Week of June 4, 2001
  Blockbuster Deal of the Week
   from Site Selection's exclusive New Plant database
Incentive Package: $23.7 Million
Citibank's 2,000-Employee Expansion Will Almost Triple Northern Kentucky Work Force
By JACK LYNESite Selection Executive Editor of Interactive Publishing nkyFLORENCE, Ky. -- After substantially expanding less than four years earlier, Citibank (www.citibank.com) has announced that it will almost triple the work force at its credit-card operations center in Northern Kentucky.
        The company will create up to 2,000 new jobs over the next five years inside a US$44 million, 180,000-sq.-ft. (16,720-sq.-ft.) facility. The new facility will be built on Citibank's 81-acre (32.4-hectare) site in Boone County, Ky.
        Citibank's latest expansion comes fast on the heels of the 145,000-sq.-ft. (13,470-sq.-ft.) facility that the company opened in August of 1997, which now houses 940 employees. 1997's new facility became a necessity after the 100-employee Citibank operation that located in Erlanger, Ky., in 1989 grew so rapidly that some employees were forced to park at the nearby Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky International Airport, hopping a shuttle for their final leg to work.
        "Northern Kentucky has provided the ideal environment for Citibank's business to grow and prosper," said Kevin Kessinger, Citibank director of operations and technology.
Growth in the region nestled across the Ohio River from Cincinnati helped spur the impetus for the Northern Kentucky Convention and Visitors Bureau (above) in the Kenton County city of Covington.

Labor, Infrastructure Major Factors

Citibank investigated locations in a number of states before settling on the Kentucky site. Company officials confirmed that sites in both Ohio and Kentucky were considered, as well as locations in a number of other states that Citibank did not divulge. The Northern Kentucky facility is one of four U.S. credit-card operations centers for Long Island, N.Y.-based Citibank. The other three are in Jacksonville, Fla.; Las Vegas; and Wilmington, Del. Northern Kentucky's labor and infrastructure strengths were major factors swaying Citibank's decision, Kessinger explained.
        "The region's dedicated and well-educated work force, affordable housing and competitive cost of living have afforded Citibank a talented and committed team of employees," he said.
        "Additionally . . . a modern communications infrastructure and a great public transit system, including a world-class airport, provides critical support to the business."
        Delta Air Lines (www.delta.com) cited the same factors in locating a hub operation in Northern Kentucky. The hub is now Delta's second-largest, employing some 5,000.

$26.7 Million Incentive Package

Kessinger also cited "an accommodating business and political climate" as another positive in picking the Bluegrass State site.
        Part of that welcoming climate included a $26.7 million incentive package. The incentives will come in tax credits granted over a 10-year period under the Kentucky Jobs Development Act. The Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (www.thinkkentucky.com/kyedc/kybizince.html) in late March gave preliminary approval for the $26.7 million package, which includes credits on corporate income taxes, state income taxes and local payroll taxes.
        The existing Northern Kentucky credit-card center provides collection, credit-risk detection and customer service for Citibank's U.S. cardholders. The 2,000 new employees, Kessinger explained, will expand those functions to respond to steady increases in Citigroup's credit-card holders, who now number more than 100,000.
        "From our business perspective, the addition of this new building will help us remain in front of the curve and ensure that we have the facilities and people in place to provide the highest quality service to our card members," he said.

Project Continues Area's Hot Spell

In addition to state representatives, the Northern Kentucky Tri-County Economic Development Corporation (Tri-ED at www.northernkentuckyusa.com) worked closely with Citibank on the project, assisting in securing the incentive package.
        "This major expansion represents quality jobs with a company that already has proven it can thrive in Northern Kentucky," said Danny Fore, Northern Kentucky Tri-ED president.
        Founded in 1987, Northern Kentucky Tri-ED represents Boone, Kenton, and Campbell counties, which are nestled just across the Ohio River from Cincinnati. According to Northern Kentucky Tri-ED figures, the agency has assisted in 324 new business locations or expansions since its inception, creating 31,593 direct new jobs and more than $3 billion in new capital investment. The area has been particularly successful in securing headquarters operations. Ashland and Toyota Motor Manufacturing North America are both headquartered in Northern Kentucky, and Dana, Fidelity Investments and GE Capital have all sited divisional headquarters in the area.
        The newest expansion, Citibank's project, will break ground next week. Citibank officials projected that the new Northern Kentucky facility will open "in mid-2002." For the Citibank center that opened in 1997, only a year elapsed between groundbreaking and completion, company officials said.


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