Last year when Zappos moved into downtown Las Vegas, it left a gaping hole in the Henderson office space from which it moved.
But it didn’t take long for the space to be filled with a company that arguably has a greater global footprint than Zappos.
Barclaycard US, affiliated with Barclays, a London-based multinational banking and financial services company, will have a ribbon-cutting event Feb. 13 at its new Green Valley location. Many of the company’s first local training classes of 82 employees will begin taking calls in the first week of March.
Barclaycard is a top-10, general-purpose card issuer with $15 billion in outstanding loans and 9 million accounts in the United States. It operates in 20 countries and has a significant presence in partnership cards with 35 partners in the travel, retail and financial services industries. Among the company’s partners: Choice Hotels, Frontier Airlines, Priceline, BJ’s and L.L. Bean.
The local Barclaycard office has a growth trajectory of hundreds of jobs by the end of the year. Office space is being leased by American Nevada Company, which is owned by the Greenspun family, owner of the Sun and VEGAS INC.
“We are excited to have Barclaycard join our business family,” said Phil Ralston, president of American Nevada. “Barclay is bringing many jobs to Green Valley Ranch and Henderson, and the community will benefit. This is another company with a stellar reputation that has decided that Henderson is the best place to conduct business.”
It will be Barclaycard US’s first foray into the West, with the company already having offices and 1,500 employees in Wilmington and Newark, Del., and Wilton, Maine.
The westward expansion is no accident. Craig Peters, who heads customer care for Barclaycard US, said the Pacific time-zone location would make it easier to accommodate the company’s West Coast customers.
Peters, who joined the company four months ago after working as a managing vice president for Capital One, said that about a year ago, Barclaycard began an evaluation process to expand its customer-service department. A company specializing in corporate relocations was hired to scout prospective cities, initially reviewing more than 200 across the United States.
The search was narrowed to four locations, though Peters declined to list the other three. He said the company liked Henderson because it’s sheltered from natural disasters and because one of the company’s newest partner clients works with a large number of customers in Hawaii, enabling more late-night phone contact.
“You’re not worried about fault lines and you’re not worried about snowstorms and ice storms in Henderson,” Peters said.
He said the Las Vegas metropolitan area had a large base of prospective employees with many experienced in financial services jobs and call centers and more accustomed to unusual shift work than in most cities.
“It’s a big market for the service industry, and what we’re looking to build is a world-class customer-care and customer-service call center,” Peters said.
The Green Valley area, he said, has even more pluses.
“The access to the freeway, right off Interstate 215, is good and it’s easy to get there,” he said. “It’s well developed around the area, so there are hotels for when we have visitors come in and lots of restaurants.”
The first four classes of new employees begin training today at the Green Valley Ranch resort while work to modify the building formerly occupied by Zappos continues.
“I think one of the big benefits of the Corporate Circle location is that it used to be a call center and was fit out,” Peters said. “It was nice to walk into something that was already, for the most part, set up with what we needed. It was a huge save from a timeline perspective.”
Barclaycard US will have new training classes through the end of the year, including 10 concluding by May, and the company expects to end 2014 with 400 workers onsite.
What will all those employees be doing?
Most of them will be providing answers to questions from Barclaycard customers about their credit card accounts.
“They’ll answer customer questions on making payments, particular transactions on an account or a partner’s reward program,” he said.
Eventually, the local office will expand to offer inbound and outbound customer support and collections calls.
Initially, the Henderson office will be open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m., but Peters expects that will be expanded to operate 24 hours daily.
Peters said the company was seeking employees who understand the value of customer service — and being bilingual also helps.
“We really are looking for folks that have a very positive attitude and really want to engage with our customers and provide them with a top-notch customer experience,” Peters said. “We want to make sure we handle those interactions in line with what those customer expectations are. That’s part of why Henderson was a big plus for us, because it is very much a service-oriented market with a lot of entertainment and hotels. There are also a number of Spanish-speaking residents and that could be helpful to us.”
In November, the Governor’s Office of Economic Development approved Barclays Services for more than $905,000 in tax abatements and deferrals to locate offices in Henderson
Over 10 years, the company is expected to generate $12.5 million in new state and local tax revenue. The company’s state application for tax incentives said the company planned to make a $2.9 million capital investment in the state and that the company’s employees would earn an average hourly wage of $14.18.
At the time, Gov. Brian Sandoval called the arrival “a great get for Nevada” that should help employ people who lost their jobs with the closure of Citibank’s mortgage division at The Lakes.