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MADISON, Wis. – The National Credit Union Foundation, Tyson Credit Union, Tyson Foods Inc., and Freddie Mac have joined together to bring $50 million in mortgage loans to Tyson Foods employees. “We’re quite excited to be involved in this landmark partnership,” said Gary Officer, Executive Director of the National Credit Union Foundation. “It brings together all of the necessary private and public partners to make this a successful project that supports the Foundation’s goal of improving consumer financial independence through credit unions.” Under the plan the NCUF, credit union and the company have each put up $75,000 in a fund which will be open to Tyson Credit Union members who make less than $54,000. The proceeds of the fund will be used to help the members make down payments and pay closing costs on new homes, the Foundation said. Freddie Mac has agreed to fund the $50 million in mortgages, the Foundation said. Tyson Credit Union is a division of 66 Federal Credit Union, a $341 million institution headquartered in Bartlesville, Oklahoma. In a previous merger the company credit union was allowed to keep its own identity and continue serving Tyson Food employees, which the company calls Team Members. “We are delighted to offer that new benefit to our Team Members who want to buy their first home,” said John Tyson, CEO of Tyson Foods. “This initiative supports our core values, helps build roots in our communities and allows Tyson to retain dedicated and talented team members.” The credit union will also provide pre- and post-purchase counseling though the BALANCE Counseling Agency, a financial counseling firm. The credit union is also setting up special ATM style kiosks at eight of the company’s plants that will provide information about the program. Tyson Foods has been involved in an ongoing series of labor disputes with its workers and has been sued as recently as May 2002 by the U.S. Department of Labor over alleged pay violations with its mostly immigrant workforce. No one from the company was available to comment on the loan program in the context of its labor policies. -

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