3:00pm Friday 31st May 2013
LlOYDS TSB outsourced jobs to the Phillipines while planning the closure of its Southend offices, leaked company documents have allegedly revealed.
The bank, which earlier this month announced the closure of Essex House in Southchurch Avenue – costing 865 full, part time and agency roles – recruited 107 workers at offices in Manila late last year for positions in its fraud disputes department that were being carried out in Southend.
It comes after Lloyds TSB insisted no Essex House posts had, or would, go overseas.
However, an e-mail sent to colleagues from Diane Thompson, team leader of fraud recoveries at Essex House, suggests the Manila recruitments had a direct impact on workloads at Southend.
She wrote on January 3: “Manila now employ 107 agents who are currently supporting disputes technology. This then frees up our staff in Essex House to support disputes back office and fraud telephony.”
In another leaked e-mail sent on behalf of Pam Wilson, head of fraud operations at Lloyds, sent on November 30, colleagues were told she was visiting the “contingency office in Manila and would report back on her return.
A Lloyds source, who provided the e-mails, said: “What they establish are that last November Pam Wilson reported she was visiting fraud operations’ contingency site in Manila and by January 107 agents were already employed in disputes telephony, a section within fraud operations.
“To be visiting Manila in November would suggest plans were being made to prepare for the closure of Essex House and that an operation was already up and running.It cannot be believed there were no offshore staff in Manila during 2012, but there were 107 by the third day of January.”
The source said it suggested Lloyds’ previous statement to the Echo that “there were no fraud operations roles off shore last year” was wrong.
They added: “To be misinforming you in this way is a poor show for a bank that is trying to rebuild its reputation tarnished by past misdemeanours and the misleading of customers.”
However, a separate Lloyds insider said the disputes roles created in Manila last year may only be temporary to deal with a large rise in fraud claims from customers.
Officially the bank insisted it had no impact on jobs at Essex House, despite the content of the e-mails.
A Lloyd’s spokesman said: “We can confirm no role reductions have been made at Essex House, Southend, as a result of offshoring work to Manilla.
“Our role reduction programme is part of the previously announced group’s strategic review and where possible we try to redeploy people within the group.
“Furthermore, of the role reductions that were announced last week, around 275 roles are being created, the majority of which are in Belfast and Pitreavie, Scotland.”
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