CSFBdirect Closes Call Center

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Credit Suisse First Boston's online brokerage division, CSFBdirect, will close its Parsippany, NJ, call center as part of cost-cutting efforts in reaction to the economic slowdown, the company announced this week.

A long-term reduction in the volume of online trading led CSFBdirect to consolidate its customer service operations at its three remaining call centers, the company said. The closure of the Parsippany call center will cost CSFBdirect $9 million in the first quarter this year but will result in an estimated $11 million in annual cost savings for the company.

Staff reductions resulting from the closure of the call center and other CSFBdirect locations totaled 150, or 10 percent of the division's U.S. work force.

Calls to a CSFBdirect spokeswoman were not returned.

Evidence is growing that the bear market is shaking up both the call center and online trading industries. Ameritrade cut its work force by 9 percent in January. Most of the cuts were felt in its Omaha, NE, and Fort Worth, TX, call centers.

Call center service providers RMH Teleservices, Bryn Mawr, PA, and Telespectrum, King of Prussia, PA, both have announced unspecified staff reductions in the past six months. In January, Amazon.com closed its call center in Seattle, where it has its headquarters, as part of a 1,300-employee layoff.

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