SunTrust reportedly cutting jobs, shifting work overseas

SunTrust headquarters building is shown in Atlanta Thursday, May 7, 2009. Some of the nation's largest banks will be scrambling to demonstrate that they can raise capital after results of government stress tests leaked out, showing many need more funds. The Treasury Department will officially release results later Thursday. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

SunTrust headquarters building is shown in Atlanta Thursday, May 7, 2009. Some of the nation’s largest banks will be scrambling to demonstrate that they can raise capital after results of government stress tests leaked out, showing many need more funds. The Treasury Department will officially release results later Thursday. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

SunTrust is laying off about 100 tech workers and moving much of their work overseas after having the soon-to-be-terminated employees train some of the people who will do their work, Computerworld is reporting.

The employees, who were told in September of the cuts, are required – as part of the severance agreement – to be on call to offer help to SunTrust for the next two years for no additional compensation, according to the magazine.

SunTrust logo

The AJC has over the past several weeks contacted SunTrust several times to ask about the story. The bank has declined comment. Contacted again this afternoon, a bank spokesman said the company’s position has not changed.

Rumors previously revolved around layoffs and non-American workers. The requirement that terminated employees remain available to consult with the company that let them go is a new element. It is also, at least according to attorneys quoted by Computerworld, one that is legally problematic.

That kind of post-employment requirement is most typically used with top executives, those attorneys said.

One lawyer quoted by Computerworld is Sara Blackwell who represents Disney workers who were replaced by foreign workers. She told Computerworld that that if a company called former workers for help and did not pay them it would violate the Fair Labor Standards Act.

 

Reader Comments 0

126 comments
Dudeski
Dudeski

The mere fact that SunTrust has induced this severance agreement on its former loyal technical employees gives me pause. That pause should be passed on to SunTrust shareholders and customers. Why?, because if SunTrust had confidence in the abilities of the Indian guest H1-B workers, then why are they so desperate to force feed a severance agreement that requires technical assistance from its former staff for two years? This gives me the impression that SunTrust management may believe that their banking computer systems may be at risk. 


Bank computer systems are very complex and large with many moving parts. H-1B Individuals performing a “knowledge transfer” duly record key strokes and screen shots of the system from the betrayed SunTrust IT staff. According to the article the Knowledge Transfer process only lasts for three months.  It is physically impossible for the human brain to absorb and learn a huge complex banking software system in three months. As a software engineer familiar with banking systems, it take many years for a computer programmer to learn and fix banking software.  Often non technical individuals who are in corporate management often underestimate the complexity of software engineering, they assume that the system is easy and that just a simple knowledge transfer for three months will do the trick. The bonus check is on the way. Problem solved. Hide and watch, the problem is not solved, the problems with the system are just beginning. 


Customers of SunTrust, time to THINK.  SunTrust does not trust its new and fabulous H-1B IT staff and is desperate to cover their bank assets. SunTrust has turned over the family jewels to a bunch of South Asian rookies that know nothing of banking business rules and technical process; much less the software code under the hood. SunTrust Customers, technical outages are coming to a theater near you , be afraid, very afraid.


Newly fresh H1-B workers from another county with possible language skill issues and a lack of intricate knowledge and EXPERIENCE of banking systems will lead to a highly probable situation in which mission critical bank systems may be down and not restored due to experienced staff being shoved out the door. I can only imagine that the corporate culture and stress at the bank has increased in magnitude; expect more highly capable IT staff to leave the company. After all who want to be on a sinking ship.

ToddyThoddy
ToddyThoddy

@Dudeski Knowledge transfer of 3 months?  Not 3 months, try 3 weeks of training was the turnover period and 1 week per year of service with the company for severance.  It is also correct a decent amount are being offered jobs with the outsourced companies but wonder what salary and for how long before they are hacked.  I would assume about right after profits for the outsourcer become more important and after the sky hasn't fallen because just enough people moved over to the outsourcer and more training has occurred.  There are a lot of people that are staying that were not outsourced that will leave because their new job is to manage the outsourced people which they know will be a disaster.  $547 million of profit reported this quarter too worth noting.  Seeing Beyond Money - that's for sure.

Dudeski
Dudeski

@ToddyThoddy @Dudeski Let me take an educated guess, you work for the SunTrust PR Dept. Empathy is not your strong suit. One-hundred people laid off, not a big, deal, just all about $$$, what about the IT workers lives, families with mortgages, children in college, now their lives in chaos?  The cruelty of SunTrust is IMMORAL and customers should withdraw their SunTrust accounts.

LauraR739
LauraR739

Not only are these employees training their replacements and having their 20 years of experience at SunTrust used against them, they are being encouraged to now go apply for a job with IBM, who they've been working with all this time... And, they claim they are downsizing although they have hired more than they have laid off. Unjust. 

