Thrift board sends more call center work to contractors

The Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board announced a five-year, $18.1 million contract Monday that will establish a Thrift Savings Plan call center in southwestern Virginia.

SI International, a Virginia-based technology systems company, was awarded the contract to operate the call center in Clintwood, Va., according to Thrift board officials. The contract is currently being handled by the National Finance Center, a government agency run by the Agriculture Department, in New Orleans. NFC will no longer handle call center work for the Thrift plan, but the facility will still be responsible for other administrative tasks, including data entry and accounting. TSP Executive Director Gary Amelio said the NFC call center work costs the Thrift plan $12.5 million annually to operate.

"We are going to save the plan's participants $40 million over five years," Amelio said. "And I have no doubt the service levels will be superior as well."

TSP-which serves as a 401(k)-style plan for federal employees-has 3.5 million participants and more than $150 billion in assets. It previously awarded a contract for a parallel call center in Maryland. TSP officials have praised the Maryland facility, but some plan participants have expressed concerns about their personal and financial information being handled by a private contractor.

Thrift board members have pressed staff to seek greater savings and efficiencies. Board Chairman Andrew Saul lauded the most recent contract.

The Clintwood call center was previously used by Internet travel broker Travelocity, which closed it in late 2004 in an attempt to reverse poor financial fortunes. Saul said the community needed an employer and TSP found a great deal.

"It is a win-win situation," Saul said. "We have a very reliable partner down there."

On top of the $18.1 million contract, TSP officials will also spend up to $500,000 upfront to purchase existing equipment. Still, Thrift staff members said the plan is coming out ahead in the deal.

The new call center should be up and running in about two months. Amelio said Travelocity left an experienced and eager workforce in place.

"There is already a highly trained nucleus," he told the Thrift board. "We happened to be at the right place at the right time and got an incredible deal."

"We couldn't have found a better building," said Mark Hagerty, the incoming director for automated systems at the Thrift plan.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

    Dan McCrae, director of IT service delivery division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.