Honolulu Star-Bulletin Local News

Business Briefs

Reported by Star-Bulletin staff & wire

Thursday, March 20, 1997

Thirty-year mortgages
jump to 7.94 percent

WASHINGTON -- Thirty-year, fixed-rate mortgages averaged 7.94 percent this week, the highest level in nearly six months, according to a national survey.

The increase, from 7.84 percent a week earlier, put the rate at the highest level since the week ended Oct. 3, when it was 8.06 percent.

One-year adjustable rate mortgages were up to an initial rate of 5.71 percent, from 5.61 percent last week and the highest since the week ended Sept. 26. Fifteen-year mortgages averaged 7.45 percent this week, up from 7.34 percent a week earlier and the highest since the week ended Oct. 3.

The rates do not include add-on fees known as points.

HVCB hires marketer
for convention center

The Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau has appointed San Diego tourism executive Sandra Butler to head its promotion of the state's convention business.

Butler, who is vice president of sales at the San Diego Convention and Visitors Bureau where she has worked for the past 14 years, will become the HVCB's vice president of meetings, conventions and incentives starting April 14.

She replaces Rick Chapman who left the bureau in November to become national sales manager of the Reno-Sparks Convention and Visitors Authority.

"The HVCB is fortunate to have Ms. Butler join our organization as she brings a wealth of experience and contacts to this position," said Paul Casey, the HVCB's president and chief executive officer.

At the San Diego bureau, Butler directed a support staff of 45 employees and was in charge of initiating marketing and sales programs.

Aston Hotels to manage
luxury resort in Bali

Honolulu-based Aston Hotels & Resorts said it has signed an agreement to manage a new 189-room luxury beachfront hotel in Bali, the company's first on the Indonesian island.

The Aston Bali Resort, located on the Tanjung Benoa Peninsula near Bali's Nusa Dua area, is now under construction and is scheduled to open later this year, the company said. "This acquisition is our first entre into Asia," said Charles Brookfield, Aston's chief operating officer.

Businesses form group
to fight for privatization

Isle businesses and business groups, frustrated by a recent state Supreme Court decision curbing efforts to privatize some government services, have joined forces to lobby against the ruling.

Dubbed the "Coalition for Common Sense," the group is calling for the state Legislature to pass legislation that would alter the state's civil service laws to soften the impact of the ruling.

The Coalition's members include Browning Ferris Industries, the Building Industry Association, Waste Management of Hawaii Inc. and the Council of Consulting Engineers. "We intend to work hard to reverse the impact of the court ruling," said Jim Boersema, the coalition's spokesman.

CB Bancshares to get
outside board directors

CB Bancshares Inc. said it will nominate two outside board members under an agreement with investor M.A. Schapiro & Co.

The parent company of City Bank said that it will nominate H. Clifton Whiteman, a former vice president at Bank of Tokyo Trust Co., and Schapiro vice president Donald Andres as a class II directors, joining outgoing chief executive officer James Morita and his successor Ronald Migita.

Schapiro, which owns about 6.2 percent of CB Bancshares' outstanding stock, launched a proxy battle last year, asking shareholders to elect Whiteman and New York investment banker William Griffith to the board. Shareholders voted down the proposal.

Isles' average annual pay
lower than national figure

The average annual pay in Hawaii in 1995 was $26,977, 3.1 percent lower than the national average of $27,845, according to a federal study released today.

The state's 1995 figure increased only 0.9 percent over 1994's average, said the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The increase was the second smallest in the nation.

Hawaii and Alaska were the only states with increases of less than one percent, the bureau said. Alaska, where pay averaged $32,685, had the lowest average annual pay increase, 0.1 percent, but still led the Western region in average pay.

For Honolulu, the 1995 average annual pay was $27,936, an increase of 0.7 percent.

The annual pay data is compiled from reports submitted by employers subject to state unemployment insurance laws.

First Bank System to buy
U.S. Bancorp for $9 billion

PORTLAND, Ore. -- First Bank System Inc. plans to buy U.S. Bancorp for $9 billion in a deal that will create the nation's 14th largest bank with branches in 17 Midwestern and Western states.

First Bank, which is based in Minneapolis, will adopt the name U.S. Bancorp after the transaction is complete. It expects to eliminate 4,000 jobs as a result of the deal, which will allow the banks to reduce operating costs by 14 percent.

After the deal is done the new company will be based in Minneapolis, as opposed to U.S. Bancorp's home in Portland, and will have assets of $70 billion and customers from Minnesota to California. It will serve almost 4 million households and 475,000 businesses.

U.S. Bancorp had been facing increasing pressure to find a friendly merger partner because rivals, including Washington Mutual, were growing larger and could offer services at lower cost.

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