WELLS Fargo & Co. will maintain its business process outsourcing (BPO) presence in the country even as it leaves its Manila representative office to simplify the bank’s international operations.

“While we are closing our Philippines representative office, we will continue to operate our growing global capabilities center in Manila. We will continue to serve our customers in these countries from other global offices,” Rebecca Galarowicz, Communications Senior Consultant for Asia-Pacific Communications at Wells Fargo, said in an e-mail to BusinessWorld.

Last week, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) in Circular Letter No. CL-2021-045 noted the decision of Wells Fargo Bank, N.A.–Manila Representative Office to close its operations effective May 31.

Representative offices of foreign lenders serve as liaison offices that allow them to promote their services or products to the local market.

Ms. Galarowicz said the US lender is repositioning by strategizing its presence to “core client needs and capabilities.”

“We are adopting a centralized approach to supporting our clients, aligning strategic jurisdictions and physical locations to our core client needs and capabilities. This approach simplifies and strengthens our international platform, improves risk management, and creates a more efficient operating model — while helping us serve our clients more effectively,” she explained.

Bloomberg reported last year that Wells Fargo was planning to cut its work force in the Philippines to move some jobs to India and shift its technology employees in fewer locations.

Wells Fargo has remittance service partnerships for local financial institutions such as BDO Unibank, Inc., Philippine National Bank, Bank of the Philippine Islands, Metropolitan Bank & Trust. Co., as well as M Lhuillier Financial Services, Inc. and Cebuana Lhuillier.

The bank’s operations center in Bonifacio Global City, Taguig was established in 2011. It has since then evolved to provide risk, project management, data analytics, and finance and accounting services.

In April, Citigroup, Inc. also disclosed that it would exit its consumer banking business in 13 Asia-Pacific markets, including the Philippines, although it would maintain its local corporate banking presence.

BSP officials have stressed the local banking industry remains stable and well-capitalized despite the impact of the continuing crisis.

There are 11 representative offices of foreign banks left in the country, based on BSP’s directory. The Korea Development Bank in April has also shut its liaison office in the Philippines. — Luz Wendy T. Noble