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Vicki Gerson
Vicki Gerson
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Illinois National Acquires Local Operation, Saving 54 Jobs

A small bank in Springfield, Ill. has come to the aid of its community, saving 54 jobs slated to be axed when a corporation shut down its local operations.

A small bank in Springfield, Ill. has come to the aid of its community, saving 54 jobs slated to be axed when acorporation shut down its local operations.

Public notice had already been given and severance notices sent to the 54 employees of National Processing Co., which had decided to close its Springfield remittance processing center. But in September, Illinois National Bank announced it would buy the center, located just three blocks away, and hire all 54 employees.

For Illinois National, the remittance operation is a "good strategic fit" for a growing commercial bank in the Illinois capital, said Richard McCord, president of the $8 million bank. The remittance center's largest customer is the State of Illinois, on whose behalf it processes residential income tax and commercial sales tax payments.

The bank is drumming up private-sector customers for its new business-training staff in commercial cash management technology and certified cash management.

"Our goal all along has been to service the business and governmental entities in this marketplace. It's a natural for our commercial accounts," said McCord. Besides government, he said, opportunities exist to service the medical, insurance and public utilities industries.

The bank has provided temporary help to assist the 54 full-time employees at the center, which is open six days a week and operates on two shifts. McCord is expanding the operation by using a local courier service within a 50-mile radius of Springfield. "This is a high volume business that is dependent on daily pickup of payments and/or post office lock boxes," he said.

Many of the bank's managers are former employees of Cleveland-based National City Corp., which owns 80% of National Processing, a leading payment services company. "My staff actually built that business in the 1980s and was very familiar with the remittance processing business as well as the customers," said McCord.

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