Chase Manhattan Corp. said it plans to add 1,100 back-office jobs at its Tampa operations facility.
A handful of the new jobs would be in the auto finance and technology units, but the bulk are slated for credit card customer service and collections, said Chase spokesman Kenneth Herz in New York.
The nation's largest banking company, with $352 billion of assets, said it has also planned $18 million in renovations at the Tampa site to accommodate the added employees.
The New York-based bank said the new hires, which amount to a 20% addition to its credit card work force, would handle projected growth in a $26 billion portfolio.
"This is a major expansion for us. We've got a long-term commitment to the (card) business," said Mr. Herz.
The hiring would begin in the fall and continue over the next three years, Mr. Herz said.
Since it combined its card operations with Chemical Banking Corp.'s last year, Chase has boosted receivables by more than 10%. Revenues jumped from $466 million to $526 million over the last six months. In the second quarter, credit card revenues rose by 13% as average managed receivables increased by $2.2 billion.
But credit quality has wavered. Second-quarter net income from credit card operations was $39 million, a decline of 51% from the 1996 quarter. Net chargeoffs were $383 million, about 6% of average managed receivables. That compared with $279 million, or 4.78% of average managed receivables, in the same period of 1996.
Analysts said Chase's growth plan underscores how committed the company is to a sometimes volatile business. Moreover, the job additions combined with a planned $25 million investment this year in card-related technologies further mark Chase-currently the third-largest card issuer-as one of the more aggressive in the field.
"They're trying to build up the credit card business. They feel that credit quality is starting to improve," said Ronald Mandle, an analyst with Sanford C. Bernstein.
One of Chase's recent successes is the cobranded card it launched last October with Wal-Mart Stores Inc. They have signed more than 1.5 million cardholders whose receivables account for about 5% of the total portfolio.
But card-loan growth is "across the board," said Mr. Herz. Chase is the No. 1 issuer of cobranded gasoline cards, for example. Its Shell Oil cobranded card, inherited from Chemical, represents more than $4.5 billion in loans and more than three million accounts.
Chase's decision to expand in Tampa was due partly to the lure of more than $7 million in economic incentives. A state program offered the bank $5 million to create the new jobs. Another $2.6 million in road improvements around Chase's Tampa complex was also part of the deal.
Chase operates other card processing centers in Tempe, Ariz., Wilmington, Del., and Hicksville, N.Y.