Bank of America Corp. yesterday dedicated a new call center in Dorchester, a decision that will bring 230 jobs to the neighborhood.
The center represents a $20 million investment in construction, equipment, and employees, executives said.
About 200 of the employees will work for the bank's national helpline, where they will field calls from branch staffers who have questions about operations. The company also will have workers for its national compliance operations unit, which is responsible for antimoney laundering and tax compliance monitoring.
''A lot of other companies offshore -- Bank of America is on shore. You have to give them a lot of credit," said Mayor Thomas M. Menino, who took a tour of the facility yesterday.
Anne Finucane, Bank of America's president of the Northeast region, said the bank wanted the center to provide job opportunities for residents of the city, including Dorchester, Hyde Park, and Mattapan.
''This is a significant opening for Dorchester and Bank of America," she said.
The center is the latest of several job initiatives by the bank, as executives try to hire employees in New England to replace those laid off after the $48 billion acquisition of FleetBoston Financial Corp. The bank said in late October that it would add 170 business credit services jobs in Waltham and another 80 in Farmington, Conn. It also added 900 employees to a new call center in East Providence, R.I., and is moving 400 jobs from its global wealth and investment management division to downtown Boston.
After it acquired New England's largest bank in April 2004, Bank of America pledged to maintain the same number of employees in New England -- about 17,900 -- as Fleet had before the deal. The bank cut 2,900 jobs initially, but since hitting bottom last year, executives have been adding jobs back.
Finucane said the company is on track to have 16,000 employees in the region by the end of this year, and it will be back at Fleet's old level of employment by the end of 2006.
About 100 of the new workers in Dorchester started this week. By the time the bank let guests tour the facility yesterday, a group of employees in red-collared shirts already were taking calls. The bank set up rows of cubicles and painted one wall red with the Bank of America logo. The employees wore Bank of America nametags.
One of the workers at the center said Fridays are the bank's logo shirt day, while on other days the employees dress business casual.
In a nearby training room, some new employees were immersed in a class on banking procedures.
On the walls, the bank posted several phases in red lettering, such as ''Doing the right thing," ''Trusting and teamwork," ''Leadership," and ''Winning."
The bank's executives told trainees in the room that they would be able to move up at the company if they performed well. Several nodded their heads eagerly. The mayor voiced his approval as well.
''It's a great opportunity for these new employees," he said.
Sasha Talcott can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.