First Union Corp. plans to hire as many as 80 people in Baltimore to service small-business customers over the telephone, according to an executive with the company.
Gary Will, vice president and site manager of First Union's business banking center at 7 St. Paul St., said he expects to fully staff the operation by next fall.
"I am interviewing like crazy," Will said. "We hope to add about six to eight people a month."
Will is building a staff that will service the bank's small-business customers in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, New York and Connecticut.
A portion of the new recruits will answer questions from small-business customers about First Union products and services.
Another group, known as remote relationship managers, will try to build relationships with customers and sell them banking products and services, ranging from savings accounts to insurance to retirement plans, Will said.
"The goal is to retain the small-business customer and help them grow through the use of First Union products," Will said. "Through all of the mergers and acquisitions we have gone through, we have not necessarily served these customers as well as they deserved."
The new employees will be paid a base salary in the low-$30,000 range, but they can also receive performance bonuses that can triple their base pay, Will said.
The Charlotte, N.C.-based First Union, which is the sixth-largest banking company in the country with $234.6 billion in assets, is strengthening its connection with small businesses because they represent a hefty share of its business.
Eight-five percent of First Union's business customers are small operations, meaning they have annual sales of $10 million or less, Will said. In all, First Union has about 750,000 small-business customers.
Pub Date: 12/16/98