Banking app maker FIS Mobile has set up a new office in downtown Petaluma that will cut commute times for both current workers and prospective college interns.
The new office will house about 40 employees. The company, which has facilities in Larkspur and San Francisco, wanted an office in Petaluma to serve its workers who live in Sonoma County and computer science interns from Sonoma State University in Rohnert Park. The company has hired a number of the university’s graduates and has offered summer internships for about five years.
The new office, with its closer proximity to campus, will allow an expansion of the internship program, said Doug Brown, senior vice president and general manager for FIS Mobile.
“We’re really happy about it,” Brown said of the new office. “It’s going to mean a lot to our employees and a lot to our business.”
The business, previously known as mFoundry, was acquired two years ago by Jacksonville, Fla.-based FIS, a large service provider for banks. FIS has 42,000 employees worldwide and reported $6.4 billion in revenues last year.
FIS Mobile today is the nation’s largest provider of mobile banking applications, serving 1,600 banks, including Bank of America, KeyBank and PNC, said Brown.
Along with making apps that allow bank customers to remotely deposit checks and transfer funds, the company is working on “cardless cash” programs that one day will allow consumers to use their phones to get cash from an ATM or to pay to pump gas. The option not only will prevent thieves from using so-called skimming devices that steal key account information, but it also will make for much-faster transactions, Brown said.
The Petaluma office staff is involved in software development, test marketing and related services. These are the same activities the workers did before in Marin County or San Francisco.
“They’ll just be doing it from a more pleasurable work-life balance location,” Brown said.
FIS Mobile specifically chose the C Street location for its proximity to the Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit train station, Brown said. Workers will be able to take the train to Petaluma and to the company’s Larkfield office.
Ali A. Kooshesh, chairman of SSU’s Computer Science Department, expressed excitement at the prospect of more internships with FIS Mobile. And it comes at a good time, he said, as the number of students working toward a computer science major has tripled in the past four years to 350.
The internships are “such a wonderful opportunity for the students,” Kooshesh said. “And it motivates them. They come back charged.”
FIS Mobile is one of a handful of regional companies that have hired at least a dozen computer science grads, he said.
Scott Stranzl, vice president of Basin Street Properties, which manages the office building, said FIS Mobile’s presence in the county provides “diversity in our economic future.”
When seeking office space, Stranzl said, proximity to the SMART train “is at the top of people’s minds,” especially those from urban areas. They want to spend their commutes reading or getting business work done, not “sitting behind a wheel.”
You can reach Staff Writer Robert Digitale at 521-5285 or robert.digitale@ pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @rdigit