back to article Lloyds Banking Group to hang up on call centre staffers

Call centre staff at Lloyds Banking Group (LBG) are to be axed in the latest expenses purge, company insiders have told us. El Reg understands 95 people based at the Pendeford Business Park in Wolverhampton have been put at risk of redundancy. Pendeford is one of nine call centres the bank operates across the UK. Sources told …

  1. Your alien overlord - fear me

    "best bank for customers" - but obviously not for staff.

    1. Sooty

      Don't forget the commitment to "Help Britain Prosper"

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Advice for IT Staffers

      Sharing my own recent experience - don't rely on your trade union, they're not interested in you only the big picture. Get together with a few of your colleagues. Challenge everything. Escalate to the top. Organise decent legal representation. Look for firms with a history standing up for individuals against big banks. Cost me and my peers a few hundred each but money well spent.

    3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      "best bank for customers management" - but obviously not for staff.

      That might be a bit closer for reality. It certainly wasn't the best bank for this former customer.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Take your money out now - Outsourced IT support for your bank will be a disaster

    You have been warned.

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      Re: Take your money out now - Outsourced IT support for your bank will be a disaster

      Agreed.

      Boycott the companies that send everything to India. Tell them why you are leaving. Tell the press.

      Perhaps if enough do it then the beancounters might start to realise that reducing your cost base this way is not always the answer.

      Perhaps reducing those (to use an american term) who occupy the corner offices might be more productive?

      1. AMBxx Silver badge
        Unhappy

        Re: Take your money out now - Outsourced IT support for your bank will be a disaster

        I don't think anything grates more than phone a UK company and the call being answered by someone with an Indian accent. Feel sorry for any Indian nationals who work in the UK - must get a hard time.

        I refused an insurance quote once because the claims handlers were based overseas. I was told that my account could be marked to only talk to people in the UK. Still refused out of principle, but wonder if any of the banks are offering something similar? Maybe on their fee paying accounts?

        1. Just Enough

          Re: Take your money out now - Outsourced IT support for your bank will be a disaster

          "marked to only talk to people in the UK"

          Unfortunately this is probably referred to as the "racist" flag, rather than a "doesn't want shoddy customer support on the cheap flag".

          I've no problem dealing with Indian customer support, as long as the person I'm talking to understands me, and vice-versa, and has an appropriate level of expertise. Sadly it's often the case you're talking to someone who is working from a fixed script, and whose only qualification is that they are cheaper than a UK based employee. If your problem isn't on their list of FAQs, you may as well be talking to the cat.

          1. Colabroad

            Re: Take your money out now - Outsourced IT support for your bank will be a disaster

            I used to work in the Lloyds IT Helldesk, one call started "Oh thank god, last time I got put through to India"

            I checked the call logs and replied:

            "No ma'am, that was <name>, he sits three desks down from me and is a British citizen as of last month."

            Not to mention <Name>'s Pakistani accent is more understandable than my Yorkshire mumblings.

    2. Mark Simon

      Re: Take your money out now - Outsourced IT support for your bank will be a disaster

      Agreed. It’s hard to say the right words without sounding xenophobic, but the fact that support calls will now be sent to people with minimal training and barely passable English language skills will not do the company credit.

      A typical support call to an out-sourced call centre involves repeating your questions and answers half a dozen times to people who are desperately trying to follow a script, being polite about the moronic questions which follow a misunderstanding of what you just said, and doing it all again for the next person.

      I have found it is much easier to take my business elsewhere.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "The seven-year contract, approved by Unite and Accord unions, is said to be worth £1.9m "

    £1.9 million. Sound about what it's actually worth! I suspect this was supposed to be Billion.

    1. Julian 8

      Re: "The seven-year contract, approved by Unite and Accord unions, is said to be worth £1.9m "

      Probably worth less than that as IBM undercut everyone to get the deal, but the time they have paid the fines for being so appalling. Saying that, Lloyd's may make a profit out of IBM - won't have any IT though

      And yeah, LBG may have paid good redundancies (and they still do to the floor staff), those over to IBM, statutory minimum here we come

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "will be TUPE’d to IBM including... contractors"

    What? Do they mean their contracts will be novated? TUPE'd sounds bad for IR35!!!

