Kingfisher Systems offers staffers a way to finance computer purchases

November 3, 2013

Company: Kingfisher Systems.

Location: Falls Church.

Employees: 108 locally; 179 worldwide.

When Ioana Lazarescu-Bica wanted to purchase a Dell laptop a couple of years ago, she thought about waiting a little longer until she paid down her credit card bills. But thanks to a program from her employer, Kingfisher Systems, Lazarescu-Bica felt like she could make the purchase right away.

The Falls Church-based technology solutions company helps its workers make home computer purchases up to $2,400 in value. First, the firm gives a staffer a lump-sum payment equal in value to the price of the computer that he or she has bought. Then, over a time period of up to 24 months, Kingfisher makes payroll deductions that allow the staffer to pay back the amount of the lump-sum check, with interest. The rate, though, is far lower than what is typically available — around 0.2 percent.

“You don’t even feel it as much as you would feel a credit card,” Lazarescu-Bica said.

JoAnn Tibbs, vice president of administration, said the program was started at a time when the company had many young employees who were fresh out of college and not able to make such a big purchase. Today, she said, people use it for a variety of other reasons, including to buy a Christmas gift for a family member.

Like many of Kingfisher’s other employee perks, Tibbs said the computer program is designed to give the company “a family feel,” in which individuals are supported not just in their professional lives, but their personal lives.

And the company seems to be having success with cultivating that climate: In the past five years, Tibbs said Kingfisher’s turnover at its headquarters has been very low, with just one person leaving.

Sarah Halzack is a reporter and Web editor for Capital Business. She covers the local job market and the business of talent and hiring. Previously, she was a Web producer for the Post's daily business and economic news section. She occasionally writes for other sections at the Post, most frequently in the form of dance reviews, dance features, book reviews and obituaries.
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