Colorado Springs News, Sports & Business

300 to lose jobs in closure of Colorado Springs call center

By Wayne Heilman Published: March 14, 2014

Call center giant Firstsource Solutions Ltd. will close its Colorado Springs center in September and lay off all 300 employees, the company confirmed Friday.

The reason: The company lost a customer.

"With changing demands in the marketplace, a client has made the decision to cease contact center services provided by Firstsource Group USA Inc. in Colorado," the company said in an emailed statement. "Employees have been informed of this transition. Firstsource is conducting on-site briefings and providing updates and assistance to employees throughout this period."

Firstsource did not identify the client.

Firstsource, based in India, acquired the center at 5725 Mark Dabling Blvd. in 2008 from British banking giant Barclays PLC, which opened it two years earlier to issue credit cards that rewarded customers of airlines, cruise lines, hotels and retailers. But Firstsource continued to handle Barclays' customer calls through an outsourcing arrangement.

When Barclays outsourced the center, it said the move gave it "more flexibility" to handle the rapid growth of its credit card operation, which now has nearly 34 million cardholders worldwide.

Last year, Barclays announced plans to open customer contact centers in Wilton, Maine, and Henderson, Nev., that will employ 1,350. The company also operates another customer contact center in Newark, Del

Firstsource had touted the Colorado Springs operation as the centerpiece of its expansion into financial services in the western U.S.

The layoff is the second in eight years for some center employees; they previously worked for a Bank of America call center that closed in 2006.

Firstsource employs nearly 30,000 worldwide at 48 centers in the U.S., United Kingdom, India, the Philippines and Sri Lanka, serving more than 100 clients in the banking, insurance, health care, media and telecommunications industries, including 21 companies in the Fortune 500.

Joe Raso, president and CEO of the Colorado Springs Regional Business Alliance, said any job loss will have an effect on the local economy, and the focus should be on getting people who are laid off into job training and employment programs offered through area colleges and the Pikes Peak Workforce Center.

"In some respect, on an individual level, it's very concerning. That's why we want to make sure these individuals get the support they need through the workforce center, for example," Raso said. "At a macro level, we need to be mindful that we have thousands of job openings. The challenge is finding people with the right skill set."

Raso said the closure reinforces the mission of the business alliance.

"There will always be constant churn," he said. "It shows why we have to be constantly focused and diligent about business development."

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Contact Wayne Heilman: 636-0234

Twitter @wayneheilman

Facebook Wayne Heilman

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