NCO Group, an accounts receivable management giant based in Horsham, Pa., has notified North Carolina government officials that it plans to close a call center in Guilford County, N.C. and lay off 685 workers in the coming months. The Guilford call center is part of NCO's customer marketing and sales division.

Guilford County's unemployment rate was 9.9% in December, which is higher than the national average of 8.8%.

The news comes just a few weeks after the company revealed plans (see story) to hire an estimated 300 employees for its Customer Contact Center in St. Joseph, Mo., additions coinciding with client expansion opportunities for two Fortune 500 clients in the telecommunications and financial services industries, according to NCO officials.

Those jobs, most of which will be full-time positions, will include roles for telesales, call center representatives, technical support and accounts receivables management.

NCO is the largest accounts receivable management company in terms of revenue, according to Collections & Credit Risk research. It now has more than 30,000 employees worldwide.

In January, the firm announced it is growing a Charleston, W. Va. contact center, hiring an estimated 90 associates and investing more than $350,000 in equipment and training to help support a utility client.

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