A national, not-for-profit education finance company has opened a call center in Mesa and is hiring people to man that center.
San Francisco -based Chela Financial opened its new customer service center Friday at 5416 E. Baseline Road. The company opened an office in the East Valley a year ago and had 15 employees. It now has 50 employees at the new center and will double the size of that work force during the next two years.
Those interested in apply for jobs with Chela Financial can go to the company’s In ternet site, www.loans4students.org,
which includes a section on employment opportunities.
The company chose Mesa for the call center because "it’s kind of becoming a mecca for call centers in the East Valley," said president and CEO Carol Coffman.
"We’ve just found tremendously great personnel resources here," she said. "Our recruiting efforts have been phenomenal. We’ve found people with call center experience and with customer service experience. We’re finding people with good work ethic and respect for all people."
The purpose of the new center will be to service loans, and to serve both new and existing customers, Coffman said. The new center is part of the company’s effort to move away from outsourcing for customer service, she said.
"We are beginning to bring that process in house, and originate and service those loans ourselves," she said. "We want to be closer to our customers . . . and also to be able to launch and initiate a variety of new products, and owning that process ourselves allows us to do that in response to customer needs as we see them grow and change."
Chela Financial has been in business more than 20 years, and offers consumer and federal education loans. It has financed more than $4 billion in loans, and has provided more than $2 million to scholarship and outreach programs. Its portfolio currently includes $2.3 billion in loans.
The company has not suffered with the economic downturn, but has actually benefitted, Coffman said.
"Generally in a sluggish economy, we find a greater demand for education and education financing because when people find themselves displaced from a job, they are usually going back and looking for training of some type, college or vocational training, in order to become gainfully employed again," she said. "What we also find is there’s a greater reliance on education finance during these times because of family situations."
While Chela Financial’s headquarters will remain in San Francisco, this expansion of the company’s Arizona facility will allow it to manage all aspects of the life of a student loan, and streamlines the process for customers and financial aid advisers, Coffman said.