February 17, 2004

Buying Home Kiosks

Some Tyson plants, including those in Lexington, Neb., and Storm Lake, Iowa, also will be equipped with electronic kiosks...

Tyson Foods Inc., Freddie Mac Help Workers to Buy Homes

By Mark Kawar, Omaha World-Herald, Neb.

Feb. 16--Tyson Foods Inc. and Freddie Mac will offer assistance to help Tyson employees buy homes, the companies announced Friday.

Tyson workers who earn less than $54,500 a year and have worked for the company for at least two years will be eligible for a $3,000 to $5,000 loan for their down payments.

The company estimated that about 65,000 employees are eligible, or just over half of all employees. Tyson employs about 20,000 in Nebraska and Iowa.

One-fifth of the loan will be forgiven each subsequent year the employee continues to work for Tyson.

The program plans to facilitate $50 million worth of mortgages and might be extended after that amount is reached, said Tyson spokeswoman Libby Lawson.

Tyson, the Tyson Credit Union and the National Credit Union Foundation each donated $75,000 to the program, she said.

Freddie Mac Chief Operating Officer Paul Peterson called the program "a model for corporations in America."

"This initiative supports our core values, helps build roots in our plant communities and allows Tyson to retain dedicated and talented team members," Tyson Chief Executive John Tyson said in a statement.

Employee turnover has been high in the meatpacking industry for decades. Some plants routinely have turnover rates of more than 100 percent every year. Figures on Tyson's turnover were not available.

Tyson's home-buying program also will provide mortgages with low down payments through Freddie Mac and home-buying counseling in English or Spanish through Balance Financial Fitness Program. The mortgages will cater to people with little or no credit history.

Some Tyson plants, including those in Lexington, Neb., and Storm Lake, Iowa, also will be equipped with electronic kiosks that will provide information about the home buying program 24-hours a day. Lawson said the kiosks will be expanded to other plants if they are well received.

The Tyson program is part of Freddie Mac's Catch the Dream initiative, an effort to aid minority homeownership.

Freddie Mac is a private company that works with the federal government to increase homeownership and receives some government benefits.


Tyson employees interested in the program can contact the Tyson Credit Union at 1-800-897-6991 or at www.tycu.org.

Posted by Craig at February 17, 2004 10:19 PM