Bank of America Joins the Big Bank Off-Shoring Party

American Workers Left Behind Once Again By Wall Street as BoA Joins Other ?Too Big To Fail? Banks in Shipping Call Center Jobs Overseas to the Philippines ? A Nation Lacking Basic Information Security Protections
Monday, May 14, 2012

Washington, DC – Disturbing news out of the Philippines highlights the fact that “too big to fail” titan Bank of America is moving its call center operations to the Philippines – joining the other leading Wall Street banks in once again leaving American workers behind in a pursuit of profits at any cost. Further, the fact that the Filipino call center industry lacks basic security precautions to protect Americans’ financial information from fraudulent activity that has become commonplace in foreign call centers demands further scrutiny.

As an article from the Philippines notes, Bank of America is “the last of "Big 4" American banks to relocate business support services to the Philippines, according to House Deputy Majority Leader Roman Romulo. Other US banks that have moved support services to the Philippines are JPMorgan Chase & Co., Citigroup Inc., and Wells Fargo & Co.”

According to Communications Workers of America (CWA) Chief of Staff Ron Collins, “It’s bad enough that Big Banks’ irresponsible actions helped to cripple the global economy, devastate millions of homeowners and leave working Americans and taxpayers holding the bag. Now, they are doubling down on their profits-at-any-cost mindset. And again, American families, communities, and consumers will pay the price.”

The article also notes that the Filipino government is putting the final touches on legislation that would require “public and private companies to protect the integrity and confidentiality of any personal information collected from their clients, in compliance with international privacy standards.”

According to Collins, “What does it say that the Filipino call center industry has already become the world’s leading location of off-shored call center jobs despite NOT having these basic protections already in place? With disturbing revelation after disturbing revelation of fraud against Americans committed from these international call centers, it’s past time that we demanded a new level of accountability over where companies are sending our personal financial information. The fact that none of the leading Wall Street banks apparently saw fit to wait until the Filipino call center industry adhered to basic privacy standards tells us all we need to know about the banks’ concern for Americans’ information and security.”

Today’s news comes at a time of rising public anger against these Big Banks. For example, just last week, nearly 1,000 Americans protested at the Bank of America annual meeting in Charlotte.

Citing a growing number of security questions surrounding overseas call centers, CWA recently released an updated version of its report detailing the links between the off-shoring of call center jobs and a range of serious negative effects on U.S. consumers and job seekers, including placing Americans’ financial information at risk.

Many of the problems cited in the CWA report are addressed by the U.S. Call Center Worker and Consumer Protection Act. With more than 120 co-sponsors, the bipartisan legislation sponsored by Rep. Tim Bishop (D-NY) and Rep. Dave McKinley (R-WV) would ban taxpayer dollars in the form of federal grants or guaranteed loans to American companies that move call center jobs overseas. The legislation would also require call center employees to disclose their location to U.S. consumers and transfer that call to a U.S.-based center if requested by the consumer, as well as require that a list of companies that off-shore their call center work be made available to the public.

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Contact: Candice Johnson or Elizabeth Schilling, CWA Communications, 202-434-1168

or cjohnson@cwa-union.org or eschilling@cwa-union.org