The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

AP story section

November 13, 2013

Cedar Falls firm says it's adding 400 to payroll

CEDAR FALLS — A Cedar Falls debt collection company announced Tuesday it intends to hire up to 400 people in the next 18 months as part of a major expansion.

The Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier reports CBE Group said the hiring is necessitated by significant growth and a new, multiyear contract that is related to the health care industry.

The company now employs about 750 people in the Cedar Valley. It also operates an office in Overland Park, Kan., and recently opened an office in the Philippines.

CBE states on its website that it has 80 years of experience in the debt collection industry, opting for a “Golden Rule” approach of treating others as you would want to be treated.

About half of the jobs are expected to be filled by March, and the remainder within 12 to 18 months.

“It will be local. These will be Cedar Valley jobs,” said Tom Penaluna, CEO and chairman at CBE Group.

The company will start that hiring effort with a daylong job fair next week at the company’s corporate headquarters in Cedar Falls.

CBE also is looking for additional office space in the area.

The expansion is the company’s largest since 2004, when CBE added 400 jobs and built a $4.6 million facility in Waterloo.

“We have experienced steady growth over the last few years, but this equals the sudden growth we saw back in 2004 with the U.S. Department of Education contract,” Penaluna said. “In fact, we expect this growth spurt to have an even greater impact on the Cedar Valley.”

Steve Dust, CEO of the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber, estimated the new hiring would spur more than 200 jobs in other businesses and have an economic impact of about $18 million.

Dust was hopeful the expansion could prompt other companies to also expand in the area.

“There’s no telling what could build from this,” he said.

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