Outsourcing to cost 21 jobs at First Data

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Posted: Tuesday, January 21, 2014 12:00 am

First Data Corp. said it has farmed out some tasks to an outside vendor, which will mean about 20 Omaha job losses at the affected department for the employer of about 5,000 people in the metro area.

The 21 workers are employed at the Procure to Pay department, which handles First Data's in-house tasks such as travel-expense management and accounts payable, said company spokeswoman Nancy Etheredge.

“This decision is a reflection of our ongoing efforts to improve efficiencies, and operate the most cost-effective business we can while remaining competitive in today's market,” Etheredge said. “The vendor offers advanced technology and automation that we are looking to leverage for this function.”

In November, Atlanta-based electronic payments processor First Data gave about 90 workers the option of enrolling in a performance improvement program or facing termination; about 20 employees were let go in the first week or so. First Data, whose predecessor firm was founded in Omaha in the 1960s, has been cutting costs amid annual losses since 2008.

That was the first full year under the ownership of New York private investment partnership Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. KKR's bond-fueled buyout increased First Data's debt by more than ninefold, to about $22 billion at the end of 2012, the last time the company reported annual results.

Etheredge said First Data has job openings in Omaha, despite the recent disruptions, and will seek to place affected workers in them. The transition to the outside operator of the in-house tasks will take as long as six months, she said.

“We do have open positions in Omaha and are working to redeploy the individuals affected,” Etheredge said.

Omaha is expected to gain First Data jobs after about 550 slots were cut at company operations in Denver late last year. First Data has said as many as 150 or so of those positions are likely to end up in the Omaha metro area.

First Data's computer systems process billions of credit and debit card swipes worldwide; the company employs about 24,000 people around the globe.

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