Spokane-based Washington Trust Bank says it has leased 18,000 square feet of office space in the Holley Mason Building downtown to make room for some of its growing back-office functions here.
The space includes the entire fifth floor of the six-story historic building at 157 S. Howard, where Washington Trust will move and expand its call center.
"We're outgrowing our space downtown and found relatively economical space a block or two away from our current campus," says Peter F. Stanton, Washington Trust's chairman and CEO.
Jack Heath, the bank's president and chief operating officer, says the call center currently employs 25 people, and he expects the bank will expand the call center staff to 30 in the near future.
"We anticipate adding some staffing to the call center to expand its hours, and make sure wait times are very short," Heath says.
Moving the call center, which currently is located in the bank's operations center, at 176 S. Post, also will enable Washington Trust to eventually expand its home-loan and investment-services groups that are located there, he says.
"We're feeling an uptick in loans, and we're excited about this year and next year in terms of loan growth," Heath says.
Washington Trust also will move its compliance group to the Holley Mason Building, Heath says. The compliance group, also currently located in the operations center, has four employees and likely will expand by one or two employees in the near future to handle regulatory functions, which are becoming increasingly more complex, he says.
The call center, which handles inbound customer service calls, will remain an integral part of Washington Trust's downtown presence, Heath says.
"We think it's important that call centers be part of the corporate culture so employees are interacting with people they are servicing every day, as opposed to sending it offshore and not close to the corporate culture," he says.
Both the Holley Mason Building and the bank's operations center are within a few blocks of the bank's corporate headquarters, located in the 15-story Washington Trust Financial Center, at 717 W. Sprague.
"We heard from our employees that they want to be close to the downtown core and have access to amenities for lunch hours and after work," he says. "Having access to shops and restaurants is a critical part of quality of life."
Stanton says Washington Trust Bank employs more than 200 people downtown. The bank employs 800 people in all and operates 21 branches in the Spokane-Coeur d'Alene area.
Cody George, Carl Guenzel, and Craig Soehren, all of Spokane-based Kiemle & Hagood Co., handled the Holley Mason lease.
Soehren says the lease fills the largest vacant space in the building.
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