    1. DavCrav Silver badge

      Re: "will be TUPE’d to IBM including... contractors"

      ""will be TUPE’d to IBM including... contractors"

      What? Do they mean their contracts will be novated? TUPE'd sounds bad for IR35!!!"

      I don't see that. I mean, if a company gets taken over, they can keep the same window cleaning firm.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Outsourcing to India? What could possibly go wrong!?

    Oh wait...

    https://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/06/25/rbs_natwest_what_went_wrong/

    "Backing out of a failed update [via thousands of scheduled batch jobs] to CA-7 really ought to have been a trivial matter for experienced operations and systems programming staff, especially if they knew that an update had been made. That this was not the case tends to imply that the criticisms of the policy to 'off-shore' also hold some water."

    "Staff who oversee batch scheduling for RBS are based in India [...] paid 8-10 lakh rupees, a salary of roughly £9,000 - £11,000."

    1. Ledswinger Silver badge

      Re: Outsourcing to India? What could possibly go wrong!?

      Sadly, the ITO and BPO companies have very slick sales operations. The decision makers at LBG will have been flown somewhere nice, wined and dined, introduced to young, intelligent, good looking, well qualified IBM employees, and the talk will have been on continuous improvement, and the opportunity that IBM offer to combine big cost cuts and miraculously offer better service along with contributing to improving and refining LBG's processes. It's a partnership after all!

      Then as soon as the blood is dry on the contract, the sales team and the pretty employees disappear, and LBG's work is shipped out to some rat infested barn in Bangalore, where dissatisfied wage slaves are pressured to do the job as quickly as possible. And all that continuous improvement and quality talk turns out to be rat-shit on the floor of the barn, but by then its too late. And then, a couple of years later, IBM start to squeeze LBG's balls by charging through the nose for all the variations, change and "non-standard" orders.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Outsourcing to India? What could possibly go wrong!?

        "Then as soon as the blood is dry on the contract"

        As long as that?

  6. Alistair Silver badge
    Windows

    Welcome LBG staff.....

    Now, lets see -- you've been with IBM for 24 weeks. You qualify for 6 weeks pay in lieu.

    What? no, no, your 16 years with LBG has no relevance here .....

    1. JasonLaw

      Re: Welcome LBG staff.....

      No - the reference to "TUPE" in the article means the Transfer of Undertaking (Protection of Employment) Regulations, 1981. In essence, it means the contract with the old employer is deemed to be the contract of the new one - starting date included.

      1. Ledswinger Silver badge

        Re: Welcome LBG staff.....

        In essence, it means the contract with the old employer is deemed to be the contract of the new one - starting date included.

        Outsourcing firms are past masters at the art of ensuring that employee rights get reduced over time. TUPE is only worth the paper it is written on if you;re dealing with a decent and honourable firm. If you ever find a company that fits that description, let me know.

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Welcome LBG staff.....

        "No - the reference to "TUPE" in the article means the Transfer of Undertaking (Protection of Employment) Regulations, 1981. In essence, it means the contract with the old employer is deemed to be the contract of the new one - starting date included."

        I take it you're responding to the previous comment regarding IR35. That comment refers to freelance contractors. Freelancers' employers are their own companies. The do not want to suddenly find themselves employed by a company to whom their previous client has transferred an undertaking (grim term!).

  7. JasonLaw

    3,200 applications??

    I can't be the only person to think that they might have at least 3,100 too many applications?

    I know they have a lot of people, but surely not 3,200 totally distinct jobs that use totally distinct software?

    1. Your alien overlord - fear me

      Re: 3,200 applications??

      In my experience, every Excel macro is an ''application" as far as management are concerned. I suspect there are in excess of 3,000 macros in use !!!

  8. Esme

    Dear Lloyds Bank

    Dear Sirs,

    I note with regret that you have decided to 'out-source' your call-centres to India, and your IT staff to IBM. Both actions are, so far as I am concerned, against my best interests as an account-holder with Lloyds, and so I am currently researching where I will out-source my banking requirements to. I will notify you in due course as to where to direct my funds to.

    Yours sincerely, etc.

