AUBURN — TD Bank expects to hire 250 more workers for its newest call center that opened formally Friday at the Auburn Mall.
The 250 workers taking calls Friday had moved recently to their new digs from their old offices at The Bates Mill and the Sparetime Office Park, both in Lewiston. Officials said Friday they plan on doubling that number in 2011.
The state-of-the-art 60,000-square-foot facility in the former Porteous space is divided into four quadrants, each color-coded and dotted with computer-equipped work stations. Workers take incoming calls from customers needing assistance.
With the lagging economy at 8 percent unemployment in Maine and nearly 10 percent nationally, speakers at the ribbon cutting Friday, including the state's governor and two U.S. senators, cheered the announcement of new jobs coming to Maine.
TD Bank will have nearly 3,000 workers in Maine by next year, with more than one-third of them working in the Twin Cities. They'll field roughly 25,000 calls a day, seven days a week.
Although the banking industry has been under siege and most banks clamped down on lending, TD Bank actually increased lending, said Bharat Masrani, president and CEO of TD Bank. And the bank continues to be strong, he said, noting it is one of only three listed on the New York Stock Exchange with a triple-A rating. It is one of the 15 largest commercial banks in the country.
“We have the capital and desire to grow here in Maine,” he said. The opening of the call center is a reflection of the growth of the bank's customer base, he said.
“TD Bank has strong ties in Maine and were are committed to strengthening our presence here even more,” he said.
In keeping with its green-lettered logo, the bank's new call center is carbon neutral, employing cutting-edge techniques for reducing its reliance on carbon fuels. The center is seeking LEED Gold certification for its environment-friendly efforts by:
* choosing a location that encourages bicycle commuting and use of public transportation;
* landscaping with drought-tolerant plants;
* installing plumbing fixtures that use 33 percent less water than conventional fixtures;
* using recycled and regionally manufactured materials, such as Maine granite and Thomas Moser furniture;
* building a 40-foot-by-40-foot skylight in the middle of the office that reduces the need for electricity;
* installing motion sensors to turn off lights when vacant; and
* using all green power sources.
Spreading its green around, the bank on Friday also presented St. Mary's Food Pantry with a check for $5,000.
The call center will host an open house on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. complete with refreshments.