Business briefs


POSTED: Friday, March 06, 2009


30-year mortgage rates rise

McLEAN, Va. » Rates on 30-year-fixed mortgages rose this week amid reports showing a worse-than-expected plunge in the nation's gross domestic product and continuing elevated levels of jobless claims, Freddie Mac said yesterday.

The average rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage increased to 5.15 percent this week from 5.07 percent last week. A year ago, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 6.03 percent.

This week's average rate on a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage rose to 4.72 percent from 4.68 percent last week. Last year at this time, the 15-year rate averaged 5.47 percent.

Rates on one-year, adjustable-rate mortgages rose to 4.86 percent from 4.81 percent last week.

Disney work begins

Walt Disney Parks & Resorts said yesterday that preliminary site work, above, is under way at Ko Olina, its first family destination resort on Oahu. The work includes excavation for rough grading, laying underground utilities and establishing where the foundations will be placed. The resort is scheduled to open in 2011 and will include 350 hotel rooms and 480 vacation villas dedicated to the Disney Vacation Club.



Borders job cuts in Hawaii likely

Borders Group Inc., the unprofitable bookstore chain that tried to sell itself last year, is cutting 742 positions in its more than 900 stores, or about 3 percent of its work force, to align expenses with declining sales.

The company eliminated 679 jobs by reducing the number of managers and supervisors in its 516 Borders stores and cut 63 positions in 47 Waldenbooks locations, most of which are in malls. No top store managers were replaced, Borders said yesterday. Managers responsible for inventory, training, sales and merchandise accounted for most of the cuts.

No exact number of job cuts in Hawaii were available, according to Anne Roman, vice president of corporate communications. However, she said it was likely “;a handful of people”; will be affected in Hawaii as there were one or two job cuts at virtually every store in the chain. There are 12 Borders and Borders Express stores in Hawaii; one on Kauai, three on Maui, six on Oahu and two on the Big Island.

Hawaii insurer repays creditors

The estate of failed insurer HIH America Insurance Co. of Hawaii Inc. has repaid its creditors in full, according to state Insurance Commissioner J.P. Schmidt.

Schmidt released $2.7 million to the Hawaii Insurance Guaranty Association for the future payment of workers' compensations claims, $1 million to 25 individual HIH Hawaii policyholders, and assets valued at $9 million to the California Insurance Department for money owed to affiliated companies. The insurance commissioner seized control of HIH Hawaii's operations in 2001 and liquidated later in the year.