    1. Ledswinger Silver badge

      Re: Dear Lloyds Bank

      so I am currently researching where I will out-source my banking requirements to

      All the commercial banks do it. Even, I regret to say, Nationwide Building Society are enthusiastic outsourcers. If you want a bank account with somebody who just might not have outsourced and offhored operations, I suspect the list is very short. Ignoring Nationwide (who have gone all "fat cat City slicker bastards"), the only mutual I could see offering a current account was Cumberland BS.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Dear Lloyds Bank

        "the only mutual I could see offering a current account was Cumberland BS."

        Unfortunately they don't have a branch near me. The only financial institution, mutual or not, left with a branch in my preferred location is now YBS and the idiots, instead of realising what an advantage they had with their Norwich and Peterborough current account and rolling it out to the other brands, decided to scrap it.

        Looking to move from the Co-op the best branch available to me now is Santander. I'm really encouraged about their online competence - I clicked on a link on their site and got a 404.

      2. TwoTailedFox

        Re: Dear Lloyds Bank

        Can confirm. Used to work for TSYS. They were outsourced to by Nationwide for their Coventry call centre. RBS, Tesco, Virgin and Santander are also prolific users of outsourcing

        1. jcitron

          Re: Dear Lloyds Bank --- Yes Santander is fairly good.

          I currently bank with Santander. Overall they seem to be good to their employees and everyone I've dealt with has always been friendly and seems to like their job, meaning I never felt the "I hate my job" vibes coming from anyone there.

          They also kept their local call centers as well and haven't offshored their old Sovereign Bank operations, yet.

          1. Steve 114
            Thumb Up

            Re: Dear Lloyds Bank --- Yes Santander is fairly good.

            I don't bank with Santander, but I did have the shares - 'fairly good' too (with slight complications for Spanish tax, well handled). A sight better than RBS shares!

          2. iansmithedi

            Re: Dear Lloyds Bank --- Yes Santander is fairly good.

            Been with them for a few years now. Very happy they pay me to bank with them. The phone app is generally ok and the website seems to work fine. I like the zero commission on overseas transactions on their 123 CC. (I switched because I wanted to close a Bank of Scotland account and move it to another. Turns out it was easier to move bank than move accounts within the bank.)

          3. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Dear Lloyds Bank --- Yes Santander is fairly good.

            Santander were very helpful the last time I went in, possibly surprisingly as I was closing down an account.

            Barclays on the other hand were dreadful, the poor person in the branch, who was polite but unable to help through no fault of her own, could only put me on a phone to India who after speaking to three different people cut me off!

            AC because telling the world your financial details isn't clever.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Dear Lloyds Bank

        > "All the commercial banks do it. Even, I regret to say, Nationwide Building Society are enthusiastic outsourcers."

        Surprising, given that when they use a third-party provider (i.e. insurance), they have a "UK call centres only" clause in the contract. :( (unless I'm conflating outsourcing and offshoring [although one normally ends up as the other])

  9. Dominion

    Didn't they offshore the call centre once before, and bring it back when it was a complete unmitigated disaster?

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      "Didn't they offshore the call centre once before, and bring it back"

      Oh, the Hokey Cokey.

      1. Sooty

        They outsourced to IBM once before, and brought it back when it was a complete and unmitigated disaster.

  10. JimboSmith Silver badge

    They had an advert campaign where they pointed out that their call centre staff were all in the UK, except Julie who was on holiday abroad.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      That's Marketing. They are liars.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        "That's Marketing. They are liars."

        You can't blame them. It's a job requirement.

    2. BongoJoe

      Their call centre staff, all three of them, may well be in the UK. All the ones abroad aren't theirs but someone else's that they use.

      See. No lies needed.

  11. GuildenNL

    My name is Ramajamaumama, but you can call me Bob! Pop! Pop!"

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    As a member of a support team for a storage vendor who has to regularly deal with offshore outsourced IT operations. The lack of knowledge and competence in these organisations is staggering. Almost on a daily basis we get asked to undertake the most basic of administration tasks under the guise of a support call. The most common phrase used is "webex", in that they want us to do the work they are being paid to do by their customers.

  13. Dave 15 Silver badge

    For heavens sake

    Can't they learn from other people????

