Note: The Skinny blog is written by Rick Smith, editor and co-founder of Local Tech Wire and business editor of

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. – IBM’s announcement last week about as part of a subsidiary is the end result of a demise for one project in Charlotte and the transfer of 50 jobs to the Triangle from the Queen City.

The Triangle also won out over Atlanta and Dallas as IBM (NYSE: IBM) mulled where to place workers as it expanded the Lender Business Process Services group.

The Department of Commerce said Monday that IBM decided in March to not proceed with an expansion of the same operation in Charlotte, which had been announced in 2008.

Instead, IBM wrote Secretary of Commerce Keith Crisco at that time, saying that it “seeks a partnership” with North Carolina to “grow and develop” the subsidiary’s operations “at its existing Raleigh facility.”

Gov. Bev Perdue announced the partnership last Thursday under which IBM would invest $3.7 million in the facility and create 600 jobs with an average wage of $50,000.

IBM and the state signed a “Community Economic Development Agreement” under which IBM would receive $7.79 million in rebates for state employee withholding taxes over 10 years.

The agreement also requires IBM to “retain” 95 existing jobs at the subsidiary called IBM Lender Business Services.

According to the Department of Commerce, some 45 people had already been hired in RTP for the center and another 50 will be transferred from Charlotte.

IBM must meet requirements of 360 new jobs in 2010 and 540 total through 2011 in order to prevent default on the agreement.
In 2008, IBM decided to expand its mortgage-processing center in Charlotte and hire 600 workers over the next four years. IBM said it would invest $2.4 million in the new center, which was to include a “mortgage academy” for employee training.
If IBM creates all the jobs called for in the JDIG agreement, it would have received more than $9.7 million in tax rebates based on workers’ wages.

The services group already had 68 people based at its headquarters in Charlotte when the 2008 expansion was announced.
In the March letter, IBM’s Terry Hansen, manager of Public Partnerships at IBM, wrote:

“Due to the unexpected economic downturn, plans for expansion of the Charlotte facility were not met and IBM does not expect to meet its original goals at that location.”

IBM also made an acquisition of another firm in the mortgage field.

“The acquisition has led to the development of new client contracts resulting in the need for IBM to expand employment for this business at one of several facilities where the company owns excess office space,” Hansen wrote.

Hansen narrowed the location for the jobs to Raleigh, Metro Atlanta and Metro Dallas, Hansen noted.

“Therefore, this letter is submitted to serve as notice to the Department of Commerce of IBM’s intent to terminate the 2008 Job Development Investment Grant agreement with the North Carolina Economic Investment Committee,” Hansen added.

IBM is hiring now for the RTP jobs.

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