Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ) plans to launch operations center in Manila, Philippines, to support its regional strategy following the deal to acquire Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) assets in six Asian countries.

The new center, which will be located in Makati City in Manila, will open in July 2010 and is expected to employ approximately 300 staff by the end of the year.

The Manila center will add further back office capability to ANZ’s four existing hubs in Melbourne, Wellington, Bangalore and Fiji and its two back office centres in Singapore and Hong Kong.

However, the move to open Manila center had stoked renewed concerns of a race to the bottom on labour costs among members of Finance Sector Union (FSU).

Saying that the move would come at a cost, with up to 100 banking jobs lost from Australian and New Zealand operations, mostly in Victoria, Leon Carter, national secretary of FSU, said:”The union supported Australian finance companies exporting Australian financial services. But this should be done with an eye to creating more jobs in Australia.”

Alex Thursby, CEO of ANZ Asia Pacific, Europe and America, said: “With the growth of our business in Asia Pacific, it makes sense for us to open an operations hub in the Philippines. It is one of the world’s leading business processing destinations and builds on our existing presence in the Philippines.

“In the past two years we have doubled the size of our business in Asia through organic growth and through acquisition. We have tripled the number of branches in Asia, doubled the number of staff and added almost two million new customers.

“The Manila hub will allow us to tap into Manila’s large, well-educated workforce to help support our continuing growth in the region. It will also provide greater geographic diversity for our operation support functions.”

Panadda Manoleehakul, CEO of ANZ Philippines, said: “The development of this operations centre is a further sign of our confidence in the Philippines and our commitment to investing here. It comes just four months after we acquired the RBS business in the Philippines.”