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POSTED: Tuesday, August 18, 2009

State mortgage loan delinquency high

Hawaii posted the third-highest growth rate in mortgage loan delinquencies in the nation during the second quarter, according to data released yesterday by TransUnion.com.

Hawaii posted a 21.7 percent increase in mortgage loan delinquency, the ratio of borrowers 60 or more days past due. Only Wyoming, at 27.8 percent, and Utah, at 22.2 percent, had worse delinquency growth rates, according to the report issued yesterday.

Nationwide, TransUnion reported that mortgage loan delinquencies were up 5.81 percent for the second quarter of 2009. North Dakota and Ohio had the best showings, with declines in mortgage delinquency rates of 0.66 percent and 0.22 percent from the previous quarter, respectively.

The area with the highest average mortgage debt per borrower was the District of Columbia at $360,891, followed by California at $359,442 and Hawaii at $314,495, the credit reporting agency said.

Bird deaths will cost Exxon $600,000

WASHINGTON » Exxon Mobil Corp. has pleaded guilty to killing migratory birds in five states, and will pay about $7,000 for each bird killed, Justice Department officials said.

ExxonMobil pleaded guilty last week to causing the deaths of about 85 migratory birds, most of which died after exposure to natural gas well reserve pits and waste-water storage facilities. Birds died in Colorado, Wyoming, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas between 2004 and 2009.

Officials said that at those sites, birds would either get coated in hydrocarbons or ingest the oily waste, leading to their deaths. None of the birds are on the government's list of endangered or threatened species.

The firm will pay $600,000 in a fine and payments to wetlands preservation funds. That is roughly equal to what ExxonMobil makes every 20 minutes, based on their $8.6 billion earnings for the first half of 2009.

ExxonMobil has also agreed to make changes to prevent such bird deaths in the future, and says it has already spent $2.5 million in the effort.

5 Facebook users file privacy suit

SANTA ANA, Calif. » Five Facebook users filed a civil lawsuit yesterday alleging that the social networking site is violating California's privacy laws and misleading members about how their personal information is used.

The lawsuit, filed in Orange County Superior Court, asks for damages and attorney's fees and includes a request for a jury trial.

Facebook spokesman Barry Schnitt declined to comment on the specifics of the lawsuit. “;We see no merit to this suit, and we plan to fight it,”; he said in an e-mailed statement.

The complaint alleges that Facebook violates California privacy and online privacy laws by disseminating personal information posted by users to third parties. The lawsuit also alleges that Facebook engages in data mining and harvesting without fully disclosing those practices to its members.

It was filed on behalf of several individuals, including a professional photographer, two children under age 13, a user of the original Facebook and a Los Angeles-based actress and model.

Reader's digest to file Chapter 11

NEW YORK » The publisher of Reader's Digest, the general interest magazine, said yesterday it will file for Chapter 11 protection with a plan to swap a portion of its debt for ownership of the company.

Reader's Digest Association Inc., owned by the New York private equity firm Ripplewood Holdings, said it has reached a deal with secured lenders to erase a portion of the $1.6 billion they hold in senior secured notes.

The lenders will get ownership in return.

The planned filing comes amid declining circulation, an advertising slump and large debts.

Isle hospitality industry show

The Hawaii Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association is hosting a hospitality industry trade show tomorrow.

The show will feature exhibitors from hotels, attractions, transportation companies, restaurants and airlines. The show is set for 9 to 11:30 a.m. in the Coral Ballroom of the Miramar at Waikiki.

ON THE MOVE

» Tropic Fish Hawaii, Hilo Fish Co. and Kona Fish Co. have appointed Lorie Chang to director of business development. She has more than 25 years' experience in the food and beverage industry.

» The Akaku: Maui Community Television board of directors appointed five members to serve on the board: Elle Cochran, government seat; David Tamanaha, educational representative; and Don Couch, Blaze Noto and Alberto Rojas Jr., for public at-large seats.

» Grant Thornton LLP promoted Lawrence Chew to audit partner from audit senior manager. He has been with the company for 25 years. Also, audit partner Howard Hanada retired from the Honolulu office July 31. He was a partner for the last 18 years.