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Financial services firm opens doors downtown

Synthia Jaramillo, director of economic development for the City of Albuquerque and Mark Johnson, Chairman and Owner of LSI, cut the ribbon during the grand opening for LSI’s new office in Downtown Albuquerque. (Photo courtesy of LSI).

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A financial services firm from the Midwest opened its Downtown Albuquerque office earlier this month with nearly 30 employees onboard. And it doesn’t plan to stop hiring anytime soon.

Lending Solutions Inc., an Illinois-based company that specializes in customer service and other offerings for credit unions, banks and other financial institutions, is currently training 26 employees in the fine points of working with customers of those financial institutions over the phone. Longer term, Dave Brooke, executive vice president of the company, known colloquially as LSI, said the business plans to hire more than 80 people by the end of 2019, and eventually fill the 178-person office the company opened in Century Plaza, at 400 Tijeras Ave. NW.

The company plans for its office to be here “for decades to come,” Brooke said.

LSI announced plans to expand here in February, following a lengthy search outside the Central Time Zone to help them keep up with growing cross-country demand. Ultimately, Brooke said LSI chose Albuquerque over other cities it looked at in the Southwest because of Duke City’s bilingual population and limited competition with other firms for employees.

The company worked with the city’s Economic Development Department to identify potential sites. Synthia Jaramillo, director of economic development for the city, said Albuquerque has made downtown redevelopment a priority, and praised LSI for bringing jobs to the area and boosting the daytime population of the city center. She added that LSI opted not to apply for Local Economic Development Act money from the city or state when opening the office.

“They fell in love with Albuquerque,” Jaramillo said.

Brooke said LSI is planning to relocate eight employees from the company’s offices outside Chicago by August, but said the rest of the growth will be local hires. The new employees will work as customer service agents, answering phone calls and assisting the customers of LSI’s client companies.

“Our folks are so knowledgeable…that the customer doesn’t know they aren’t talking directly to their credit union,” Brooke said.

He said the company received more than 2,000 applicants for the initial round of jobs, and expects continuing interest. Jobs begin at $15 per hour, the same rate employees receive in Illinois, and the company plans to promote some of the people it hires to supervisory roles.