Fraud Layoffs: Really?!

Fraud Layoffs

Fraud Layoffs: Really?!

Given how often it occurs, the news about layoffs in corporate America doesn’t even catch my eye anymore. Sad, but true. However, this story about fraud layoffs from the Orlando Sentinel did.

“SunTrust Banks Inc. is shuttering its fraud-response call center group in Orlando and shedding more than 100 jobs, the bank confirmed Wednesday.”

If the comedic Seth Myers were sitting at the SNL Weekend Update News Desk right now he’d be saying “fraud layoffs, REALLY?” Except this isn’t a laughing matter and Sun Trust’s timing is terrible.

Terrible Timing

Sun Trust decided to downsize their fraud call center. In light of their decision to do so, to frame our response properly, it’s imperative to think about the fraud, data and information risk climate in the financial services sector right now.

For those of you keeping score: currently, the number of massive attacks on financial services entities is on the rise, institutions are experiencing wholesale data loss and consumer PII is flying out the door. Consumers are now more concerned about their privacy, information safety and companies business practices than ever. Regulators have definitely taken notice and are scrutinizing financial services risk management practices in greater detail showing zero tolerance for first mistakes.

A good time to be laying off fraud employees? Not so much. Given the fraud climate there’s never really a good time for fraud layoffs but this is a terrible time. In fact, the timing couldn’t be worse.

What’s the Message

The message being conveyed to the public with these fraud layoffs is that Sun Trust cares more about profits and the bottom line than they do about consumers being victimized, their PII, the damage done to people’s lives and providing world-class customer service.

The jobs are going offshore. Sun Trust isn’t saying that but it’s what everyone, including me, is currently thinking right now.

Here’s what Sun Trust’s RIF is really saying:

Let’s increase our profits by whacking our U.S. labor costs and laying off employees. Surefire business way to increase profitability by using cheaper, offshore labor. Who cares about fraud anyway?!

The Problem with This Management Decision

While the fraud layoffs may be good for Sun Trust’s bottom line, consumers who’ve been defrauded or are having security issues, want to feel comfortable and reassured when talking to bank representatives about their issues. Knowing that you’re talking to a call center a world away, to folks who aren’t really vested in your problem and that you’re only doing so because the bank could care less about where the folks you’re speaking with work, is problematic to a growing population of the public.

Yet, businesses are doing it anyway. The blatant disregard for customer satisfaction and the customer experience is simply mind-boggling. These fraud layoffs are clearly a case of profits over people (both employees and customer’s).

So, if that message bothers you, and it should, then you have a choice.

The Bottom Line

Businesses have to be profitable. In the words of the trending commercials “Everyone knows that.” But did you know that “profitability doesn’t always have to be at the expense of back-end operational staff providing services to customers…the same customers who support your business and keep the doors open?”

While wholesale business unit cuts may be perceived as the way to go, don’t think for a minute that there isn’t risk in having your PII accessed offshore. Further, customer service excellence post fraud event is a necessity and offshoring it makes that problematic. The senior management at Sun Trust must not have “gotten the memo.”

It’s a target rich environment in the financial services sector right now but it’s clear, given this decision, that the CEO isn’t paying much attention to the rise of hard-hitting and damaging global crime events taking place as we speak. Sun Trust needs to wake up and smell the fraud. In this age of data and information theft, profits over people is not the message you want to be sending to the public. Not now, not ever.

Those are our insights. What are yours?