From the notebook of business editor Tim Rausch

By: Tim Rausch on August 29, 2014 - 2:50pm - Add new comment

People are beginning to like their bank branches again.


The American Bankers Association hires a marketing firm to survey people on their banking habits. No surprise that the Internet is still the most preferred way for people to do bank business.


But after some decline, the good ole bank branch had a rebound – 21 percent, up from 18 percent last year.


By: Tim Rausch on August 23, 2014 - 2:34pm - Add new comment

Home flipping is back in fashion.


The practice, although making for interesting “reality” television shows, was maligned as part of the housing crisis that preceded the financial crisis and recession.


Springtime figures say flipping is really big in Phoenix, Los Angeles and Miami. Thousands of homes in those cities are being bought by investors to be sold for a profit.


By: Tim Rausch on August 15, 2014 - 12:14pm - Add new comment

There’s been press on the fact that the number of jobs lost from the Great Recession have been recovered. Now there is some data on the jobs that came back – and they don’t pay as well as the jobs that vanished.


The U.S. Conference of Mayors has been analyzing wage gaps for other recessions and released a report about the last one.


The average wage of the 8.7 million jobs lost in the Great Recession was $61,637. The average of all the jobs that were re-gained is $47,171.


By: Tim Rausch on August 1, 2014 - 8:57pm - Add new comment

Huntsman said in its earnings report the other day that it is still waiting for the European Union to sign off on its acquisition of Rockwood’s pigment division.


So, as the Rockwood pigment plant continues to go up near the airport, it still belongs to them until the ownership changes hands after all the red tape.


The U.S. has already said it is OK with the buyout.


Huntsman officials believe the hurdle in Europe will be crossed sometime in the third quarter, which has August and September remaining.


By: Tim Rausch on July 25, 2014 - 7:54am - Add new comment

Synchronicity will make back-to-school a little easier this year.


In years past, Georgia held its sales tax holiday weekend later in August, usually a few days (or several days) after school started around here, which is like getting your 6 a.m. wake-up alarm at 8 a.m. Not exactly useful.


By: Tim Rausch on July 18, 2014 - 9:51am - Add new comment

Community banks are disappearing, and regulation might be the reason small Main Street Bank wants to be bought up by Big City Corporate Tower Bank.


That’s what an Augusta bank executive told Congress on Tuesday.


Dan Blanton, the chief executive for Georgia Bank and Trust, spoke to the U.S. House subcommittee on financial institutions and consumer credit on behalf of the American Bankers Association. He is the national group’s vice chairman.


By: Tim Rausch on July 10, 2014 - 2:30pm - Add new comment

Automatic Data Processing, one of Augusta’s largest private employers, is trying to find a place for about 100 of its employees that will become part of a spinoff company.


ADP handles payroll and human resources functions for other companies. It also has a division that specifically deals with helping car dealers with management and marketing.


Well, the dealer services segment is going to be a company all by itself. ADP announced that in April.


About 100 of the 990 people that work in Augusta’s ADP facility are in this division.

By: Tim Rausch on June 4, 2014 - 9:46am - Add new comment

The Georgia Bankers Association was excited about the first three months of 2014.


The association added up the financial performance for 219 state-based banks for the first quarter and it turns out it was better than 2013. The exciting part was that it was the best since 2007.


Remember that Georgia was a wasteland of banking in the recession with more bank closings every year than David Ortiz home runs. So when Georgia banks are doing better than before the recession, it is cause for balloons and cake.


By: Tim Rausch on May 31, 2014 - 10:41am - Add new comment

Buying a bank-owned or HUD-owned house in the Augusta area could yield a 45 percent discount compared to a house that isn’t “distressed.”


RealtyTrac’s report on foreclosure home sales for April comes up with that figure by comparing the median sales price of distressed homes to the median sales price of the nonforeclosure homes.


(Distressed? Yes, I also didn’t realize houses had anxieties, but that’s the jargon.)


By: Tim Rausch on May 24, 2014 - 9:38am - Add new comment

Some who question the declining unemployment rate point out that the reason it’s going down – nationally, statewide and metro – is because there are fewer people seeking jobs.


The workforce is lower, hence the percentages are better when compared to those that have jobs. The number of people on the “sidelines” taint the true picture of unemployment: Many people aren’t looking because they aren’t finding jobs.


Top headlines

Georgia may lower income tax

ATLANTA -- Georgia Republicans have introduced a bill that will lower the rate on income taxes for individuals and businesses that their economists estimate will result in 14,000 or so jobs.
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