published Saturday, May 18th, 2013

Chattanooga-based call center, SupportSeven, plans expansion

SupportSeven, a Chattanooga-based call center founded by payday loan millionaire Carey V. Brown, says it has expanded its Brainerd Road location.

"Recently, we have seen strong commercial growth within the area, including SupportSeven's renovation," said Chattanooga City Councilwoman Carol Berz.

The Chattanooga location has grown to 12,000 square feet and a capacity of 200 seats, the company said in a statement Friday. Eclipse in Action, an offshoot of SupportSeven based in Costa Rica, boasts another 600 seats, according to former director Tom Rocca. SupportSeven is hiring for 14 positions and could add as many as 500 jobs over the next five years, according to a news release.

"This expansion is a key steppingstone in our company's growth, and it allows us to provide more amenities for our employees, enhance our client service and add more jobs to the Chattanooga community," Katie Sanders, director of business development and administration for SupportSeven, said in a statement Friday.

SupportSeven released the news of its expansion even as multiple reports emerged that sister company Area203 has laid off some employees this week because of a lack of nonpayday lending clients.

Spokeswoman Casey Knox, who works on behalf of SupportSeven, Area203 and other Brown companies, said Area203 had not laid off any employees.

SupportSeven, for its part, deals primarily with customers who secure loans through PayDayMax.com, DiscountAdvances.com and MyCashNow.com, and also works with outside clients in the insurance industry, retailers and with nonprofits, Knox said. Brown established SupportSeven in 2007 to service his payday websites, and has worked to secure outside clients for it and his other companies.

SupportSeven is a key part of a lending empire under the umbrella of Brown's Credit Payment Services, which also includes Cloudswell, Area203, ACH Federal, Leadpile, Sovee, and a number of other entities that support his activities. Nearly all are incorporated in Nevada, but based in Chattanooga, where Brown lives with his wife, Linda.

Brown also controls a number of overseas operations, including call center and marketing operations in Costa Rica, servers in Bermuda under the name Woody Holdings, and a number of entities legally based in Canada. He has promised to donate $1 billion to charity through his Covenant Values Foundation, which uses profits from his payday lending to support orphans, according to his website.

SupportSeven's expansion coincides with a recent push to ignite growth on Brainerd Road, said Berz.

"The MidTown council has been hard at work over the past five years attempting to revive and develop the Brainerd area," Berz said.

Sanders said she hoped other businesses would join the call center in growing the area, which is still home to a number of vacant strip malls, car dealerships, and payday lending establishments.

"Chattanooga's MidTown area is currently undergoing a true renaissance and we are honored to be a part of the movement," Sanders said.

Contact staff writer Ellis Smith at esmith@timesfree press.com or 423-757-6315.

about Ellis Smith...

Ellis Smith joined the Chattanooga Times Free Press in January 2010 as a business reporter. His beat includes the flooring industry, Chattem, Unum, Krystal, the automobile market, real estate and technology. Ellis is from Marietta, Ga., and has a bachelor’s degree in mass communication at the University of West Georgia. He previously worked at UTV-13 News, Carrollton, Ga., as a producer; at the The West Georgian, Carrollton, Ga., as editor; and at the Times-Georgian, Carrollton, ...

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