Mercury lays off 25 employees

CEO says positions are redundant

Taylor Enlarge photo

Taylor

About 25 Mercury employees have lost their jobs with the Durango-based credit-card processing company in a round of layoffs that Mercury CEO Matt Taylor said was part of an effort to improve efficiency as the company continues to grow.

“This particular event is sort of a one-time event as we consolidated some stuff and worked on some redundancies,” Taylor said Tuesday. “We aren’t in layoff mode.”

The company finished informing the last of the affected employees Tuesday, Taylor said.

About half of the affected employees are in Mercury’s Durango office, while the other dozen or so work in Denver or remotely, he said.

The layoffs hit a number of departments, Taylor said. The company is working to build a training organization and a customer-support organization that is more efficient, but the company is not replacing jobs with computers, he said.

“This is, in most cases, a human workforce efficiencies and redundancies exercise, not a replacing people’s jobs with technology sort of exercise,” he said.

He described the layoffs as part of the normal course of business as the company grows.

“This isn’t unprecedented,” he said.

During the course of this year, the company expects to see a 20 percent increase in the number of merchants using its services and in the total dollar amount it processes, Taylor said. The company also is actively hiring, with 19 positions currently open and 20 more that will be opened later this year, he said.

The type of layoffs Mercury is going through aren’t abnormal for a company of that size, scale and growth trajectory, said Joe Keck, director of the Southwest Colorado Small Business Development Center.

“For companies that size, I think it’s fairly common, especially with a company that has grown so fast,” Keck said. “(The company) gets to the point where it feels like ‘we’ve had to step up to meet all the demand,’ then they begin to look at how efficient are all of (their) internal systems.”

Seeing that the company is hiring multiple new employees each week, the layoffs are unlikely to have an effect in the long run, said Roger Zalneraitis, executive director of the La Plata County Economic Development Alliance.

“It’s almost like shifting resources from one department to the other,” he said.

Mercury has about 700 employees, 400 of whom work in Durango, Taylor said.

Taylor said the recent layoff numbers are well below the company’s average annual attrition rate. He estimated the company lost 120 employees last year, 50 of whom were fired.

Employees who were laid off were offered a minimum of four weeks of severance pay with full benefits. Employees accumulate two weeks of severance per year.

ecowan@durangoherald.com