BY ALEXANDER SOULE
Hearst Connecticut Media
Synchrony Financial, the Stamford-based spinoff of General Electric and GE Capital, is adding at least 200 jobs in Stamford to its existing workforce of 350 people, with state assistance.
Synchrony Financial manages credit card and financing programs for retailers, health clinics and other entities. Earlier this year, the company reached a lease agreement for more than 300,000 square feet of space at 777 Long Ridge Road in Stamford where it is based, sufficient space for more than 1,200 workers under normal office configurations.
The company will be eligible for grants of up to $20 million based on hiring targets, including $10 million for the first 200 jobs it creates.
“Fueling growth in our core industries is one of the keys to our state’s long-term economic success, and Connecticut has the right mix of financial services know-how and resources to help companies like Synchrony Financial thrive and prosper,” Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said in a statement. “A financial services and technology innovation leader … adding hundreds of new jobs here demonstrates that Connecticut is moving forward.”
At last report, Fairfield-based GE held a controlling stake of $26 billion in Synchrony shares. GE in June said it would consider moving its Connecticut operations elsewhere if the Connecticut General Assembly passed a budget with increases on corporate and income taxes.
As of July 21, a “careers” button on Synchrony Financial’s website linked to GE’s own careers website, with both companies’ logos listed on the resulting page and fewer than 20 open positions listed. A Synchrony Financial spokesperson did not respond immediately Tuesday to a Stamford Advocate query on whether the incentives could be used to cover any GE employees that transfer to Synchrony as part of the separation of the two companies.
In a July 17 conference call, Synchrony CEO Margaret Keane said the company has seen increased costs of late as it builds out necessary infrastructure to function fully independent of GE under the oversight of federal regulators, as well as for major new accounts like a credit card program for BP that was previously handled by JPMorgan Chase.
“The largest driver of the increase in expenses were employee costs, which were up $43 million as we added employees over the past year in key areas to support the infrastructure build for separation as well as growth of the business,” Keane said.
Synchrony separately announced the relocation of offices within Charlotte, N.C., where it employs about 400 people in sales, marketing, customer service and other functions, with room to accommodate 1,000 people there.
Hearst Connecticut Media includes four daily newspapers: Connecticut Post, Greenwich Time, The Advocate (Stamford) and The News-Times (Danbury). See stamfordadvocate.com for more from this reporter.