Archive for January, 2013
I didn’t realize this was happening so soon, but after Monday, Feb. 4, the Royal Canadian Mint will no longer distribute pennies, saving the government about $11 million a year. Details are in this (link).
Canadian businesses are being instructed to round to the nearest nickel. In looking at various articles in Canadian media, it looks like many residents are on board with this idea. Here’s a (link) to one of the surveys. Interestingly, according to this survey, 60 percent are opposed to the idea of eliminating the nickel.
From the Washington State Department of Revenue:
Businesses holding unclaimed property can learn about their obligation to report it to the state through free workshops being offered around the state by the Washington State Department of Revenue.
Unclaimed property includes unclaimed paychecks, utility deposits, bank accounts, refunds, life insurance proceeds, stocks and bonds and contents of safe deposit boxes. Businesses have to report unclaimed property after losing contact with owners for an extended period, generally three years.
Here’s a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification from the state Employment Security Department. Porter is east of Olympia.
Company: Briggs Nursery (Porter) will lay off 150 employees,
effective January 25, 2013
Date of Notification: January 28, 2013
Pacific Financial Corporation, which operates Bank of the Pacific, has purchased three bank branches from Sterling Financial Corporation.
The Sterling Bank branches being acquired are in Aberdeen, Astoria, Ore. and Seaside, Oregon. This will increase Bank of the Pacific’s operations to 17 branches in Washington and three branches in Oregon.
Under the terms of the agreement, Bank of the Pacific will acquire approximately $50 million of deposits and approximately $6 million of performing loans.
The transaction, which is subject to regulatory approval and other customary conditions of closing, is expected to be completed in the second quarter of 2013.
Bank of the Pacific, based in Aberdeen, has four branches and two loan centers in Whatcom County.
Fewer Whatcom County residents are late on their mortgage payments, but more are dealing with home foreclosure, according to a new report.
The percentage of Whatcom County loans that are more than 90 days delinquent was 4.16 in November, the lowest monthly percentage in nearly two years, according to data from CoreLogic, a national provider of property information.
Whatcom’s delinquency rate remains lower than the Washington (6.36 percent) and national (6.45 percent) rates.
At the same time the delinquency rate is declining, the foreclosure rate has been rising. In November the percentage of loans in some stage of fore-closure was 1.54, the highest monthly rate since July 2011.
Whatcom’s foreclosure rate in November was slightly higher that Washington’s rate of 1.5 percent, but lower than the national rate of 2.97 per-cent.
Here’s a (link) to a blog post by the Puget Sound Business Journal, which cites a study about the most prosperous counties. In this study, Whatcom is at the top of the list among Washington counties, and 54th highest out of the 455 major U.S. counties.
The study was done by On Numbers, the research division of American City Business Journals, which owns the PSBJ. The findings are based on the total personal income growth rates of the counties between 1986-2011.
Given all the data I’ve seen over the years about Whatcom’s personal income remaining below most of the other bigger Washington counties, I was a bit surprised to see Whatcom as “most prosperous.” I shared the link with Hart Hodges, director of Western Washington’s Center for Economics and Business Research and asked him what he thought.
He noted that the study in the business journal relies on total income, not per capita income. So the article says an area is prosperous when the real driver might be population growth more than any increase in relative income per person.
Hart provided a graph to the total income and a graph of per capita growth to show the difference (see below). It’s interesting to see how well Whatcom did (per capita) between 2000-2009, but the county trailed King County in the 1980s, 1990s and 2010-2011.
Here’s a news release from the Washington State Department of Revenue, reminding retailers about the tax status of B.C. residents:
Contrary to what some British Columbia residents appear to believe, they do not qualify for a sales tax exemption when shopping in Washington State.
The Department of Revenue reminds Washington retailers and consumers that British Columbia residents do not qualify for the non-resident sales tax exemption.
Several retailers have contacted the Department recently to advise it that residents of that Canadian province were claiming they qualified to purchase items without paying sales tax.
Bellingham-based Hand Crank Films has released a film/commercial that features zombies and downtown Bellingham. It was put together for Hand Crank’s client, Mackie, a loudspeaker manufacturer.
Much of the film was done in Mount Vernon and downtown Bellingham, with the Herald Building being in a significant part of the film. The film was shot last October. Plenty of local extras played zombies in this apocalypse-themed story.
The film was directed by Caleb Young. Chris Koser was director of photography and Jim Pidgeon was producer. Chris Donaldson wrote the story.
Here’s the video:
Wilson Motors has announced that it is purchasing King Nissan.
Julian Greening, co-owner at Wilson Motors in Bellingham, made the announcement Thursday morning, Jan. 24. He expects the sale to officially close on Friday, March 1. Terms of the sale were not disclosed.
“Being in the import market ourselves, we thought this is a good fit for us,” Greening said. “We are very optimistic about the Whatcom County market as national car sales continue to grow.”
Greening said much of the Bellingham Nissan dealership will remain the same; the one change customers will notice is the name transition from King Nissan to Wilson Nissan. In talking with Nissan, Greening said he’s interested in possibly adding the commercial line of Nissan models, which would include passenger and cargo vans.
Frank King, the current owner of King Nissan, was not immediately available for comment.
Wilson Motors, which focuses on Toyota and Mercedes-Benz, is coming off a strong year in terms of sales. Last year was Wilson’s best year in terms of sales since 2008.
Greening said the automotive industry is expected to return to pre-recession sales numbers by either the end of 2013 or 2014. Wilson Motors is currently averaging around 170 vehicle sales a month, before the recession sales were around 200 a month.
In terms of workforce, King Nissan has 19 employees, while Wilson Motors has 91, according to Greening.
According to data from Members Only Inc., which gets its data from the Washington State Department of Licensing, Wilson Motors was the top-selling Whatcom County dealership in 2012. King Nissan, along with King Volvo, ranked 10th. King Volvo was not a part of this sale.
This story will be updated later today.
Whatcom’s unemployment rate rose in December to 6.9 percent, according to the latest data from the Washington State Employment Security Department.
That’s up from a revised November rate of 6.5 percent, but down significantly from December 2011, when the rate was 7.9 percent.
The end of the holiday shopping season and the layoff of temporary workers is a factor. Initial claims for unemployment benefits in Whatcom County totaled 1,914 in December, up nearly 500 people from November.
The number of people employed in nonfarm, private sector jobs totaled 65,900 in December, down 700 from November but up 1,700 compared to a year ago.
Whatcom’s unemployment rate remains below several nearby counties, including Skagit (9.1 percent) and Island (7.9 percent). Snohomish (6.7 percent) and King (6.1 percent) checked in with lower rates. The county with the highest unemployment rate last month was Ferry (13 percent), while Whitman (5.4 percent) had the lowest. The statewide rate, seasonably adjusted, was 7.6 percent last month.