CARY, N.C. — SAS, the world’s largest privately held software company, has opened a new office in Charlotte in a bid to further grow its presence in financial services.

The 12,000-square foot office is located downtown at Interstate Tower.

SAS is staffing the office, which opened on Monday, with 10 people.

“With 30 years of experience in financial services, SAS works closely with top financial institutions to provide timely solutions that address critical business needs,” said Jim Davis, chief marketing officer of SAS, in a statement. “Many of those customers are located in Charlotte, and as they continue to grow, we must ensure we can address their needs with sales and support services. This new office will give us the proximity that we need to work together, as well as provide more space, to meet the growing demand for training.”

Financial services represent the biggest industry segment for SAS, producing 39.5 percent of its revenue in 2005.

SAS software applications are used by more than 2,900 financial institutions around the world, including 96 percent of those ranked in the Fortune Global 500.

Financial customers include Wachovia and First Citizens Bank & Trust.

SAS, which is based in Cary, has doubled the number of its staff people in the Charlotte area over the past three years.