- The Washington Times - Monday, March 19, 2001

The Arlington County Board was expected to approve Saturday an incentives package for E-Trade Bank, the on-line banking subsidiary of a California Internet brokerage.

The board worked out the package with E-Trade Bank to keep the company in Arlington and to foster job creation. The body was set to consider incentives totaling $675,000 over the next seven years, provided the company reaches 875 employees incrementally by the end of 2005.

Board Chairman Jay Fisette says the body does not typically offer such packages, but was swayed by E-Trade Bank's size and homegrown nature. Formerly Telebanc, the institution was founded in Arlington in 1989 and bought by E-Trade in January 2000.

The company has outgrown its present offices, and Assistant County Manager Dick Bridges says the board was concerned because the bank was looking at a location in Fairfax.

"This was a specific case done for specific reasons to keep E-Trade here," he says.

"There's no gift here at all. These are all incentives where we are getting something in the end as well," Mr. Fisette says.

E-Trade Bank, which now has 400 employees in Arlington, will begin moving workers from its Clarendon location to a new building in Ballston at the end of April.

Deborah Newman, a spokeswoman for the company, says employees enjoy the quality of life in Arlington and its proximity to restaurants, entertainment and public transit.

Bank President and Chief Operating Officer Arlen W. Gelbard says the county's incentives were a important factor in the company's decision to stay in Arlington County.

Despite the recent faltering in the technology sector, Mr. Gelbard says he is confident E-Trade can meet the employee targets. The company had only 75 to 100 employees when the merger closed last year, Ms. Newman says.

E-Trade Bank will receive $150,000 as its first installment.

The county will give the company $125,000 in 2002 and $100,000 annually over the following three years. E-Trade will also get $20,000 each year for the next five years in Metrochecks, which employees can use for mass transit.

There is also a work-force training aspect to the package. The Northern Virginia Regional Partnership is giving the county a $263,000 grant, which the Arlington Employment Center will use to train residents for technology jobs at E-Trade and other local companies.

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