Dubai-based Mashreq Bank will increase its India research and development (R&D) headcount by two-thirds by the end of this year to 1,000 employees, a top official told TechCircle.
Mashreq Global Services' Bengaluru office is the bank's only technology centre outside Dubai. It was set up 12 years ago and has around 600 employees, up from 150 till mid-2018.
"We are expanding the scope of the engineering centre as we increasingly move more of our services in-house rather than outsourcing these to our IT partners," said Santhosh Mahalingam, managing director at Mashreq Global Services.
"We see technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML) and analytics play an important role as we digitise more of our operations and it is better to own the intellectual property of these technologies."
The bank, which has retail operations in 12 countries including India, works with IT services firms Wipro, TCS, IBM, Virtusa and Oracle apart from a few startups for specialised services.
While Mashreq was earlier doing only application development, the R&D centre will take up work in areas of operations, information security, analytics, regulatory compliance and underwriting, Mahalingam said.
Mashreq had recently decided to close half of its branches in Dubai as more customers move to digital services, catered from the Bengaluru centre. While more than 10,000 accounts are opened digitally, only 300 are opened at a branch location, the company said.
Mahalingam, who has been with the bank for five years, moved to Bengaluru last year as the managing director of MGS. He said that the bank's ATM operations and cheque clearance are automated and run out of the India centre.
Many large companies are increasingly setting up their own innovation and technology centres like Mashreq. Other large global financial services firms like Goldman Sachs, Standard Chartered, Societe Generale among others have such centres in India.
Earlier this month, a Nasscom-Zinnov report said that global capability centres (GCCs) run by large multinationals in India generated $28.3 billion in value for the financial year ended March 2019, up from $19.4 billion for 2014-15. A GCC is an insourced, employee-based alternative to the traditional outsourced IT services model.