WILTON — Barclaycard celebrated a $5 million renovation and expansion of its call center in Wilton on Tuesday with a ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by U.S. Sen. Susan Collins and U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin.

Curt Hess, Barclaycard’s CEO in the U.S., also was on hand to mark the completion of the four-month project, which will allow the credit card company to expand its workforce of 380 by another 100 to 150 jobs.

Inside the call center, work spaces are lined with sound-absorbing walls to cut down on excess noise. Varying Maine motifs decorate the many work centers, conference rooms and hallways. Photo montages of blueberries and whitetail deer are mounted beneath a running landscape of mountains and rolling hills at the ceiling.

One of the operations leaders in customer care, Brian MacLeod, was quick to note that the $5 million investment was not intended to simply make the building pretty. Besides aesthetics, upgrades were made in the technology and training equipment used, as well as in heating, cooling and building security.

The center provides customer service for one of the biggest banks in the world.

“We are providing customer care and fraud detection services for the Barclaycard U.S. portfolio,” MacLeod said. “We service a number of our premier partners, including L.L. Bean – which is obviously a big one for us in the state of Maine. Our goal is to deliver world-class service to our customers and protect their account and provide them the highest level of security.”

Collins toured the center, shaking hands and talking with workers about their time at Barclaycard. She had her own personal story regarding the fraud protection that Barclaycard offers.

“So I have a Barclay’s L.L. Bean card and last year I got pickpocketed in Washington and it was stolen along with another credit card,” she said. “And before I even knew that it was stolen, I had a call from one of the people out there telling me, ‘Did you buy $200 worth of merchandise from Target in upper Marlboro, Maryland?’ I said, no. ‘What about $60 worth of gas?’ I said I drive a Ford Focus – you couldn’t put $60 worth in that car.”

Collins said the company instantly put a freeze on the account, and that she received her new card within a week.

“They even transferred my L.L. Bean points, which was very important,” she said.

Quipped Poliquin: “When you have a problem with your credit card as Senator Collins described, you want a Mainer on the other end of the phone – you don’t want someone shifty from New Jersey.”

Poliquin spoke to the crowd about his childhood in Oakland and Waterville and how at the time the entire region was dotted with various mills that are no longer in business.

“So when we have an opportunity to give rise to a new employer with 380 jobs, I just want to let you know how appreciative, how grateful we are,” he said.

U.S. Sen. Angus King, recovering from recent treatment for prostate cancer, sent a letter congratulating Barclaycard and the town of Wilton on the expansion.

Douglas McIntire can be contacted at 861-9252 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: CD_mcintire