Capital One says it will lay off more than 150 in Lincoln who work on Cabela’s credit cards

Capital One says it will lay off more than 150 in Lincoln who work on Cabela’s credit cards
Capital One took over the credit card operations as part of Cabela’s sale to Bass Pro Shops. (EMILY NITCHER/THE WORLD-HERALD)

More than 150 people who work on Cabela’s-branded credit cards in Lincoln will lose their jobs, according to a notice filed with the state Labor Department.

Capital One Financial, which bought the credit card operation of the former Cabela’s, said 153 people would be laid off, according to the notice the company filed with the state last week.

In June, about 450 people had been working in Lincoln, servicing the customers of the Cabela’s CLUB card.

Capital One said remaining employees in Lincoln would continue to focus primarily on Cabela’s customers. The team in Lincoln has “deep experience” doing so, a spokesman said in response to questions from The World-Herald.

Other jobs are being phased out of Lincoln, including people focused on fraud-prevention, recoveries and some other back-office and support roles, Capital One said.

In June, when The World-Herald published a story asking whether Capital One would keep offices in Lincoln after the purchase of the Cabela’s card operation, a Capital One spokeswoman said the bank intended to continue operating there.

“Our intent is for Lincoln to remain a customer servicing site for Capital One, focused primarily on caring for our Cabela’s customers,” the spokesman said at the time.

It’s unclear how many employees will remain in Lincoln after the layoffs. Capital One said affected employees would be given at least 60 days notice and could apply for positions elsewhere in the company; those who leave will be eligible for severance, the bank said.

Springfield, Missouri-based Bass Pro shops bought Cabela’s retail business in a $5.5 billion deal that closed the Nebraska company’s Sidney headquarters and consolidated the joint company’s home office to Missouri. Cabela’s credit card business, meanwhile, was split off and sold separately to Capital One after a complicated regulatory workaround.

Credit card industry watchers have said it would be unusual for a bank as big as Capital One, a Fortune 500 company that is one of the country’s biggest banks, to keep a standalone operation for an acquired portfolio of cards. In other words, why keep a branch office in Lincoln when it’s already got people elsewhere who are doing the same thing?

“Management may intend all sorts of things, but intentions change when, six or 18 months down the road, keeping a local presence no longer makes economic sense,” said Sean Griffith, a law professor at Fordham University Law School in New York, at the time of the Capital One purchase of the Cabela’s cards.

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