ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – PSCU Financial Services, the card processor for over 500 credit unions that process with Denver-based First Data, has laid off 102 of its employees, 90 from the firm's St. Petersburg headquarters and 12 in other locations. The reduction shrinks the firm's workforce by 12% and will take effect on Friday, June 20. The employees were notified on the week of June 9, said PSCU spokeswoman Karen Arnold. She said that challenging economic times had led the firm to reexamine its operations. A local media source reported the company had made the change after technology changes had reduced the need for staff. Merry Peteuk, director of public relations for PSCU, said that the downsizing had been the result of a number of different factors, none of them terribly unusual or unexpected – some had come about from changes PSCU had made and others had come about from circumstances out of the firm's control. Peteuk maintained that the reduction in staff represented one of the final changes brought about by PSCU's downsizing its call centers from six spread across the country to two, one based in Phoenix, Arizona and the other in St. Petersburg. "That consolidation brought about some economies that we knew it would," she said. She also said that the firm's change to usage based pricing has meant that there would be an income drop, which she also said was expected. "We had been watching how the change in pricing had an impact on our income," she added, and the firm had to make adjustments to react to that reality. Among the biggest changes that the firm could not control was the slow economy, said Peteuk, which she blamed for both fostering the low-interest income environment and slowing the pace of credit card transactions. She said the slow economy had a greater impact because it meant the firm failed to achieve the projected growth that had figured into its previous hiring calculations. "We try to be forward looking and to hire and plan for growth," Peteuk said. When the projected growth failed to materialize PSCU had to take that into account, she explained. Peteuk also noted that the layoff had drawn attention because layoffs are a rare event at the company. "In general, PSCU has a very low staff attrition rate when compared with the financial services industry," she said. [email protected]

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