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OSHKOSH, WI-Firstar Bank will invest about $5 million over the next few years as it more than doubles the size of its Oshkosh commercial loan operations facility and the number of employees who work there. A 68,000-sf commercial loan operations center is currently under construction at the former Sears store at the City Center in Downtown.

Completion and occupancy of the new facility by Firstar is targeted for the end of this year.

Firstar’s existing 80,000-sf processing center at 1850 Osborn Ave., which now houses both commercial and consumer processing employees, will remain as a consumer loan processing center with 469 full-time employees.

The project is being developed by Jeff Pauly, Jim Larson, Kurt Koeppler, Tom Baker, Sr. and Gary Smith, five developers who came together to form City Center Associates, LLC. Firstar will be one of the project’s major tenants.

“It gives a tremendous boost to our Downtown redevelopment efforts,” says Oshkosh Mayor Jon Dell’ Antonia.

Wisconsin’s Department of Commerce is assisting the expansion with a customized labortraining grant and enterprise development zone tax credit. Besides Firstar, the state and City Center, also involved in the public/private partnership are the Oshkosh Commercial Development Corp. and the city.

The expansion will support the bank’s expanded commercial business line since its merger with US Bancorp this past February, according to Sherry Calbaum, Firstar senior vice president of commercial loan services. Calbaum says the building expansion takes into account Firstar’s anticipated growth over the next five years with an increased sales workforce located across 24 Midwestern and Western states as well as its continued demand for commercial loans. The current loan center site on Osborn Avenue was first occupied in 1992 and has expanded twice since then, she says.

Firstar is a subsidiary of Minneapolis-based US Bancorp, which has assets of $165 billion and is the 8th largest financial services holding company in the US. The company operates 2,186 banking offices and provides banking, brokerage, insurance, investment, mortgage, trust and payment services products to consumers, businesses and institutions.

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