PHOENIX – It's no mystery to PSCU Financial Services where a large part of credit union growth is happening – out West. As part of a realignment, the debit/credit card firm serving credit unions has consolidated five of its regional offices and opened a new 35,000 square foot facility in Phoenix. It shut down small satellite or regional offices in Michigan, Virginia, Honolulu, Arizona and Florida. "It's part of our step-by-step effort to make known to both our member credit unions and the industry that we will have a much larger presence on the West Coast," said PSCU Financial Services President/CEO Dave Serlo. The CUSO/cooperative has over 500 member CUs representing 6.5 million cardholders. About one-third of PSCU's membership base is in the West. Why Phoenix? "There are no known natural disasters," said Serlo. "It's the perfect back-up location." In the event of a disaster, the operation is designed to be able to do exactly what PSCU does out of its 180,000 square foot headquarters (spread among two buildings) in St. Petersburg, Fla. That type of back-up takes on added importance in this era where companies have a lot more than natural disasters to worry about. "Another reason for selecting Phoenix is it has evolved into a technology hub for major corporations," said Serlo. In fact two of PSCU's key partners, First Data Resources and AT&T have massive facilities in the city. Phoenix itself is becoming the home to many corporate giants. PSCU's new facility is in the Northwest section of the city. Its neighbors include the likes of American Express and Chubb. Phoenix also has a large contingent of well-educated, Spanish speaking people said Serlo. "We see future growth and business opportunities in helping credit unions both attract as well as service Spanish speaking people. Of the 100 employees who are currently in the new facility, a little over 30% speak fluent Spanish," said Serlo. That's key for PSCU which fields roughly 20,000 calls a day from CU cardholders. Of that 20,000 there's a large number from Spanish-speaking cardholders. "We'll also now have access to the West Coast without paying California prices," said Serlo. That already paid off when they went shopping for office space. It's well known that many dot-com companies were already in Phoenix or eyeing it as their home. The building PSCU is renting was built for a dot-com company that never moved in because of financial problems. "We had the good fortune of finding a building that's not yet built out. It was a shell to be a dot-com facility," said Serlo. Serlo believes PSCU is poised to grow out West and throughout the country because of a revamped product line-up that doesn't just rely on credit/debit cards. For example its e-com subsidiary, ePSCU, offers an electronic bill payment service, online credit card statement services, and others. Approximately 220 of its member CUs have signed up for at least one of its e-services. PSCU has also branched into telemarketing, card portfolio brokering and collections. About 800 people now work for PSCU – 700 in St. Petersburg and 100 in Phoenix. When PSCU first announced its realignment, it said it wanted to have a job for anyone who was affected by the shutting down of its regional offices. "I am pleased to say 60% of those affected were able to relocate and stay with the company. Most companies who announce realignment are really doing it to slash salaries and expenses. We did it for better service levels – the exact opposite reason," said Serlo. Serlo wished all of the affected employees would have stayed with the company, but those that elected not to were giving generous severance packages he said. [email protected]

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