Editor’s note: This post was written by J. Scott Trubey and Greg Bluestein.
The U.S. arm of a Brazilian payment processor plans to move its headquarters to Atlanta in a move that would involve the hiring or relocation of more than 140 people, two people with knowledge of the situation told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Redwood City, Calif.-based Merchant e-Solutions plans to move to an office building in Buckhead later this year. The company is a subsidiary of Cielo, a financial technology giant in South America that recruiters for the city of Atlanta and the state of Georgia have been courting for more than a year.
Details of the move, but not the name of the company, are included in a filing with Invest Atlanta, the city’s economic development arm. An attempt to reach Merchant e-Solutions officials was not immediately successful.
The project involves 143 jobs with a planned move by the company into Live Oak Square near Lenox Square in Buckhead, according to the filing. The Invest Atlanta board will consider a $40,000 grant to aid the company’s relocation at its Thursday board meeting, and the company could be eligible for a $100,000 state aid grant, the documents say.
Jobs tax credits could push the incentive total far higher.
The move continues a string of financial technology wins for Georgia, which in recent years has stepped up its efforts to retain and expand the financial technology sector. In addition to beefing up its recruiting of financial technology companies, the state has been working to expand curricula at state universities to grow Georgia’s “FinTech” workforce.
The state is a hub in the payments world. About 70 percent of the debit, credit and gift card transactions in the U.S. each year are processed by companies with major Georgia operations. It’s an industry that helps directly employ more than 40,000 people in the Peach State, according to the American Transaction Processors Coalition.
A visit with Cielo executives was the centerpiece of a trade mission by Gov. Nathan Deal to Brazil last June. The AJC reported then a major new operations center and possibly an innovation lab involving high-paid software and other tech jobs were believed to be part of Cielo’s U.S. expansion plans.
The ATPC, a relatively new trade organization, is pushing the importance of the industry and it recently formed a task force with the Metro Atlanta Chamber to boost the industry. Worldpay US, gift card giant InComm, ATM-maker NCR and payments firms Elavon and Fiserv are among the major companies to announce recent expansions in the Atlanta area.
The state Department of Economic Development, Invest Atlanta and other local recruitment agencies have made FinTech recruitment a top priority. The industry generally creates jobs with high wages and require skilled programmers and engineers.
Merchant e-Solutions has a number of connections to Georgia and the Southeast. Its CEO, Tom Bell, is a former executive with Sandy Springs-based First Data and formerly ran Bank of America Merchant Services, a joint venture between the bank and First Data.
The company processes $17 billion in annual transaction volume, according to an Invest Atlanta fact sheet.
Merchant e-Solutions has business ties to Columbus-based Synovus Financial, and it also has business operations in the Atlanta area and Florida.
The company has a number of job openings in the Atlanta area, including for a general counsel, according to its website.