Debt collector plans to add 300 workers

November 12, 2008
A booming business collecting overdue student loans has prompted Premiere Credit of North America to launch an expansion of its Indianapolis headquarters that will add 300 workers. The expansion will more than double Premiere's work force, according to the Indiana Economic Development Corp.

Premier will spend more than $4 million on the expansion at its headquarters at 2002 Wellesley Blvd., which is near interstates 70 and 465 on the east side, and the addition of another location nearby.

Negotiations are underway on a couple of potential locations for the second office, said CEO David Hoeft. The 300 additional workers will be hired within 28 months, he said.

The number of delinquent college loans isn't growing, he said; Premiere Credit is growing because it is snagging a greater proportion of the collection work.

The U.S. Department of Education is the company's biggest customer, followed by several states, including California and New Mexico.

"The better you perform, the more paper the government places with you," Hoeft said.

The average age of the debt Premiere attempts to collect is about 8 years, Hoeft said. Premiere said it avoids threats and other hard-core approaches. It instead finds out why borrowers have fallen behind and helps them begin making payments.

Premiere starts its workers at $10 an hour. However, when commissions are included, the average worker earns $47,000 a year excluding benefits.

Premiere will receive as much as $2.5 million in performance-based tax credits from the state and as much as $200,000 in training grants.

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