I think now that we as consumers understand that, we can probably be a bit more tolerant of the delays.