(Yicai Global) May 2 -- China's banking sector has begun to employ outsourced workers in recent years to lower operating costs, Securities Daily reported.
The outsourcing of staff is common in the industry, a banker told Yicai Global. This could put the bank customers' and depositors' personal information in harm's way.
"The people you contact at banks may be outsourced," a human resources staffer said.
Outsourced staff now man many banks' front-line posts.
"Regular staff generally includes a branch president, several vice presidents, a technical team, financial personnel, clearing staff, credit control personnel, public and retail related business personnel and customer service personnel," A vice-president of a state-owned bank branch told media. "Customer service personnel usually have the most complex employment forms, with regular staff, contract staff, outsourced staff and others."
Banks also have significant low-threshold labor demands, such as for data entry and file transfer, and such work is usually done by outsourced labor.
Yicai global found a financial services outsourcing company claiming to be China's first. The company's website states that "At the front stage, the company helps banks to improve service quality and customer experience to achieve marketing goals; at the middle stage, through ATM integrated outsourcing, grid services and other models, the company helps banks to achieve network management and operation. At the back stage, the company helps banks build large centralized processing and operations centers.
The company claims it provides services to more than eight banks including several large state-owned ones, but Yicai Global found that this outsourcing firm also supplies many small and medium banks.
"Outsourcing firms do not directly recruit and the bank generally handles interviewing directly. Until the bank confirms the employment, the outsourcing company will not follow up to complete employment procedures," a human resources director told Yicai Global.
"Cost reduction is the biggest benefit of outsourcing is," a senior bank manager said to Yicai Global.
But for savers, the risk of outsourcing is information and financial insecurity. Yicai Global repeatedly uncovered offers in a QQ group to buy bank users' information, with each item priced at about USD0.04 (CNY0.25).
Yicai Global tried to contact onew buyer, but he was wary and said only, "the bank's employees or other personnel in the banking service may have a lot of such information," but "the trade is not for the timid."
Depositors often naturally trust banks and fail to take the initiative to differentiate (more often it is difficult to distinguish) between regular or outsourced employees. Their right to know is thus compromised. "A regular employee's irregularities are easily determined. Irregular employees stealing depositors' information and violating their financial security, and bank seeking to evade liability for their acts with the excuse of 'casual workers' are the biggest concerns of depositors, a legal professional noted.
Some bank staff who became outsourced workers also expressed indignation or frustration at the differential on-the-job treatment they receive, and said they will leave once they have "learned something."