A CALL centre that closed when work was exported to India is to re-open, creating up to 400 jobs.

The Convergys Corporation has taken over the former Lloyds TSB contact centre, in Newcastle. The bank closed its Central Square operation last year, moving the work to Mumbai, with the loss of nearly 1,000 jobs.

The Northern Echo revealed in December 2003 that two companies had expressed an interest in re-establishing call centre operations at the site.

Stephanie Wilson, vice-president of Convergys' European operations for customer management, said: "We were interested as soon as we knew the site might become available."

Convergys, the world's largest operator of outsourced call centres, already employs 600 staff at its Neville Street centre, in Newcastle. This provides customer services in ten European languages for clients in financial services, IT, pharmaceuticals and communications.

Mrs Wilson, from Bishop Auckland, County Durham, said: "Expanding here was a very easy decision to make.

"We have been here for 12 years and have had a great experience working in Newcastle.

"It is a great labour force with a good work ethic, that produces good quality customer service for our clients."

The US company has begun staffing the centre and is recruiting multilingual workers for clients all over Europe.

The new employment in the sector follows the loss of 235 jobs at the Abbey call centre, in Gateshead.

There is also a question mark over the future of 300 workers in Darlington, after new RAC owner, Aviva, warned it will cut jobs.