Sen. Elizabeth Warren Offers Amendment to "Bank Lobbyist Act" to Crack Down on Bank Offshoring

New Amendment Filed After Release of CWA Report Detailing Bank Offshoring Practices and Implications
Monday, March 12, 2018

Washington, DC – Following the release of CWA’s report on big bank offshoring practices last week,Senator Elizabeth Warren has introduced a new amendment that would crack down on some of the banks who are the biggest practitioners of offshoring and add more accountability to the offshoring process.

Senator Warren’s amendment (S. Amdt. 2061) to the big bank deregulation bill currently before the U.S. Senate, S. 2155, commonly known as the “Bank Lobbyist Act,” would ensure that “any financial institution that has outsourced more than 50 jobs” in any year over the past five years would be ineligible for some of the deregulatory provisions in the new legislation. Sen. Warren’s amendment also would create a list of financial institutions that outsource more than 50 jobs in any given year, with the list compiled and maintained by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, in consultation with the U.S. Secretary of Labor.

The new amendment comes on the heels of the release of the new CWA report, co-authored with the Committee for Better Banks (CBB), detailing numerous examples of how the banking industry has been laying off American workers, especially in the call center industry, while ramping up operations overseas in low-wage countries (access a copy of the new report here). Despite the offshoring practices detailed in the report, and the financial windfall the banking industry is set to gain through the Republican’s December 2017 tax bill, there is no movement from the big banks to return jobs from overseas. In fact, leading analysts believe that the tax bill will encourage the additional offshoring of American jobs.

Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Ranking Member of the Senate Banking Committee, joined Communications Workers of America (CWA) President Chris Shelton and affected call center workers on a press call last week to discuss the bank offshoring trend and consequences (access press release with speaker quotes and audio link to press call here).

The new CWA report includes a detailed look of the offshoring practices of Wells Fargo and Capital One, both of which have engaged in recent rounds of layoffs of American call center workers while ramping up operations overseas in the Philippines. The report also offers examples of American layoffs and overseas operations for a host of other too-big-to-fail and large regional U.S. banks and financial institutions –Ally Financial, American Express, Bank of America, Citi, Citizens Bank, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase, M&T, Morgan Stanley, State Street, and SunTrust, many of which would be among the biggest beneficiaries of the Bank Lobbyist Act. It also offers a snapshot of Equifax’s call center presence overseas, an underappreciated storyline as observers try to piece together their massive security breach and bolster prevention. By design, corporate offshoring often takes place without accountability and transparency. As a result, the details of American layoffs and expanded operations overseas are just examples and evidence of this larger trend – we expect that the actual numbers of jobs offshored are even higher.

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