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Archives: April 2008

April
30th

Venture Bank parent reports lower first quarter earnings

DuPont based Venture Financial Group released its first-quarter earnings report earlier today with results comparable to other Washington banks – as net income fell a bit and bank officials have decided to increase the provision for loan losses.

"We had a pretty darn good quarter, just about even with last year," said Jim Arneson, Venture president.


&bull Net income came in at $3.1 million, compared to $3.2 million in the same period last year.


&bull The provision for loan losses rose over the first quarter of 2007, from $375,000 to a current $1,525,000.


&bull Total

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April
30th

Will May Day war protests disrupt port? It’s anyone’s guess

Whether longshore workers will show up Thursday at the Port of Tacoma’s cargo terminals to unload and load ships remains up in the air on the eve of this year’s May Day.


The International Longshore & Warehouse Union began planning in February for a coast-wide protest Thursday against the war in Iraq. May 1 is traditionally a day that celebrates labor and workers’ rights.


Such an event could have an impact beyond the port, including companies that depend on importing and exporting goods.


A majority of delegates from each local voted in favor of a protest and

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April
30th

Starbucks profit falls in second quarter

SEATTLE (AP) — Starbucks Corp. said today its fiscal second-quarter profit fell 28 percent as U.S. consumers responded to rising food and gas prices by making fewer latte runs.


For the quarter ended March 30, Starbucks’ net income sank to $108.7 million, or 15 cents per share, from $150.8 million, or 19 cents a share in the same period last year.


Revenue rose 12 percent to $2.53 billion from $2.26 billion in the year-ago quarter, the company said today.


Starbucks warned last week that results would fall short of Wall Street’s expectations. Analysts, on average, had forecast

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April
30th

Recession? No. Again. This is not what a recession looks like.

At the risk of sounding like Pollyanna spinning on a broken record, let me reiterate: We have not lately been in a recession. We are likely not in a recession. This is not what a recession looks like.


I say this thanks to a pair of contradictory notes that waited in my inbox this morning.


From the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants I read: "Sixty-eight percent of America’s adults believe the United States is heading toward a recession, and more than half (53 percent) are cutting their spending and paying down debt as a result."


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April
30th

Chicken goes green: KFC introduces hidden image campaign



I seem to recall a controversy several decades back concerning hidden images being introduced to advertising – Vance Packard wrote about it his "Hidden Persuaders" – and I recall looking, for instance, into images of shiny ice cubes in whiskey ads and finding, well, interesting things.


But now it’s OK, and in fact, KFC is taking such advertising to its logical and profitable extreme.


See the images of the Snackers? There is something hidden in each of the advertisements. It’s an image, and

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April
30th

Federal Reserve reaches agreement with Bremerton bank

The Federal Reserve Board announced yesterday that it had executed an agreement between WSB Financial Group Inc., the holding company that controls Bremerton’s Westsound Bank, and the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.


The agreement, signed by WSB President and CEO Terry Peterson, places controls on the company’s debts, stock, dividends and various business practices



The state Department of Financial Institutions will later today post a Cease and Desist Order against Westsound Bank.


The order, first issued last month, refers to charges issued last October by DFI and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., and

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April
29th

Columbia Bank stock on the rise – credit the credit quality


Columbia Bank stock has been enjoying a nice ride on the upside since the company’s annual meeting last Wednesday. The stock closed today at $27.01, up nearly 23 percent from where it was a week ago.


The stock was up 3.3 percent today.


And it’s doing quite nicely as measured against its commercial banking peers in the West. Bloomberg News reports that it is down 9.03 percent over the past year – which may not seem strong until the number is compared to what nearby banks are showing.


Bloomberg shows

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April
29th

Wilcox Farms names Linda Thomas as new CEO


Wilcox Farms Inc. announced in a release today that Linda Thomas has been named chief executive officer.


Thomas has worked with the family-owned business in various capacities for the past 18 years. She takes over for senior family members who plan to spend less time in the day-to-day operations of the business. The new appointment is effective immediately.


"I am deeply honored to have been chosen to lead this company as we carry out the family’s vision of providing a healthy, local product for consumers in the Northwest – and

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