Chase will close Albion center, eliminate 400 local jobs

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 6 June 2013 at 12:00 am

Photo by Tom Rivers – JP Morgan Chase announced today it will close its Albion facility in September, cutting 400 local jobs.

ALBION – Four hundred people in Albion were told today their jobs will be gone in September.

JP Morgan Chase, which runs a mortgage center on East Avenue, announced it will close the site in about 90 days. The company acquired Washington Mutual about five years ago and the center peaked with nearly 1,000 employees.

Chase has been shrinking the site since then. The company said an improving economy means fewer people are behind on their mortgages, making the site in Albion less needed.

“Fewer homeowners are falling behind on their mortgages, so we need fewer employees to assist those who were struggling,” Chase said in a statement to WGRZ in Buffalo. “This shift is good for homeowners and the economy overall. We will work with affected employees to find openings at Chase or other local companies.”

The announcement is bad news for Albion, which was already stung in February when Claims Recovery Financial Services said it would move the bulk of its operations to Medina, where there is more room for the growing company at the Olde Pickle Factory. CRFS plans to keep about 200 workers in Albion while it grows to about 700 workers in Medina in the next year.

State Assemblyman Steve Hawley said he tried several times to reach Chase CEO Jamie Dimon in recent weeks, to urge the company to stay in Albion. Dimon never returned Hawley’s calls. Hawley was part of a contingent of local, state and federal officials who swayed Chase to stay in Albion after it acquired WaMu.

“I was hopeful they wouldn’t close the Albion site,” Hawley said.

He believes the Chase site and their employees will be attractive for a new employer in Albion.

“It’s a good facility,” Hawley said. “It’s been updated and the employees have marketable skills. They’re hard-working.”