Week of January 31, 2000
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Proving Risk Profitable, Providian Opening 600-Employee Austin Center

Providian Financial (www.providian.com) continues to prove that taking risks can prove to be both prudent and profitable. As part of its growth surge, the San Francisco-based issuer of secured credit cards to customers with bad credit histories has announced that it will open a new, 600-employee operations center in Austin, Texas.

The new facility in Austin, which will be Providian Financial Providian's third in Texas, is being set up to accommodate growth in the company's consumer lending businesses.

Fast growth has also been evident at Providian's facility in Arlington, Texas, which opened in June of 1999. Already, the Arlington credit card operations center employs over 1,000 people. Providian's rapid growth is further underscored by the new operations center that the company previously announced that it's locating in San Antonio, Texas.

"The tremendous growth in new customers we've been experiencing has created the need for additional facilities," said David Alvarez, president of Providian's credit card division. "We are happy to be part of the Austin business community and are eager to have area residents join our talented and growing employee population."

Labor, Available Facility Major Factors in Decision

Austin's growing population and its educated labor pool were major factors in the area's selection by Providian, company officials explained.

Another major factor in the selected site was the availability of the right kind of facility to jump-start the Providian facility's getting online very rapidly. The company's fast growth limited its site search to existing buildings in Austin, Providian officials said. Providian is leasing 60,000 sq. ft. (5,400 sq. m.) at 6500 Tracor Lane in Austin, a facility that was most recently utilized as a call center. Because of the facility's prior use, the building will require minimal remodeling and will come online in its new incarnation as early as March, company officials projected.

Recruiting has already begun for the center's customer representatives and managers. Most of the employees for the new center will come from the local Austin area, said Providian Vice President Dan Barnard, who is in charge of the company's facilities.

CM Realty and Trammell Crow Brokerage Services conducted the site search and lease negotiations for Providian, company officials reported.

Officials Praise Texas Business Climate

As the facility was announced, Barnard also prasied the Texas business climate.

"Texas offers a very hospitable business climate and, by establishing offices throughout the state, Providian can also benefit from efficiencies in technology, recruiting, and management," Barnard explained. "Equally important is the fact that Austin offers a fast-growing, highly qualified labor force that will support our commitment to growth and 100 percent customer satisfaction."

Providian's commitment to growth is underscored by the fact that its 1998 net of US$296.4 million marked a 54.8 percent increase, and its employment at year-end 1998 represented one-year growth of 57.1 percent.

That rapid growth continues, as Providian's current total of 11,000 employees throughout the United States and in the United Kingdom represents a 61 percent increase from yearend 1998 totals.

The company's other facilities are located in Concord and Tilton, N.H.; Fairfield, Oakland, Pleasanton, Sacramento, and San Francisco, Calif.; London; Louisville, Ky.; and Salt Lake City.

©2000 Conway Data, Inc. All rights reserved. Data is from many sources and is not warranted to be accurate or current.