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Business forums planned next week

Forums on small business, entrepreneurial and minority business opportunities will be held in Augusta next week.

The forum, from 9 a.m. to noon Tuesday at Paine College, will focus on minority business opportunities, including workshops on access to capital, contracting with the federal government and starting a business.

Cassius Butts, the Small Business Administration regional administrator, will be on hand to participate, as will representatives from the Small Business Development Center and Service Corps of Retired Executives volunteers.

Next Wednesday’s sessions, from 9 a.m. to noon at the Kroc Center, will be on small business lending, federal contracting, starting a business, veterans business opportunities and initiatives to help Georgia startups.

Both events, sponsored by U.S. Rep. John Barrow, are free and open to the public.

Foreclosure sales drop in 2nd quarter

LOS ANGELES — Sales of bank-owned homes and those already on the foreclosure path fell sharply in the second quarter, reflecting a thinner slate of properties for sale in many cities as banks take a measured approach to placing homes on the market.

Even so, foreclosure sales’ share of all U.S. home purchases grew in the April-to-June period, foreclosure listing firm RealtyTrac Inc. said Thursday.

The combination of fewer bank-owned homes for sale and stronger demand during the traditional spring home-buying season also pushed sale prices higher.

Bank-owned homes and those in some stage of foreclosure posted the biggest annual increase in average sales price since 2006, before the housing bubble burst, the firm said.

As of last month, there were 1.47 million U.S. homes in some stage of the foreclosure process or owned by banks. Of the 620,751 in lenders’ possession, only about 15 percent are listed for sale, according to RealtyTrac.

In other news

CITIGROUP HAS agreed to pay $590 million to settle legal claims by shareholders that its executives misled them about the bank’s growing problems before the financial crisis. The bank denied the allegations Wednesday, but said it agreed to the deal to eliminate the cost and uncertainty of fighting the class-action suit.

– From staff and wire reports

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