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VOL. 132 | NO. 240 | Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Daily Digest

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THDA: Local Foreclosures Dropping But Still High

Though the number of Shelby County homes in foreclosure has dropped by more than half since the end of 2014, the county still has Tennessee’s highest delinquency rate for home loan payments and is tied for the highest foreclosure rate, according to new research from the Tennessee Housing Development Agency.

The report, which analyzed data from the second quarter of 2017, found around 600 homes in foreclosure throughout Shelby County, down more than 50 percent from the roughly 1,300 homes in foreclosure at the beginning of 2015.

“We’re only seeing about one-sixth of the foreclosures in Shelby County that we saw at the height of the housing crisis, which was particularly devastating to Memphis homeowners,” THDA research analyst Joe Speer said in a release.

However, Shelby County had a 74 percent higher foreclosure rate than the statewide average, tying it with Cocke County for the highest foreclosure rate among the 51 Tennessee counties with more than 2,000 active home loans. Shelby County’s delinquency rate was the highest in the state and 72 percent higher than the statewide average.

Additionally, three Shelby County ZIP codes – Southeast Shelby County’s 38125, Frayser’s 38127 and Raleigh’s 38128 – were in the top five in terms of total foreclosures in the second quarter.

Statewide, the number of foreclosures stood below 2,500 at the end of the second quarter, down from more than 5,000 at the start of 2015.

“Throughout 2016, our state’s foreclosure and delinquency numbers held relatively stable and even inched upward a bit in the first quarter of this year, so the foreclosure decline seen here is a real success,” Speer said.

Both Tennessee and Shelby County reached peak foreclosures totals in January 2011, with more than 16,000 and 3,800, respectively.

– Patrick Lantrip

Toyota Boshoku To Expand in Jackson

Automotive components manufacturer Toyota Boshoku Tennessee LLC is planning to create more than 100 new jobs in West Tennessee by expanding its operations in Jackson.

With this $31 million expansion, Toyota Boshoku will add 143,000 square feet to its current facility in Jackson and will consolidate its welding operations and add new equipment to its Madison County location, resulting in 139 new jobs.

“Tennessee is known for its strength in the automotive sector and it is because of companies like Toyota Boshoku that the automotive industry in Tennessee continues to grow and excel,” Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam said in a release.

Toyota Boshoku America Inc. serves as the Western Hemisphere arm of its Kariya, Japan-based parent company and employs more than 11,000 people in 18 locations throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, Brazil and Argentina.

“The support from the city of Jackson and Madison County has been greatly appreciated since 2001,” said Toyota Boshoku Tennessee President Kimihiko Sumino.

– Patrick Lantrip

City Council to Discuss Memphis Pre-K Funding

Memphis City Council members discuss Tuesday, Dec. 5, a still-forming proposal to fund an expansion of prekindergarten services in Memphis.

The discussion during the 2:15 p.m. executive session comes with a resolution that councilman Kemp Conrad, one of the resolution’s sponsors, said last week makes the case for some degree of city funding for pre-K.

That would include a commitment for the council to secure $8 million in funding to pay for 1,000 pre-K seats that otherwise would be eliminated when a federal grant runs out in 2019. Those seats are among 7,420 currently in the city of Memphis for 4-year-olds who attend pre-K at no cost.

A hotel-motel tax increase has been considered but isn’t part of Tuesday’s resolution, according to Conrad. He also said it remains one of several options to meet the $8 million pledge.

Council members also consider the appointment of John Zeanah as the new director of the Memphis-Shelby County Division of Planning and Development at an 8:30 a.m. committee meeting.

That is followed by an 8:45 a.m. committee session on the issuance and sale of $200 million in airport authority revenue bonds to finance capital projects at Memphis International Airport.

At its 3:30 p.m. session, the council is scheduled for a final vote on Memphis Wrecking Co.’s proposed expansion of a construction landfill next to Whitney Achievement Elementary School in Frayser. However, the council is expected to delay the vote.

– Bill Dries

First Horizon, Capital Complete $2.2B Merger

The $2.2 billion deal between Memphis-based First Horizon National Corp. and Capital Bank Financial Corp. of Charlotte, North Carolina, has been completed, creating the fourth-largest regional bank in the Southeast.

The deal gives the combined institution about $40 billion in assets, $32 billion in deposits, $27 billion in loans and 350 branches in Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Mississippi, Georgia, Texas and Virginia.

First Horizon chairman and CEO Bryan Jordan said the merger creates “an even stronger regional bank that offers differentiated customer service and enhances our presence throughout our markets.”

As part of the merger, Capital Bank branches will retain their name outside the Tennessee market. Capital Bank board member Peter Foss and Capital Bank chairman and CEO Gene Taylor have joined the First Horizon board, and Taylor became vice chairman of First Horizon, parent of First Tennessee Bank.

Both banks jointly agreed to divest two Capital Bank branches in Greeneville, Tennessee, selling them to Apex Bank as a condition of closing the merger.

Tennessee-based Apex is absorbing deposits worth about $34 million and $2.5 million in loans from the two branches and will retain all existing branch employees.

The deal between First Horizon and Capital Bank was first announced May 4. It completes a busy year at First Horizon, which in its most recent financial results reported $67.3 million in third-quarter net income, a 6.5 percent increase from $63.2 million in Q3 2016.

– Andy Meek

UTHSC Campus Going Smoke-Free

The University of Tennessee Health Science Center will become a tobacco- and smoke-free campus effective Jan. 1.

The school is prohibiting the use of, advertising, sale and free sampling of tobacco products on university property, facilities, grounds and controlled venues 24 hours a day, year-round.

The new policy will span 55 acres of the campus, including sidewalks and parking lots adjacent to university buildings and property. In addition, smoking and tobacco use, along with the use of e-cigarettes, will be prohibited in personal vehicles while on university property.

Because UTHSC is a research institution, tobacco products or tobacco use may be permitted under controlled circumstances for research purposes with prior approval from the dean or director of the facility where the research is conducted. University Health Services will offer cessation programs, support groups, and nicotine replacement therapy for those on campus who smoke or use tobacco products.

– Andy Meek

Barge Waggoner Unveils New Corporate Brand

Engineering, architectural and planning services firm Barge, Waggoner, Sumner and Cannon Inc. has rebranded as Barge Design Solutions. The firm’s local office is located at 60 Germantown Court, suite 100, in Cordova.

The Nashville-based firm says its new name elevates its focus of designing solutions for communities across its geographic footprint and around the world.

“Barge is providing design solutions to complex infrastructure challenges within and around our target marketplace, with recent expansions into Georgia and Texas,” Bob Higgins, president and CEO of the firm, said in a statement. “It makes sense for us to rebrand with a name that reflects our position in the marketplace and speaks to what we do every day.”

The comprehensive rebranding also will include a new website, launching in January, as well as a new logo and updated signage for each office. The employee-owned firm has more than 370 employees located in 14 offices across Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, Ohio and Texas.

Accompanying the rebrand, the firm’s corporate headquarters has relocated to a new building in Nashville’s growing SoBro neighborhood.

– Daily News staff

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