Friday, March 26, 2004

Hilo call center to close,
lay off all 172 workers

Penncro Associates Inc., a Pennsylvania-based debt-collection company, said yesterday it will close its call center in Hilo and lay off all 172 employees.

The company, which opened the Big Island office in October 1999, said in a filing with the state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations that it was shutting the site because of a loss of business.

Penncro said employees were notified yesterday and that separations will be staggered beginning Wednesday and ending on or about May 15 when the office will be permanently closed.

The layoffs affect 150 collectors, 19 managers/supervisors and three administrative staffers. None of the employees is represented by a union.

Penncro, whose corporate headquarters are in Southampton, Penn., also has two offices in Pennsylvania, and one each in New Mexico and Texas. There was no indication yesterday whether those offices would be affected and a spokesperson for the Hilo office was not available yesterday.

The company, which works with banks, mortgage companies and other lenders across the country, said at the time it opened the Hilo center that it wanted to take advantage of Hawaii's time zone so employees could work the phones during the day to talk to mainlanders at their homes in the evenings.


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