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VOL. 123 | NO. 224 | Friday, November 14, 2008

Daily Digest

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LG&W FCU to Build Headquarters, Branch

The LG&W Federal Credit Union has filed a $1.8 million permit application with the city-county Department of Construction Code Enforcement to build a 7,800-square-foot, single-story headquarters and full-service branch at 1616 Whitten Road, just south of the Interstate 40-Whitten Road interchange.

LG&W FCU is a credit union for employees and retirees of Memphis Light, Gas and Water Division (MLGW). It currently has three branches: one on Shelby Drive in Whitehaven, one on Covington Pike in Raleigh and one on Murray Road in East Memphis.

This new branch will replace the Murray Road location and double as the credit union’s headquarters, said Ken Newberry, president and CEO of LG&W.

“The facility we have here is not conducive to growth and we don’t have a drive-through,” Newberry said. “None of the (MLGW) centers are close to us. The location on Whitten Road is directly across the street from a major MLGW work center. We just feel like that’s a better location for us to work from.”

Newberry said the credit union will likely close and sell the Murray Road location once the new branch is up and running. Construction has begun on the Whitten Road office and is scheduled for completion by May or June.

The total project cost will be $2 million, Newberry said, excluding the cost of the land. The credit union bought the 0.87-acre parcel for $620,215 in March 2007 from the Reaves Family Partnership.

The new facility will have a drive-through and expanded parking, two things Newberry said were crucial for the credit union’s flagship branch.

“Hopefully it will be a lot more convenient for our members,” he said.

Grinder, Taber & Grinder Inc. is contractor and Looney Ricks Kiss Architects Inc. is architect for the project.

LG&W FCU began in 1940 and now has 4,300 members and 18 employees, including 12 at the headquarters and main branch. The full-service credit union offers deposit and loan accounts, debit and credit cards, and online banking.

Source: The Daily News Online & Chandler Reports

Foreclosure Rates Up 25% Year-Over-Year

The number of homeowners caught in the wave of foreclosures in October grew 25 percent nationally over the same month in 2007, data released Thursday showed.

More than 279,500 U.S. homes received at least one foreclosure-related notice in October, an increase of 5 percent over September, according to RealtyTrac Inc. One in every 452 housing units received a foreclosure filing, such as a default notice, auction sale notice or bank repossession.

More than 84,000 properties were repossessed in October, RealtyTrac reported.

By the end of the year, the company expects more than a million bank-owned properties to have piled up on the market, representing around a third of all properties for sale in the U.S.

IP to Shut Virginia Mill

International Paper Co. reported Thursday it will shut down one of its paper production machines at its mill in Franklin, Va., and take downtime out of its uncoated freesheet paper mills during the fourth quarter.

An International Paper spokesman said it has not been determined exactly what will happen to the 50 employees affected by the shutdown. Some may be laid off, relocated within the company, retire or pursue other options, he said.

“We will do all we can to assist them during the shutdown process and downtime period,” Senior Vice President Wayne Brafford said in a statement.

The permanent shutdown of the No. 3 uncoated freesheet paper machine will reduce production by about 150,000 tons, the Memphis-based company said.

The company also said it will take about 60,000 tons of lack of order time out of its uncoated freesheet paper mills in the U.S. during the fourth quarter.

The company said it plans to begin the shutdown on Nov. 23.

Unemployment Rises To 7-Year High

The number of newly laid-off individuals seeking unemployment benefits has jumped to a level not seen since just after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, as companies cut more jobs in the face of a slowing economy.

The Labor Department on Thursday reported that jobless claims last week increased by 32,000 to a seasonally adjusted 516,000. That nearly matched the 517,000 claims reported seven years ago, and is only the second time since 1992 that claims have topped 500,000.

The total also was much higher than analysts expected. Wall Street economists surveyed by Thomson Reuters expected claims to increase only slightly to 484,000. Initial claims from two weeks ago were revised upward Thursday by 3,000 to 484,000.

The increase puts jobless claims at levels similar to the recession of the early 1990s. The four-week average of claims, which smooths out fluctuations, increased to 491,000, the highest in more than 17 years.

Jobless claims above 400,000 are considered a sign of recession. A year ago, claims stood at 338,000.

The number of individuals continuing to seek unemployment benefits rose to 3.9 million, above analysts’ estimates of 3.85 million. That’s the highest total since January 1983, though the labor market has grown by about half since then. The continuing claims tally is for the week ending Nov. 1, one week behind the initial claims report.

Recipients stop receiving benefits when they find another job or their benefits run out. The increase in continuing claims indicates that laid-off workers are taking longer to find a new job.

Economists consider jobless claims a timely, if volatile, indication of how rapidly companies are laying off workers. Employees who quit or are fired for cause are not eligible for benefits.

Thursday’s report likely “reflects a genuine acceleration in the pace of layoffs,” Ian Shepherdson, chief U.S. economist for consulting firm High Frequency Economics, wrote in a note to clients.

Medtronic Completes Buyout of CryoCath Technologies

Medtronic Inc. on Thursday reported that it completed its $325 million buyout of heart treatment maker CryoCath Technologies Inc.

Medtronic agreed to buy CryoCath in late September for $8.75 Canadian per share, or $400 million Canadian. More than 41.1 million shares, or 96.3 percent of shares in Montreal-based CryoCath, were deposited before Medtronic’s offer expired Wednesday. Medtronic will make its payment by today.

CryoCath makes the Arctic Front system, which treats abnormal heart rhythms by using extreme cold to destroy some tissue. The method is known as cryoablation technology.

Medtronic’s Spinal and Biologics Business is based in Memphis.

Variety Magazine Touts State’s Moviemaking Efforts

The entertainment trade publication Variety magazine has caught on to the state of Tennessee’s effort to become more generous in the tax credits and related incentives it offers to moviemakers in an effort to lure them to the state.

Talking up incentives offered by the Tennessee Film Commission and the Tennessee Department of Revenue, a story posted this week at www.variety.com describes the efforts: “The fertile region of Tennessee is making a pronounced bid for the showbiz green.”

Productions that come to the state can be eligible for refunds of a percentage of their costs on several levels, including if a certain amount of the crew is hired locally.

Memphis Police Rep To Discuss Midtown Security

Memphis Police Col. Billy Garrett will speak to Midtown residents, workers and business owners Tuesday, when the Midtown Security Community meets at Metropolitan Inter-Faith Association at 910 Vance Ave.

Garrett will give a detailed report on crime in the area over the past month and talk about how the Union Station precinct will use bike patrol officers during the holidays.

Schmitt, Calipari To Headline Chamber Luncheon

The Memphis Regional Chamber will hold its annual Chairman’s Luncheon Dec. 11 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the Grand Ballroom of The Peabody hotel, 149 Union Ave.

Tom Schmitt, chairman of the Memphis Regional Chamber and president and CEO of FedEx Global Supply Chain, will be the keynote speaker. The theme of the luncheon will be “Memphis Delivers” and will feature University of Memphis basketball coach John Calipari, a tribute to Isaac Hayes and live musical performances.

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