Global financial firm, possibly Wells Fargo, considering Miami-Dade County for expansion that could bring 366 jobs
By Yudislaidy Fernandez
A global financial services firm now operating here is considering Miami-Dade County among two expansion options that could generate 366 new local jobs over the next two years.
County government's cost: $115,160 in incentives if Miami-Dade is chosen, according to documents the Beacon Council submitted to the county commission seeking the expansion aid. State incentives would also be involved.
Although the company's identity is confidential during the selection process, it is based in San Mateo County, CA, and already has a service center in the county, the application says, fitting the profile of financial giant Wells Fargo.
Late last year, San Francisco-based Wells Fargo entered South Florida by acquiring Wachovia Bank. Then it began marking its territory in South Florida, where it now leads in deposit market share, operating 223 financial centers and branches and employing 5,200.
The undisclosed expansion candidate is projecting added inbound calls to its customer service centers and to handle the growth is looking to expand one of them, in either Miami-Dade or Virginia.
Before the Wachovia acquisition, Wells Fargo had no Florida branches, though more than six Wells Fargo businesses had a state presence, including its wealth management arm, commercial banking operation and insurance services.
Wachovia's buy added 66 Miami-Dade branches to Wells Fargo's portfolio and its total assets ballooned to $1.3 trillion.
Kathy Harrison, a Wachovia spokeswoman, initially said the bank was not seeking government expansion aid, but later said she would check to make certain.
Under Florida's Qualified Target Industry tax refund program, the unidentified financial company has requested $475,800, of which 80% would come from the state, the application says, with $95,160 in county matching funds.
The firm has also applied for $20,000 in local job incentives, totaling $115,160 in Miami-Dade incentives if the proposal is approved and the firm expands here. The county's money would come from its general fund.
The Beacon Council, the county's business-recruiting organization, analyzed the impact of expansion. The company would invest $1.7 million in building construction and renovation and $2.2 million in capital equipment, the Beacon Council says.
The Beacon Council estimates the $3.9 million investment and the local economic impact from the operations of this financial services company would generate $119,740 countywide in general fund revenues over five years.
Jobs potentially created: 185 by December 2010 and another 181 by end of 2011, with an average annual salary of $35,000. Grants would be paid after targets were met.
The Beacon Council did not comment, citing confidentiality.
The county is competing with Virginia, which is offering $885,218 in corporate income tax credits, training grants and recruiting services, the application says.
Miami-Dade's Housing and Community Development Committee is to review the proposal at its next meeting, which was due this week but was postponed, a county spokesman said. A new date has not been set.