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 GEORGE BUSH REALLY MADE NEW JOBS FOR CITIZENS!

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PostSubject: GEORGE BUSH REALLY MADE NEW JOBS FOR CITIZENS!   Sun Aug 17, 2008 12:41 am

http://www.buffalonews.com/145/story/414279.html

Debt collector may add 700 jobs
Forms unit to enter credit card servicing
By Sharon Linstedt NEWS BUSINESS REPORTER
Updated: 08/14/08 7:34 AM

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A Buffalo company built on debt collection is looking to create as many as 700 new local jobs through a new credit card servicing operation.

Capital Management Services L. P. has established a new, independent business, Center One Capital, which is operating as a customer service center for Delaware-based MasterCard and Visa issuer Continental Finance.

Jeff Hauser, co-owner of Capital Management, one of the Buffalo’s area’s largest collection agencies, said Center One offers a completely new opportunity for growth.

“What attracted [Continental] to us was our strong process management skills,” Hauser said. “This is a new sector of financial services for us, but it’s an interesting endeavor for us and we anticipate it will be successful.”

The Empire State Development Corp. Board of Directors Wednesday approved a $500,000 training grant through its Jobs Now Program to assist Center One in its growth. The training funds are based on company projections it will employ 355 workers by 2011.

The credit card “back office” operation, which currently employs 125, is located at 698 S. Ogden St. in Buffalo, in the South Ogden Plaza. Hauser said he anticipates the staff count will far exceed the firm’s commitment to ESD.

“We could get to 700 in within a few years if things go the way we expect they will,” Hauser said.

Base salaries for the financial services jobs are in the $25,000-to $30,000-a-year range.

Capital Management Services, founded in 2000, is headquartered in the Larkin Co. building on Exchange Street and has offices in Las Vegas, Houston and Greenville, S. C. Hauser said there were several “transplant options” for the new credit service firm.

“There were alternative sites, but we came to the conclusion that we’ve had great success in Western New York and there’s an excellent work force,” the executive said.

Hauser said Center One is a product of discussions with Continental Finance dating back to early 2006. The new company was quietly established over a year ago with just 10 employees in former retail space at the Ogden Street plaza.

“We have 30,000-square-feet of really beautiful space with lots of room to grow and a long-term lease . . . so we can build Center One right here,” he added.

In a related development, a New York City-based investment group acquired the 111,000-square-foot plaza on Wednesday for $3.3 million. In addition to Center One, tenants include Big Lots and Dollar General.

Hauser and his partners have found success in tapping growth trends in the collections industry, a job sector that has hit pay dirt in Western New York as heavy manufacturing positions continue to fade away. According to U. S. Labor Department statistics, nearly 6,000 area residents are employed by more than 100 debt collection agencies in Erie and Niagara Counties.

Capital Management was ballooned from a start-up collections outfit with a handful of workers in a tiny Niagara Street office in 2000, to a firm with a national collections portfolio and a payroll of over 1,000, now headquartered in 70,000- square-feet of space in the Larkin Co. complex.

Despite that success, Capital is not without its detractors. Last year the Better Business Bureau of Upstate New York suspended the company’s membership due to an unusually large number of complaints that exceeded other collection firms. The company resigned from the bureau prior to an expulsion vote.

And parent firm of its new business partner, Continental Finance, has faced intense scrutiny for its ties to the national subprime lending debacle. First Bank of Delaware, which issues credit cards via Continental Finance, is the target of Federal Trade Commission and Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. probes into marketing of credit cards to higher-risk customers across the country.

From March 2006 through March 2008, the bank issued more than 240,000 cards through Continental. The federal agencies claim First Bank used deceptive marketing practices and employed lax approval criteria in issuing cards to consumers who would not have qualified for traditional lines of credit.

http://www.buffalonews.com/145/story/414279.html

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