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Business briefs

For Friday, June 3, 2011

By Star-Advertiser Staff and News Services


Mortgage rates fall again

WASHINGTON >> Fixed mortgage rates slid for the seventh consecutive week, but the lowest rates of the year have done little to lift the struggling housing market. Freddie Mac said Thursday the average rate on the 30-year loan fell to 4.55 percent from 4.60 percent. The average rate on the 15-year fixed mortgage, a popular refinance option, slipped to 3.74 percent from 3.78 percent. Both are lows for the year.

Waianae housing project completed

Housing Solutions Inc. will mark the completion of the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Sea Winds Apartments in Waianae with a dedication at 11 a.m. Tuesday. The project at 85-295 Kauiokalani Place provides the Waianae area with 20 transitional studios and 30 long-term townhomes for qualifying singles and families.

With the addition of the Sea Winds Apartments, the nonprofit Housing Solutions' first affordable neighborhood project, HSI properties total more than 700 units on Oahu.

Firms get help with APEC expansion

Enterprise Honolulu, in collaboration with the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism, the U.S. Economic Development Association and the four state counties, is hosting three free workshops to help Hawaii's small and medium-size businesses expand into Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation member economies.

Some 20,000 people are expected to attend APEC Leaders Week in Honolulu in November when the heads of state from its 21 member economies meet with President Barack Obama. The workshops are preparation for this event.

Honolulu's workshop will be held Tuesday from 10 a.m. to noon at the state Capitol auditorium.

The Hawaii island workshop will take place from 10 a.m. to noon June 15 at the Keauhou Beach Resort. Kauai's workshop will take place from 10 a.m. to noon June 23 at Kauai Community College in Lihue. Maui's workshop will be from 10 a.m. to noon June 24 at the Maui Economic Development Board Offices in Kihei.

To register or get more information, go to

Resorts raise $144,000 for Japan aid

Kyo-ya Hotels & Resorts, Starwood Hotels & Resorts and its Hawaii associates raised $144,000 to aid Japan following the catastrophic March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

Funds raised resulted from Starwood Hotels & Resorts and Kyo-ya Hotels & Resorts matching the associates' contributions, as well as donations made by their retail outlets including Tori Richard Ltd., family and friends.

Kyo-ya owns four of the 11 Starwood-operated properties in the isles.

Filings for U.S. jobless benefits fall

WASHINGTON » Fewer people applied for unemployment benefits last week, but applications remain stuck at a level that signals weak job growth.

The number of applications for unemployment benefits dropped 6,000 to a seasonally adjusted 422,000, the Labor Department said Thursday. It was the third drop in four weeks. But the declines follow much bigger increases in April.

Applications dropped to 375,000 in late February — a level consistent with sustainable job growth. But for the past eight weeks, applications have stayed above 400,000. The four-week average, a less volatile measure, fell for the second straight week but remained high at 425,500.

Borders in sales talks for stores

NEW YORK » A judge granted Borders an extension to file its reorganization plan under bankruptcy protection, but a sale of some of its stores appears more likely.

A Borders lawyer confirmed Thursday that a bankruptcy judge granted the extension at a hearing in New York.

Borders now has until October to file a plan with the court, but Andrew K. Glenn said he expects to file a motion in two to four weeks about selling the company. The plan was originally due June 16. Glenn confirmed Borders is in talks with several buyers to sell all or most of its stores.


Polynesian Adventure Tours/Gray Line Hawaii has promoted Deborah Freitas to director of maintenance from maintenance manager. She will oversee maintenance of the company’s vehicles, ranging from utility and passenger vans to midsize and full-size motor coaches.


American Savings Bank has announced the following promotions, transfers and new hires:
>> Layne Campos as first vice president, regional executive for the neighbor islands. He joined the bank in 1997 as a branch manager on Maui.
>> Arnold Santa­yana to assistant vice president, regional executive for Central Oahu. He joined the bank in 2008.
>> Chuck Dando to vice president, market manager of Maui. He joined the bank in 2007.
>> Alvin Takahashi as vice president, commercial real estate loan officer. He has more than 20 years’ experience as a commercial real estate specialist in Hawaii.
>> Lance Masuda to branch manager, Pearl City Foodland branch. He joined the bank in 2001.
>> Eunice Reyes to branch manager, McCully branch. She joined the bank in 2001.
>> Pamela Sumimoto as vice president, branch manager of Ala Moana branch. She joined the bank in 2005 and has held positions including Hono­lulu Walmart branch manager and corporate trainer.
>> Susan Maglaya as assistant vice president, branch manager of Kaimuki Shopping Center branch. She has nearly 20 years’ experience in financial services.

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