    Indian call centres SUCK. The people in them are at the other end of a crap connection, are only trained to follow a script, have no clue about the way the UK runs its banking (or phone or whatever)... it is ALWAYS a terrible answer. (This is not meant to be offensive to the Indians working there, I have seen the centres, heard the phone calls... its not the workers fault it is crap, it is the way it is implemented)

    Then there is the continuous staff turnover in India, rarely is a team intact for more than a few days.

    1. Korev Silver badge

      Re: For heavens sake

      Also my experience of dealing with call centres in the U.K.

  14. Adelio

    Call centre Locations

    I thought companies had realised that offshoring call centre staff is the worst thing they can do.

    Trying to speaks to someone where english is not their first language and you may be using words not familiar to that person (epsecially for Hardware) Is bad, bad, bad.

    It annoys the customers trying to use the call centre and i would guess generally gives a negative impression of the company.

    I do not CARE that these people are cheap. Throw a thousand monkeys at a problem at 1p each and you still do not get the problem solved. It is a shorted sighted (accountants) way of seeing things. it NEVER produces a better service.

    I have seen companies send work offshore to cheap IT shopts, what happens, you generally have to send it back multiple times to get it re-written (not just fixed) and then finally it gets re-written again by the "home" developers. NOT cosy OR Time effective.

  15. Securitymoose

    This is the man...

    ...who outsourced, just as the smart money realised that UK call centres are at least within punching distance. I wonder if he drives a Volkswagen.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Can you trust anyone with an Indian accent anymore?

    Each week I get several calls from Indian scammers to the point that I assume anyone calling me with an Indian accent is trying to scam me now (wonder if I can get a phone app that flashes a warning once an Indian accent is detected). Since many call centres are now based in India I personally can no longer trust the on-line/phone based banks. I've returned to the declined number of high street branches to carry out any large transactions.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Cut costs at any costs - tax avoidence scheme and tier 2 visa misuse

    Horta Osario (CEO) is becoming increasing desperate to show the city he is doing something, doing anything, to shore up the share price which has flat lined for over 6 years.

    This week over 300 more roles in group operations were lost under the guise of cost cutting (only a few of these were reported in the press).

    The mechanism often used is inter company transfers which uses tier 2 visas to "transfer" roles to Indian workers quite in contravention of the governments own rules that no UK applicants should be available (UK Gov are a major share holder but chose to turn a blind eye).

    One major benefit to Lloyds (but not to the UK - Help Britain Prosper my arse) is that less tax and NI are paid again in contravention of the governments steer. Meanwhile the likes of Wipro run rings round the visa process by cycling staff on and off shore at will.

    Lloyds now have an IT department run by a few IT illiterate managers (not their fault, the knowledge and ownership now sits in the hands of Wipro and TCS who will no doubt in time bump up the price and hold the bank, customers and shareholders to ransom)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Cut costs at any costs - tax avoidence scheme and tier 2 visa misuse

      I can guarantee, first hand, that neither of the terms knowledge, nor ownership, can be used in reference to TCS or Wipro.

      TCS: Why is this code failing?

      Me: Because there's an existing bug in it, you'll need to fix it to get your change to work.

      TCS: but that's not our responsibility, we're only making this change, not fixing existing bugs.

      Me: fair enough, but it's not possible for your change to work unless you fix it first

      TCS: But we don't know how to fix it, it was written by a different company.

      Me: You'll need to investigate the existing code to see how it works, before you start changing it.

      TCS: OK, stop everything, back to the quoting, we need to renegotiate the cost for these requirements.

      I wish this wasn't real

  18. gcarter

    Service Desk Offshore!

    https://media.giphy.com/media/3xz2BzdAi4GON2GryE/giphy.gif

  19. kmac499

    Outsourcing Costs

    Anyone ever noticed that in Finance, the higher up the food chain you go , the GDP of the country supplying the outsourced workers goes up.

    Call Centers India,South Africa etc

    Techies The old Iron Curtain Countries now in the EU

    CEOs the good ole USA

    Oops sorry I forgot; CEOs are hired from the global talent pool, e.g. Bob Diamond, Jes Staley, Jamie Dimon et al,,

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