Santander Revamps Collection Incentives Amid Discrimination Claims

© Can Stock Photo / karenr

© Can Stock Photo / karenr

Santander Consumer USA has decided to “reevaluate” its incentive structure for collection and customer service staff, following pressure from employee protests and a Congressional letter.

Starting Jan. 1, the lender stopped using customer service recording tool CallMiner as the primary source for calculating employee performance incentives, according to an internal email provided to Auto Finance News.

Workers claimed the system, which uses voic

e-recognition technology to analyze collection calls for quality and regulatory control, unfairly gauged employee performance based on gender and dialect. For example, the system allegedly recognized male voices more clearly than female voices and would misunderstand employees who speak English as a second language or those who have regional accents, according to a report by the AFL-CIO and National Employment Law Project released in summer 2017.

Santander confirmed to AFN that these issues are reviewable with a human supervisor, however, a customer service employee who wished to remain anonymous said the reviews do not change scorecards, which ultimately determine incentive pay.

Additionally, 32 members of Congress signed a letter in November 2017 addressed to Santander Consumer Chief Executive Scott Powell asking for information on the precautions the company has taken to ensure that protected classes are receiving equal treatment or to suspend the program until they have.

Santander acknowledged the voice recognition problems have occurred, a company spokeswoman told AFN. Although Santander will continue to use CallMiner to monitor compliance, the company has been redesigning its incentive structure since last year and will take the next three to six months to finalize it, the company said in the email.

CallMiner is still a “valuable tool” for assessing employee performance as well as ensuring dialer compliance, the spokeswoman added. “If they keep CallMiner in place, I’d like to see where it can be disputed and not make it the ultimate say so,” the employee said.

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