ALBION — Chase Bank is laying off more than 400 employees at its Albion call center, which will be closed later this year.
The call center will close on Sept. 3, with remaining employees being transferred to other Chase operations in the Rochester area.
The closure ends a decade-long period that saw the center rise to become the village’s largest employer before shedding its workforce as the demand for home mortgage service units declined.
According to an employee who requested anonymity, a majority of those being laid off were informed of the cuts Thursday afternoon. Employees leaving the East Avenue call center declined to speak or said they were not at liberty to comment on the details of the meeting.
A Chase bank spokesman said Thursday that the Albion closure is part of nationwide reductions in Chase’s mortgage services staffing. JPMorgan Chase & Co. announced in February that it would cut 17,000 jobs nationwide in 2013.
“Fewer homeowners are falling behind on their mortgages, so we need fewer employees to assist those who were struggling,” the bank’s statement said. “This shift is good for homeowners and the economy overall.”
The announcement was a bitter surprise in Albion. Chase is in the third year of a PILOT agreement with local municipalities; local government, workforce and economic development officials said the bank had not sought additional assistance or indicated the site would be closing.
“They didn’t give us a chance to try to help them stay here,” Deputy Mayor Kevin Sheehan said. “We found out from people in the meeting texting us ... it’s like a thief in the night.
‘‘When Chase bought it from Washington Mutual, they were paying a PILOT that had ramped up. Chase came, it ramped back to zero. We took a pretty big hit there. We had to make that money up, village residents took the hit. We have a municipal parking lot we took care of.’’
The call center was established by Washington Mutual in 2001 after it acquired Dime Bank, and employed more than 1,000 workers at its peak.
Chase, which acquired Washington Mutual’s assets during the 2008 banking crisis, announced plans that December to keep the 850-employee office in Albion open. Chase maintained around 600 employees this year.