BizFeed: Bank Plans Philly Layoffs; Google, Facebook Test Payment Systems

Plus: SEPTA's new $1.36 billion budget



1. Big Bank Plans Philly Layoffs

The News: Wells Fargo is laying off 89 people in Philadelphia in July. The layoffs affect the bank’s legal order processing unit at its Independence Mall office in Old City. They respond to legal requests from third parties like the IRS, federal state agencies and law firms seeking customer bank records.

The layoffs were announced Thursday in a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act notice filed with the state of Pennsylvania. Workers were notified in November.

Why it Matters: It’s 89 jobs leaving the city and 89 families that were disrupted. While the company offered employees the chance to relocate to other cities or get different jobs in the company, a rep did not disclose how many chose to stay with Wells Fargo.

2. SEPTA Approves $1.36B Budget

The News: SEPTA has approved a new $1.36 billion operating budget that includes $300 million in new spending for vehicles and construction projects. Also, don’t expect to see that weird Adolf Hitler-Muslim ad showing up on the side of a bus again in the near future. The board voted to stop all political advertisements that take an opinion.

Why it Matters: Let’s start with the budget. It features $154 million for 18 new Regional Rail trains, $17.6 million for 232 paratransit minibuses, and $6.5 million for a new building at the Frankford Transportation Center, according to the Inquirer. Here’s more:

$29 million for a new rail station and an 895-space parking garage at the existing rail station in Lansdale.

$26.8 million for five years of paratransit services in Delaware County, to be provided by Community Transit of Delaware County.

$20.2 million for reconstruction of the Levittown train station.

As for the political ads, SEPTA fought very hard to not accept the ad with the headline “Islamic Jew-Hatred: It’s in the Quran.” Still, a judge forced SEPTA to run the ads on the side of buses — leading many people and news organizations called them the “SEPTA Hitler ads” or the “SEPTA Muslim ads.” I’m sure there are many unaware people that blame SEPTA, not the political organization or the judge, for posting the ads. It was bad PR for an organization that was on the right side of this issue — but sometimes you just can’t win.

3. Facebook, Google Testing New Payment Systems

The News: Two tech power players are creeping into the payment world. Facebook announced that it launched its new Messenger payment system in New York earlier this year, says TechCrunch. It allows people to send and receive money using the smartphone app. Meanwhile, Google is testing a hands-free payment method with McDonald’s and Papa Johns. Fortune offers some details on how it works:

When checking out at a store, all they have to do is stand in front of the cash register and say their name to the cashier. A blue tooth sensor automatically detects whether they have the app and then bills them.

Why it Matters: Although they’re among the most valuable companies in the world, Google and Facebook still act like startups. Startups are often disrupters — entering an established business sector and turning it upside down. The mobile payment world appears to be its next victim. Hey PayPal and Venmo, are you paying attention?