Kettering company creating technology that reads shoppers’ hands

Consumer financing operation continues to add employees

Synchrony Financial in Kettering is opening what it calls an “innovation station” — a place where new technology in arranging consumer financing is developed and tested.

The center has 45 employees in a local workforce that this year will approach 1,900. No new immediate hiring is expected, but the IT and research functions housed at the center will only strengthen the Kettering center’s overall importance to the company, said Glenn Marino, chief executive of the company’s payment solutions platform.

Synchrony oversees “private label” credit cards for some 300,000 merchant and retail businesses in some 400,000 locations, companies like H.H. Gregg, Walmart, Amazon and your local Morris Furniture and Tire Discounters dealers, among many others.

When a shopper buys, say, a TV at H.H. Gregg and finances that purchase with an H.H. Gregg credit card, Synchrony is involved.

What’s happening at the innovation station is work to make those purchases smoother and more secure. Jay Neidermeyer, senior vice president and IT leader for Synchrony Payment Solutions and Commercial, on Wednesday demonstrated a technology being tested in Kettering — one that reads the hands of shoppers to identify them through “bio-metric” markers.

Neidermeyer resisted predicting precisely when such identification technology might be widely used. But he said the technology is viable now.

“We’re not too far from the day when pulling plastic out will be kind of quaint,” Neidermeyer said.

Earlier this year, Synchrony announced plans to bring 200 new jobs to the approximately 400,000-square-feet of offices at 950 Forrer Blvd.

“I know they’re in the process of that already,” said Gregg Gorsuch, development director for the city of Kettering.

Synchrony is also opening a career center for training of employees, Gorsuch added.

“Synchrony just continues to be a leader in their industry,” he said.

The company is a successor to the GE Capital operation that had been at the Kettering Business Park. In one form or another, a consumer financing operation has been housed at the business park since about 1996, Gorsuch said.

“With that number of employees, they are the lifeblood of the business park,” he said.

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