Washington, DC – As Wells Fargo runs a multi-million dollar advertising blitz, “Earning Back Your Trust,” designed to convince American consumers that it’s now a responsible actor, the company is continuing to offshore U.S.-based call center jobs to the Philippines. This despite Wells Fargo being the single biggest bank to benefit from the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act," passed last December, and explicit calls from lawmakers asking the bank to reinvest in American workers.
Already in June, Wells Fargo has announced several hundred new layoffs of American call center workers in Reno, Nevada and Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, on the heels of more than 700 call center layoffs in Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Washington announced by Wells Fargo last fall. These layoffs are directly tied to the company’s ramped up presence in the Philippines, where Wells Fargo’s call center presence grew from just 100 in 2011 to more than 4,000 today, with plans to expand to an additional 7,000 employees.
The continued call center offshoring by Wells Fargo means the company is determined to ignore explicit calls from lawmakers asking the bank to reinvest in its American workforce. For example, Senator Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) issued a letter to Wells Fargo CEO Tim Sloan in May and Senator Bob Casey (D-Penn.) issued a letter in January. These lawmakers also have expressed concern that the Republican tax bill will encourage and reward additional offshoring by rewarding profits made overseas – a point echoed by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) assessment of the tax bill.
According to Shane Larson, Legislative Director for the Communications Workers of America (CWA), “If Wells Fargo really wants to ‘earn back the trust’ of the American public, maybe they shouldn’t be offshoring hundreds of American jobs while spending millions of dollars on a new ad campaign that spreads a message directly at odds with their continued real world practices.”
Following the new call center layoffs, Wisconsin elected officials have been calling for answers and accountability from Wells Fargo and proposing important reforms. Last week, Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.) issued a letter to CEO Sloan, expressing concern and calling on the bank to reverse the call center closure in Wisconsin. In addition, Senator Baldwin has called on President Trump to sign an executive order protecting American call center jobs and to support the bipartisan U.S. Call Center Worker and Consumer Protection Act, introduced in both the U.S. House and Senate.
Additionally, during markup of the Financial Services-General Government bill in the Appropriations Committee last week, Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Wisc.) drew attention to an amendment he had offered during the Dodd-Frank deregulatory bill debate that was blocked from consideration by Republicans. Rep. Pocan’s amendment would helped rein in bank offshoring by ensuring that any financial institutions 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 legislation and would remain subject to stricter federal oversight. House Republican leaders’ blockage of the Pocan amendment from consideration followed Senate Republicans’ earlier rejection of a similar amendment proposed by Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) during debate of the bill in the Senate.