Nativesportsfan
Nativesportsfan

Very sad story but these people will be better off in the long run after some Suntrust inflicted short term pain. It is an atrocious organization that has used the good old boy network to screw widows and orphans for generations. Don't like any of the big banks and do not do business with them but nice to see the Wells Fargos of the world come in here with mere minimal customer service and blow Suntrust out of the water. The only reason this stock has performed well is because it had a virtual regional monopoly and it was therefore a good investment for shareholders. Those days are over.

JackPod
JackPod

I spent 37 years working as a Human Resources executive. Yes it is indeed a violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act to require a person to be on call and work without compensation. A handsome severance package does not give the employer any special dispensation from following employment laws. 

StraightNoChaser
StraightNoChaser

OK make America great again crowd what say you?  Yea I'm talking to you, is that just a slogan or does it really mean something?  Too funny

Courtney2
Courtney2

I do not support Disney or SunTrust.  People need to leave politics out of this and join together as Americans against Corporate Greed. Immigration is WELFARE for the rich.  

ToddyThoddy
ToddyThoddy

For all the people saying oh they must be getting paid 2 years.  This is incorrect.  They are being paid 1 week per year of service including the guy with just over 30 years that was within a year of retiring that they will not bridge his retirement.  Even then there is a cap to the max number of weeks of severance based on level in the company. I doubt the 30 weeks will be paid as I think the max is 26 weeks.  So there you have it.  


Also the comment about H1B I thought that the company must attest that a particular H1B visa job does not have qualified candidates.  ST has been violating putting overseas candidates in jobs for years and letting them pile up in 1 bedroom apartments in the US while checking boxes that qualified candidates are not available.  Very short sighted also given the displaced workers 3 weeks to train outsourced people that don't have basic skills and only for support purposes.  They are about to get a rude awakening that a lot of people being let go support is only a fraction of their jobs.  Maintenance and keeping systems running and patched, security etc. as well as investment project work delivering new and better services to customers they did not allocate any training time for.  Savings is what it is all about, no worry about the fallout etc.

Don't Tread
Don't Tread

@ToddyThoddy "Savings"...ha.  They're about to find out what "hidden productivity cost" is, along with "diminished revenue from consumer backlash".  We'll see what the "savings" are then.

Hell Horsey
Hell Horsey

Makes sense: SunTrust is funding the new baseball stadium, and just like them, they're slashing payroll before leaving town.

likeitis
likeitis

I THINK THAT THE SUN JUST SET ON SUNTRUST AND AS FAR AS THE 'TRUST' IS CONCERNED JUST ASK ANY FORMER REPLACED ASSOCIATE....BUT YOU KNOW BANKERS.....EVERY PENNY COUNTS NO MATTER WHAT THE COST....

PeaceLoveSoul
PeaceLoveSoul

"As part of the severance agreement – laid off employees are to be on call to offer help to SunTrust for the next two years for no additional compensation." HELP SUNTRUST? NO ADDITIONAL COMPENSATION. ***blank stare****  Listen. There's no amount of money in the world that would make me agree to this. I would have signed the severance package letter alright - Kiss. My. A$$. and through up the peace sign.  -Peace

Rita38
Rita38

You are certainly right Odelljones - the executive leadership is not taking a  paycut - their bonuses should be posted for all to see.  Some executives get up to 300,000 AS A BONUS, plus their 300,000+ SALARY.  They love their golden parachutes.  I would not train any of them to do my job - if you call their 800 number, you cannot understand these people, so you hang up time and time again until you can get someone you can speak to.  SMH


Odelljones - Have to pay for those stadium naming rights.... on the backs of displaced workers. I'm sure the executive leadership isn't taking a pay cut.


Lynnie713095
Lynnie713095

Let's be clear----This is SunTrust being the also-ran organization that it is. Always several years behind the times. Many companies are now realizing they outsourced too much and are bringing jobs back onshore. Also, ST's policy towards its people is archaic. They consider people to be liabilities and not assets-----and drive that message home to their employees daily.

ST's competitors are already embracing (and investing in) new technologies and methods to deliver faster. ST is still stuck in its budget slashing mainframe IT mindset and that will be its downfall. I worked in that hell hole for many years and haven't regretted my decision to leave for a second.

Smokeyone
Smokeyone

@Lynnie713095 I left there in '98 after 13 years and I am glad that I left. It was behind the times then for sure.

NKRider
NKRider

I'm a software engineer and I have worked for SunTrust in the past.  I can tell you, I would go through the motions but I wouldn't train anybody taking my job.  As far as being "On Call" for the next two years that would be a big NO.  If you want me on call for the next two years then we will negotiate a consultancy contract for a retainer and billable hourly rate.

TicTacs
TicTacs

Never train your replacement.

sold1000
sold1000

Time to take my backing somewhere else.  I support American workers.

