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JEFFERSON PARISH, La. – With nine of its 22 employees back in place, Fiserv’s item processing facility in this New Orleans suburb reopened Oct. 3 after shutting its doors on Aug. 26 as Katrina closed in. The hurricane made landfall on Aug. 29 but the center’s processing services already had been moved to Houston and the Atlanta suburb of Norcross, Ga., to minimize interruptions, the company says. Service with a land courier began the day after the storm and lasted until air service was restored on Sept. 16. The Houston facility’s work was redirected to a Dallas center for one day, on Sept. 22, because of the approach of Hurricane Rita, says Bob Long, COO of Fiserv Item Processing Services Southern Region. “This has been a logistical nightmare,” Long says. “But everyone pulled together and it was the collective efforts of clients and suppliers that got us through this catastrophe.” Because the New Orleans Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta has not yet moved all of its operations back to New Orleans, Fed items will continue to be processed through Fiserv’s Norcross office, Long says, and the New Orleans office will run at about 50% capacity until the Fed returns checks services there, if it indeed ever does. Several employees will remain at the Houston and Norcross operations until further notice, Long says. His boss, Guy Fries, president of Fiserv Item Processing Services Southern Region, adds, “I’d like to acknowledge the many people within our organization for their commitment, dedication and effort during this crisis, but I wouldn’t know where to start. “I don’t ever remember going to school and getting trained for this type of disaster, so this goes to show we all have it in us to give when the time comes.”

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