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California Service Center to Close; New Jersey Assembly to Vote on Offshore Bill

Wells Fargo & Co. announced plans to close its customer service center in Santa Ana, Calif., displacing 315 employees. The bank has given the employees 30 days to relocate to any of its alternate locations in Southern California. Well Fargo executive vice president John Sotoodeh stated that there were 450 job openings within the Orange County and Los Angeles regions. Customer calls that were being handled by the Santa Ana office will now be routed to the bank’s 24 other customer service centers in the U.S.

The New Jersey State Assembly will vote this week on a bill that would require companies to notify state officials 120 days before moving call center services beyond the U.S. – and any business that opts to move would be barred from getting tax breaks from the state. Union officials representing call center employees in New Jersey support the bill; they believe that the threat of losing state subsidies will spur companies to hire locally. Those who support the bill are also concerned about the security of transferring information to overseas call centers that don't have strict consumer protection laws.

Sutherland Global Services of Rochester, N.Y., confirmed this week that it will open an operations center in Alexandria. The N.Y. State Governor's Office said the location will support 600 jobs involving back-office and other customer-support services, paying an average salary of $27,000, plus benefits. The company said it will spend $2.9 million to remodel an existing 40,000-square-foot facility in Alexandria; construction is scheduled to begin this month, and hiring will begin in April.

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