Jazzy501
Jazzy501

Boy are the stocks about to go down now! That package they are giving the laid off employees must be wonderful! Be avaiable for two years? WOW

cw1960
cw1960

I guess SunTrust will be winning the GOP Corporate Citizen of the Year Award, now. :-P

McGarnagle
McGarnagle

If they want to move jobs overseas, let them but they would have to pay additional taxes if they want to operate here in the US. And for the banks that have jobs here, give them incentives. Simple enough right.

odelljones
odelljones

Have to pay for those stadium naming rights.... on the backs of displaced workers. I'm sure the executive leadership isn't taking a pay cut.

Oh, BTW i will always refer to the new stadium as Henry Aaron Field, which it should be. I won't dignify corporate sponsorship of a building.

SMoker420
SMoker420

LMAO and these clowns just bought the naming rights to the new Braves Field. Sounds like a match made in heaven, two classless companies coming together to better separate your money from your wallet.  

C. Diff
C. Diff

Never had an account there. Guess that's a good thing.

JNuckols
JNuckols

note to self.....close st account.


bad enough taking jobs overseas, but making employees who lost their jobs train replacements and then be available for 2 years without compensation??  hope severance package is good enough to support such demands.


boo sun trust....bad enough that baseball field will host your name.

darbrednew
darbrednew

Very few american corporations treat their employees well any longer, it use to be like family at many work places but now its only about profit and screw everyone that is considered a cost of the organization.

St3mpy
St3mpy

It says that they have to train them.  Doesn't say they have to train them correctly...

RexHavoc
RexHavoc

Disney did this recently where they brought foreign workers to the US to take jobs from American workers.  I guess that way they can't be blamed for outsourcing.  I guess it's now source importing.

Unfreakinbelieveable
Unfreakinbelieveable

Suntrust account holders should fire them.  there are plenty of banks to go to.

juliainatlanta
juliainatlanta

Well, i WAS considering placing some of my money into a ST money market account.  guess i'll shelve THAT idea.  and anyone who has accounts with ST, shame on you if you don't pull your money out!!!

GMAB61
GMAB61

"after having the soon-to-be-terminated employees train some of the people who will do their work"


Well that's evil. I hope those tech workers refuse, but I bet they can't if they want severance pay. Makes me really hope there is a h3ll for the mangers that are doing this type of thing.

StayingtheCourse
StayingtheCourse

There is something going on at SunTrust ... we have banked with them for 35 years ... and there are more mistakes and very little customer service ... sure to can "chat" ... or talked to a voice recording ...


and ... Excuse me ... if you work ... you get paid ... thinking wage & hour may have another look at the term agreement 

dcdcdc
dcdcdc

So they are likely offering their ex-employees a significant amount of money up front, to provide this ongoing "on call" support - but to the intrepid AJC, because they won't be paid hourly it's "doing it without pay".


And gosh...I wonder if Cox (the corporation that owns the AJC) lays off US workers for Indians.  Ya think?  But I somehow suspect that won't make it into their paper.....hypocrites.


Of course, expecting the AJC to do any actual fact based reporting would be an exercise in futility.  Much more interested in inflammatory headlines.

Caycec
Caycec

@dcdcdc   Let me guess, you work for Suntrust or one of the companies who abuses the H1b visas?  Severance pay, no matter how much it is, is not a job.  And you can bet it's not as much as they were being paid before or SunTrust wouldn't be doing it.  


Congress needs to get off their duffs and tighten this law.  But it serves their corporate cronies, so they're dragging their feet. 

dcdcdc
dcdcdc

@Cayce @dcdcdc that would be no - retired, and dang happy to be (and never worked for them).  And btw, I 100% agree w/ you re the abuse -but I think you are looking at the wrong solution.  The solution is to give the actual Indian workers freedom to move companies as soon as they get here - that way, the companies would have to pay them market rates.  Oh..and for those too blind to understand, that now means the incentive to bring them over would be gone. 


Only forced "slavery" via the govt program makes this a nightmare for American workers, and a goldmine for American companies.  As usual, govt interference at its best.


But I do love Cox and the AJC, who are so quick to point out how awful other folks are for doing the same things that they do. 


There is a word for that...let's see...  Hypocrite!

DLH252
DLH252

Sounds like Windstream Communications.

M H Smith
M H Smith

Remember Bill's greatest accomplishment, NAFTA?


Now the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPPA)?

Hillary just carrying on an old family tradition.

GB101
GB101

@M H Smith Could you please explain how SunTrust's actions are related to NAFTA?  Our to the TPPA?  If NAFTA had not been passed would there be any obstacle to the bank's doing exactly what it is doing now?

Don't Tread
Don't Tread

@M H Smith And the MFTN agreement with China.  0bama signed one with Russia.


Why do we give countries that hate us "most favored trade nation" status when we know they'll use the money to buy weapons to point at us?

TrumPutin
TrumPutin

@M H Smith


Don't be so dense and don't blame NAFTA.  It's Suntrust Bank putting "Profits before People".  

RoadScholar
RoadScholar

@zebdawebop @RoadScholar Really? My credit rating is spectacular and cancelling a credit card won't affect it. Just watch me cancel it. Then hold your breathe.