Needless to say, the outsourcing is bad news for an already hurting US call center industry, which has shed some 500,000 jobs during the past four years—about 10 percent of the total. The CWA hopes to reverse this trend by pushing the US Call Center and Consumer Protection Act, a bill that would make any company that outsources call center jobs ineligible for federal loans and grants.
Bank of America, which last fall announced plans to lay off 30,000 workers, is about to go on a hiring spree—overseas.
America’s second-largest bank is relocating its business-support operations to the Philippines, according to a high-ranking Filipino government official recently quoted in the Filipino press. The move, which includes a portion of the bank’s customer service unit, comes less than three years after Bank of America received a $45 billion federal bailout.
Roman Romulo, deputy majority leader of the Philippine House of Representatives, bragged to the Manila Standard Today earlier this month that the Philippines “has secured its place as the world’s fastest-growing outsourcing hub.” Romulo pointed out that BofA is the last of the “big four” US banks to move their business-support network to his island nation, where the average family makes $4,700 a year.
A spokesman for Bank of America, Mark Pipitone, was unable to provide additional information about the bank’s offshoring plans on Friday. “We have employees and operations where we can ensure that we best serve our customers and clients,” he told me in an email.
The bank’s outsourcing comes amid rising concerns about the security of customers’ financial data in the hands of foreign contractors. In March, undercover reporters for England’s Sunday Times met in India with “IT consultants” who claimed they were call center workers and offered to sell them credit card and medical information for 500,000 Britons—including account holders at major banks such as HSBC.