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Business Briefs

For Saturday, July 23, 2011

By Star-Advertiser Staff and News Services

POSTED:
LAST UPDATED: 11:35 p.m. HST, Aug 05, 2011


At-risk isle homeowners get loan extension

A federal agency is giving Hawaii homeowners at risk of foreclosure five extra days to apply for interest-free loans to help cover mortgage payments.

The loans up to $50,000 are from a $1 billion program launched in June by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in conjunction with nonprofit NeighborWorks America.

A July 22 deadline to apply has been extended to July 27.

To qualify for the Emergency Homeowners' Loan Program, homeowners must have suffered involuntary unemployment or underemployment due to economic conditions or a medical condition.

EHLP funds will pay a portion of an approved applicant's monthly mortgage, including missed mortgage payments or past-due charges, for up to two years or $50,000. The program is expected to aid up to 30,000 distressed borrowers in 27 states and Puerto Rico.

More information is available at FindEHLP.org or toll free at 855-346-3345. Assistance is free. Offers of assistance for a fee should be avoided as a scam, according to NeighborWorks America.

McDonald's sales, prices keep rising

NEW YORK » McDonald's said Friday that its net income rose 15 percent in the second quarter as it continues to entice customers to buy new menu items even as the sluggish economy forces them to cut back spending in other areas.

McDonald's Corp., the world's largest burger chain, has consistently outperformed its fast-food peers throughout the recession and its aftermath even though it has raised prices this year. It's also working hard to give customers more reasons to visit it instead of rivals like Starbucks or higher-end burger restaurants.

The company is upgrading its restaurants, offering wireless access, expanding the number of locations with 24-hour service, introducing healthier food like oatmeal and smoothies, and selling fancy coffee drinks. It's also testing changes to improve customer service, such as sending an employee to walk through the drive-through and punch orders into a hand-held device.

McDonald's net income rose 15 percent to $1.4 billion, or $1.35 a share, during the quarter. Revenue was up 16 percent to $6.9 billion.

GE profit up 21% as financial arm improves

NEW YORK » When it comes to weathering a sluggish economy, it pays to have your fingers in a lot of pies.

At least it does for General Electric Co.

The industrial and financial giant has a stake in almost every sector of the economy, from light bulbs and credit cards to windmills. Its mixed bag of business units has propped up the company at different times since the recession. When the real estate meltdown buried GE's lending arm in bad debt a few years ago, its industrial units continued to grow.

This year it's the other way around.

A rebound at GE Capital has so far offset weaker industrial business this year. The lending unit helped GE boost profits 21 percent in the second quarter to $3.76 billion.

GE reported income amounting to 35 cents per share for the three months ended June 30. That compares with $3.11 billion, or 28 cents per share, for the same time last year. Revenue fell 4 percent to $35.6 billion, in part because of GE's sale of a majority stake in NBC Universal to Comcast in February.

Verizon pulls in subscribers with iPhone

NEW YORK » Verizon Communications Inc. is seeing a big boost from the iPhone, adding more new subscribers on contracts in the second quarter than it has in 2 1/2 years.

Yet AT&T Inc., which has been the exclusive seller of Apple Inc.'s iconic phone in the U.S. until February, still activates three iPhones for every two Verizon does.

When posting a profit for the second quarter on Friday, Verizon also said Chief Operating Officer Lowell McAdam will take over from longtime CEO Ivan Seidenberg, 64, on Aug. 1. The company has signaled the succession for the past year. McAdam, 57, is a former head of Verizon Wireless. Seidenberg will remain chairman of the company. He became the CEO of Bell Atlantic in 1998.

Verizon added 1.26 million wireless subscribers under contract in the April-to-June period, a result that flies in the face of the slowdown in new subscribers across the industry in the last two years. Since nearly everyone already has a cellphone, gaining new subscribers is chiefly a matter of luring them over from other carriers. Verizon activated 2.3 million iPhones, well below the 3.6 million AT&T reported for the same period. Revenue rose 2.8 percent to $27.5 billion.

On the Move

» Hawaii Preparatory Academy has announced the following appointments:

-- Keawe Liu as assistant headmaster for external relations. He returned to the academy in 2009 as director of advancement and special projects and is a certified fundraising executive (CFRE).

-- Gaylord Dillingham as director of the Isaacs Art Center. He was president and owner of Dillingham and Company Antiques specializing in English and Continental furniture, paintings and related decorated arts.

-- Rona Kaneshiro as K-8 assistant principal. She joined the school in August as assistant director of admission for the Village Campus and has also served as complex resource teacher for the Hawaii State Department of Education's Honokaa/Kohala Complex.

-- Koh Ming Wei as environmentalism curriculum facilitator. She has 20 years of experience in environmental sustainability and education, including as eco-literacy educator and school garden teacher at Kohala Elementary through The Kohala Center.

» Haseko has awarded a $1,000 grant to the Mothers Against Drunk Driving Hawaii chapter to benefit the organization's first Walk Like MADD fundraiser, which took place July 9. Haseko has been a developer of residential, commercial and resort properties in Hawaii since 1973.






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