by Lance Turner
Posted 7/17/2013 07:43 am
Updated 9 months ago
The city of Little Rock's board of directors voted Tuesday to certify Fidelity National Information Services Inc. of Jacksonville, Fla., for an incentives program that would help the company add up to 200 customer service jobs at its Little Rock campus.
According to the resolution, Fidelity is planning a $3 million expansion at its campus at 4001 N. Rodney Parham Road. The resolution said the company will expand "an existing facility" and purchase "technology equipment, HVAC, office equipment and work stations."
The city's resolution certifies Fidelity to participate in the Arkansas Tax Back program, a statutory incentives program overseen by the state Department of Finance and Administration.
Under the Tax Back program, businesses can receive a refund of sales and use taxes for building materials, taxable machinery, equipment associated with the approved project, such as an expansion.
Brad Fennessy, Fidelity's senior manager of corporate communications, confirmed the company's plans, saying Fidelity would hire between 150 and 200 people. He told Arkansas Business on Wednesday that the company is already hiring and hopes to have the expansion complete by the end of the year.
Fennessy called Little Rock one of Fidelity's "focus campuses," along with its Jacksonville, Fla., headquarters and a data center in Milwaukee.
Publicly traded Fidelity provides core financial institution processing, card issuer and transaction processing services and other related services to financial institutions, retailers, mortgage lenders and real estate professionals.
In Little Rock, its operations include running customer service call centers for clients. Ann Akins, a Fidelity vice president based in Northport, Ala., oversees call center operations in Little Rock, Northport and St. Petersburg, Fla. Akins said she began hiring workers during the first week of June.
Jobs range from front-line customer service representatives to supervisors and managers, she said.
Little Rock's Fidelity Information Services was founded as Systematics in 1968 by Jack Stephens and Walter Smiley. Later it became Alltel Information Services, and then became Fidelity Information Services in 2003 when it was sold to Fidelity National Financial. Akins said the Little Rock campus has 966 workers.
According to the Arkansas Economic Development Commission, applicants for Tax Back must get an endorsement resolution from "the local governing authority that authorizes the refund of its local taxes." Applicants must also be approved by the AEDC.
On Wednesday, AEDC spokesman Joe Holmes said he couldn't comment on the Fidelity expansion.
Businesses participating in the Tax Back program must also be part of the Arkansas Advantage job creation program, which would apply an income tax credit on the company's payroll taxes, provided the company maintains a certain number of full-time workers for a set period.
Word of Fidelity's plans come more than a week after Hewlett-Packard Co. of Palo Alto, Calif., announced it would lay off 500 people at its Conway services center. The company will still employ about 900 people there.
In 2005, Arkansas Business reported on a $22 million incentive package Arkansas proposed to get 800 news jobs from Fidelity, which was considering a competing package from Jacksonville, Fla. Fidelity had moved Arkansas jobs to Florida in the past.