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BEAVERTON, Ore. — When Microsoft announced that it would have to cut 5,000 jobs, First Tech Credit Union said it knew the layoffs were coming.On Jan. 23, Microsoft said the economic downturn and slowed IT spending led to 8%, 11% and 6% declines in operating income, net income and diluted earnings per share, respectively, as of Dec. 31. As a result, the company will eliminate up to 5,000 jobs in research and development, marketing, sales, finance, legal, human resources and IT over the next 18 months, including 1,400 jobs that were slated to end on Jan. 22. The company has more than 94,000 employees worldwide.Approximately 23,000 of Microsoft’s employees are Seattle-based members of $1.9 billion First Tech, said Brooke Van Vleet, executive vice president.“As Microsoft is a global company, at this point we are unsure where the majority of these 5,000 affected employees are located,” Van Vleet said. “We had been alerted prior to the official announcement that this would likely be coming, and we’re already reaching out to potentially affected members.”First Tech has a number of support services for affected employees including workshops on budgeting, tax implications and investment reviews to work through the transition, Van Vleet said. On a case-by-case basis, the lending and collections group will look at the possibility of modifying loan terms, she added.Van Vleet said the credit union will also use a combination of direct mail, e-mail, phone and talking points for branch staff to communicate the services available to affected employees.“We also have many members that actively post on Microsoft blogs and often times the best way to communicate this type of information is via word of mouth or these types of electronic channels, particularly with that member demographic,” Van Vleet said.Microsoft said the job cuts will reduce the company’s annual operating expense run rate by approximately $1.5 billion and reduce fiscal year 2009 capital expenditures by $700 million.

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Peter Westerman

Credit Union Times

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