Bank of America closing Orono call center; 200 jobs affected

Posted Feb. 27, 2012, at 6 p.m.
Last modified Feb. 28, 2012, at 5:39 a.m.

ORONO, Maine — Bank of America announced Monday that it is closing its Orono call center, which has about 200 employees, effective Oct. 31.

Employees were informed of plans to close the center, located in leased space at 16 Godfrey Drive, early Monday, Bank of America spokesman T.J. Crawford said.

“It goes without saying that we will do everything we can to support our employees,” Crawford said late Monday afternoon in a telephone interview.

Crawford said the company is working to place affected workers in other positions within the company and that eligible employees who opt not to seek jobs with Bank of America will be given severance packages.

The Orono call center specialized in working with customers who have fallen behind on their mortgage payments, he said.

Bank of America’s call centers in Belfast and Brunswick will remain open, he said.

The Orono call center employs nearly 200 workers, an employee said Monday afternoon. About three-quarters of them are employed full time.

Word of the Orono call center closure comes less than three months after the company confirmed that it was closing its branch offices in Orono and Sanford.

Those closures, which were announced to customers in early December and take effect on March 16, will not result in job losses because positions for the affected employees have been found in nearby Bank of America offices.

U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud said that he was “extremely disappointed” about the company’s plan to close the Orono call center.

“Our call center employees in Maine are second to none and Bank of America’s Orono facility is no exception,” the 2nd District Democrat said in a statement late Monday afternoon. “While I strongly disagree with the bank’s decision, I stand ready to help impacted employees with whatever assistance they need.”

In October of last year, the congressman wrote to Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan urging him to consider the economic impact on Mainers of the company’s plans plan to lay off 30,000 workers nationwide over the next two or three years.

“As our fragile economy continues to recover, Bank of America should work to ensure that these actions have the minimal effect possible on our economy and do not fall entirely on one region or a handful of communities,” Michaud wrote, noting that the company employs hundreds of Mainers at its three call centers and more than 30 banking centers.

“Mainers, as well as the economic health of their communities, depend on these jobs,” he said. “While I understand that you need to take steps to maintain the financial health of the bank, it is equally important to recognize that you received substantial assistance from American taxpayers to get through the financial crisis.

“You now have an opportunity to repay that debt by taking every step possible to ensure that the restructuring of the bank does not disproportionally affect a particular state, region or community,” Michaud said.

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