Providian Financial Corp. said it will open a customer service center in Salt Lake City in April and expand its work force there from an initial 50 people to at least 400 by yearend.

The San Francisco-based credit card issuer will thus be contributing to a boom in financial services employment in Utah, where many bank and nonbank companies have consumer finance and industrial bank subsidiaries.

Providian, which has four million customers and $10 billion of managed loans, owns Providian Bank in Salt Lake City, which markets loan and deposit products nationwide.

"We chose to locate our new center in Utah because the state offers a favorable business climate for a diversified financial services company like Providian," said chairman and chief executive officer Shailesh J. Mehta.

Providian has leased 40,000 square feet on two floors of the Lakeside Plaza building at International Center.

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