American Express to shut down Greensboro call center

Posted January 19, 2011 9:47 a.m. EST
Updated January 19, 2011 2:25 p.m. EST

— American Express (NYSE: AXP) is shutting down its service operations in Greensboro, the company announced Wednesday morning. About 2,000 people work at the center.

"The company’s decision reflects an overall decline in service volumes as more and more routine transactions have migrated to online and mobile channels," the New York-based company said.

"Staffing levels have declined to reflect those lower volumes, largely by not filling positions that opened up when employees leave," the company added in a statement. "The reduced staffing levels have created significant vacancy levels in some facilities and, as a result, real-estate-related costs are inconsistent with anticipated needs."

American Express announced last spring it would build a $600 million data center just east of Greensboro.

Gov. Beverly Perdue said she has assembled a team of work force development officials, Employment Security Commission managers and representatives of area community colleges. They will start working with the American Express employees in the next week, she said.

"While I was encouraged to hear company officials say that this decision had nothing to do with North Carolina’s business climate, that doesn’t ease the concerns of employees who are facing uncertain futures," Perdue said in a statement.

American Express said it would take a $113 million charge to cover severance payments and other costs. Through various company-wide moves, only about 550 jobs will be cut, but 3,500 positions will be affected.

"Work currently handled (in Greensboro) will be transferred to other locations in the U.S.," the company said.

The company also plans to transfer work handled at a Madrid service center to regional facilities in Brighton, U.K., and Buenos Aires, Argentina, and service support for the Japanese card business from Sydney, Australia, to Japan.