Sallie Mae in Muncie will see more jobs
By Rick Yencer
MUNCIE, IN - Work at Sallie Mae in Muncie has ebbed and flowed in recent years, and is about to explode again with about 120 jobs that would restore its employment to 2008 levels.
Muncie City Council got a report this week on a host of Muncie business and industry that received property tax abatement and whether they were living up to their promise of actual people working. And they learned that radio ads are already running to hire 120 people at Sallie Mae this summer.
Sallie Mae burst onto the scene in 2006, moving into a shell building at the Airpark Industrial Center and creating 700 jobs that handle their billion dollar industry of servicing student loans and insurance. They immediately became a big player in Muncie's economy with more than a $22 million yearly payroll and charitable giving in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Just like the student loan industry, Sallie Mae's fortune has gone up and down according to their shareholders reports, with $112 million in net income for the first quarter of 2012, or $21 a share, compared with $175 million a year ago at $32 a share.
Still, Sallie Mae reported a 23 percent increase recently in student loan originations meaning more work for their massive call center operation. The loan and insurance giant just announced more than 100 jobs would be added to its call center in its Wilkes Barre, Pa. facility that now employs 800 people. A job fair for those openings starts Monday.
And Bruce Baldwin, director of Muncie's Redevelopment Commission, said more work would come this summer for the Muncie facility, getting employment back above 700 after it dropped as low as 574 last year.
Baldwin also reported that Sallie Mae also made an extra capital investment of $250,000 to add 60 more work spaces at the Muncie facility besides a brand new cafeteria to feed its round the clock workforce. And Sallie Mae kicked back $152,000 to charitable causes in Muncie last year.
Martha Hollar, Sallie Mae's corporate spokesman, did not response to requests for information, although some job finder agencies already have the order on new Sallie Mae jobs.
That was good news to council President Jerry Dishman and council member Alison Quirk who sit on the committee that reviews property tax abatements and whether companies comply with job promises. Council has granted literally millions of tax breaks in recent years to keep what's left of Muncie industry and business going and council was satisfied with Sallie Mae's commitment to add more work and jobs to keep employment up.
Sallie Mae is one of the companies that has high turnout and continual hiring, given the nature of call center work. The pay is generally no more than $12 an hour, like the starting rate at the Progress Rail locomotive manufacturer in the southside Industrial Centre.