The Biz Buzz

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Archives: Feb. 2010

Feb.
26th

Rainier Pacific Bank closed by regulators; Oregon-based Umpqua buys assets

The State Department of Financial Institutions announced tonight that it had closed Tacoma-based Rainier Pacific Financial Group, parent of the 14-branch Rainier Pacific Bank.

In a deal facilitated by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., the assets of the bank were assumed in a whole-bank transaction by Oregon-based Umpqua Holdings.

All branches will reopen at their regular hours under the Umpqua brand.
The failure of Rainier Pacific was not unexpected.

Rainier Pacific recently reported a fourth-quarter net loss of $26.5 million. which compares to a net loss of $14.1 million for the same quarter in 2008.

Much of the distress

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Feb.
26th

Today’s Savings Week Tip: Coupons, comparing and writing a list

Gov. Chris Gregoire has proclaimed that Feb 21-28 will be known as Washington Saves Week. The proclamation says savings are fundamental to the stability and vitality of the state, and that adequate savings are critical components of personal financial security.

In that spirit, this week The News Tribune will offer a series of tips to help readers save.

Today’s Tip: Compare, clip, and make a list

  • Learn the Art of Comparison Shopping. For necessary purchases – such as food, transportation and insurance – comparison shop. The Consumer Literacy Consortium provides advice from leading consumer experts on how to

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Feb.
26th

Attorneys general persuade Toyota to offer customers rides, rental cars

Getting your Toyota recall repairs done just got easier, thanks to a little arm twisting by several of the nation’s attorney generals.

Toyota has agreed to provide owners of recalled cars free pickup and return of their vehicles after the repair and free rental cars or taxi fares, said Washington Attorney General Rob McKenna.

The Japanese company, the world’s largest automaker, is recalling more than eight million vehicles to repair accelerators, brakes and other parts that have proven defective.

Here’s what’s happening, according to a release from the attorney general’s office:

Toyota is advising its dealers to address

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Feb.
26th

Washington restaurant business still lagging

The recession is still taking a toll on business for Washington restaurant operators, s a new survey shows.

Fifty-eight percent of restaurant operators reported decreased staff hours in January this year compared with the same month in 2009, the Washington Restaurant Association survey released today shows.

Eighty-two percent of restaurant operators say they will stay at those reduced employee levels or reduce them further in coming months.

The exuberance of the holiday season isn’t carrying on afterwords, said the association’s top official.

“We were hoping that momentum from the holiday season might continue through the winter months,” said Anthony Anton,

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Feb.
26th

Esplanade condo sales reviving

There’s nothing like a big price cut to pump up sales at a struggling condominium project.

The biggest Tacoma condominium project ever to enter foreclosure, the Esplanade on the Thea Foss Waterway near downtown, has seen its sales triple in two months since the project went back on the market, said Mark Ossola, the project’s developer.

Thirty of the 162 units in the waterfront building just south of South 15th Street on the waterway’s west side have now sold. Just 10 units had been sold when the $82 million project went into foreclosure last summer. The bank that financed the

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Feb.
26th

New phony payday loan collection scam threatens consumers

A new collection scheme aimed at payday loan customers is threatening Washington consumers, says the Washington State Department of Financial Institutions.

The new phone collection scam threatens consumers with legal action or even arrest if they don’t immediately make good on a phony payday loan the collector claims they took out two years ago

The department says the phony bill collectors, who may claim to be attorneys, even target consumers who may never have received a payday loan.

Here’s how they operate, according to the state agency:

* Representatives of a company calling itself Financial Accountability Association make

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Feb.
25th

Today’s Savings Week tip: Give the gift of creativity

Gov. Chris Gregoire has proclaimed that Feb 21-28 will be known as Washington Saves Week. The proclamation says savings are fundamental to the stability and vitality of the state, and that adequate savings are critical components of personal financial security.

In that spirit, this week The News Tribune will offer a series of tips to help readers save.

Today’s Tip: Get creative

Challenge yourself to cut back on spending for birthdays and holidays. A few well chosen gifts are likely to be more appreciated than a more costly pile of gifts plucked in a shopping foray. Also, consider homemade

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Feb.
25th

Boeing may offer two helicopters in presidential contest

Boeing may enter its workhorse CH-47 Chinook and its revolutionary V-22 tiltrotor aircraft in the new competition to build a new fleet of helicopters to serve the president.

President Obama terminated a prior contract to build a new presidential helicopter because the contract had grown too costly.

A prior competition before Obama took office had picked a helicopter based on Europe’s AgustaWestland AW101 that would be modified to meet the president’s needs by Lockheed.

The helicopter design grew increasingly expensive and heavy as the Defense Department added new requirements to the design.

Boeing’s CH-47 is a decades-old twin rotor

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