Axne Exposes Wells Fargo Outsourced Iowa Jobs Overseas at Financial Services Cmte Hearing

March 12, 2019
Press Release

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Congresswoman Cindy Axne (IA-03) questioned Wells Fargo CEO Tim Sloan on recent Iowa layoffs at a U.S. House Financial Services Committee hearing. During her line of questioning, Congresswoman Axne exposed that the company has outsourced some of the 400 recent layoffs in Des Moines overseas. Full transcript of the exchange is available below.

Wells Fargo announced more than 400 layoffs in Des Moines in November 2018. When layoffs in the U.S. are due to foreign trade, the Department of Labor provides assistance through its Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program to the former employees. In January of 2019, a petition was filed saying the below:

“A Wells Fargo employee located in Des Moines, IA contacted the Iowa TAA Unit indicated her job was being moved to India and they had been informed of this verbally in more than one meeting. Employees in this area of Mortgage Claims have traveled to India to train their replacements.”

At the hearing, Rep. Axne pressed Mr. Sloan about whether the 400 announced layoffs in Des Moines were due to foreign trade and highlighted the 2019 petition to help additional former Iowa Wells Fargo employees who lost their jobs due to outsourcing.  

Transcript of the Q&A is below:

Axne: In September 2018 Wells Fargo announced it planned to reduce its work force by laying off as many as 26,000 workers. In November 2018, Wells announced it was laying off 1,000 employees – 400 of those were in Des Moines, correct?

Sloan: We never announced that we were going to layoff up to 26,000 employees. what I said at a town hall where I --

Axne: Did you layoff 400 employees in Des Moines?

Sloan: I was referring to the first part of your question. That's not an accurate statement. Generally what I said was that between -- that over the next three years, we expect our total employment to reduce by between five and 10% --

Axne: I’m concerned about the people in my District. Were 400 of those people in Des Moines?

Sloan: 400 folks were displaced in Des Moines.

Axne: What was the reason for that layoff in Des Moines?

Sloan: It depended upon their job. Some of those folks were displaced because of the fact that the amount of servicing demand that we had in the mortgage servicing business had declined. There were other reasons --

Axne: I have a signed affidavit here saying that an employee in Des Moines was told her job was being moved to India and employees in that area have gone to India to train those replacements and I’ve heard from employees that are using your virtual classrooms for that same purpose to train other people in other companies. Are these recent layoffs really just you moving jobs overseas?

Sloan: No. That’s incorrect.

Axne: You've added more than 10,000 employees between India and the Philippines in the last five years and I know you're building a new facility in Philippines for another 7,000 employees I believe. Can we expect that more of your planned layoffs are going to be jobs moved overseas?

Sloan: No. I don't believe that's going to be the case. We have 20,000 job opening at Wells Fargo today. 90% of those are here in the US, probably more than that. We hire between 40 and 50,000 --

Axne: I fail to understand, though, how we're laying people off in this country and building jobs overseas. thank you.