Archive: Economy Watch

Early Briefing: Amazon Sues Discovery Over Patents

Amazon.com has sued Silver Spring-based Discovery Communications, accusing it of infringing on patents related to product searches on its shopping Web sites. In a lawsuit filed Friday in Seattle, Amazon said Discovery's online store violated four patents that allow consumers to narrow searches for products or receive recommendations based on...

By Terri Rupar | May 20, 2009; 07:30 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Disney Plans National Harbor Hotel Resort

Walt Disney Co. has bought a 15-acre parcel at Prince George's County's sprawling National Harbor development, a shot in the arm for a project that opened with big ambitions a year ago, only to run headfirst into one of the sharpest economic declines in decades. Disney plans to build a...

By Terri Rupar | May 19, 2009; 07:30 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Ex-Mayor Joins Arent Fox

Former D.C. mayor Anthony A. Williams starts today at law firm Arent Fox as director of a new practice focused on state and municipal finance and management, helping mid-size cities take advantage of federal stimulus dollars and find creative ways to handle their budgets during a recession. Williams, 57, said...

By Terri Rupar | May 14, 2009; 07:30 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: The 2009 Post 200

It's here! Our annual list of the biggest public and private companies, nonprofits, law and lobby firms, sports teams and universities and other companies with major presences in the Washington area. Read about how we come up with the list. This year, in the midst of worldwide economic turmoil, we...

By Terri Rupar | May 13, 2009; 07:30 AM ET | Comments (1)

Early Briefing: Foundation Coal to Be Bought

This morning, Foundation Coal announced that it would be bought by Abingdon, Va.-based Alpha Natural for about $1.4 billion. Shares were up by about a third at the start of this morning's trading. Alpha shareholders will own about 60 percent of the company, which would be the third-largest U.S. coal...

By Terri Rupar | May 12, 2009; 09:44 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Sallie Supports Loan Changes

For the past two decades, every attempt to overhaul the $85-billion-a-year student loan industry by eliminating subsidies to lenders has faced insurmountable opposition from one of the most powerful institutions in the business: Sallie Mae, the world's largest student loan company. But in a dramatic reversal, the Reston lending behemoth...

By Terri Rupar | May 11, 2009; 07:30 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Debating Retail at Metro Stations

Later this month, the Metro board is scheduled to consider whether to solicit proposals for retail kiosks in a dozen Metrorail stations. Metro has never allowed retail sales in stations in its 33 years. Officials tried once before to consider food sales at kiosks, but strong board opposition killed the...

By Terri Rupar | May 8, 2009; 07:30 AM ET | Comments (1)

Washington Consumers' Confidence Up

Washington area consumers are more optimistic about the region's economy than they were in December, according to a survey released today, but slightly fewer now say they expect to purchase a big-ticket item such as a new car or furniture in upcoming months. The region's Consumer Confidence Index, a survey...

By Terri Rupar | May 7, 2009; 04:07 PM ET | Comments (0)

Blackboard to Acquire Angel Learning

Blackboard, the maker of software used by colleges to put lectures online, said yesterday that it expects to acquire one of its main competitors, Angel Learning of Indianapolis. The District-based company, whose e-learning software is ubiquitous on many university campuses, will pay about $95 million -- $80 million in cash...

By Terri Rupar | May 7, 2009; 09:58 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Prepping for Swine Flu

At Booz Allen Hamilton in McLean, an emergency operations center has been opened with large monitors hanging on the wall tracking the progress of swine flu. Signs have gone up in restrooms at Marriott International in Bethesda with proper hand-washing guidelines. Pepco officials are making sure employees have proper computer...

By Terri Rupar | May 5, 2009; 07:30 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Looking to Cuba

Virginia and Maryland trade officials, sensing winds of change in the tempestuous relationship between the United States and Cuba, are hustling to build markets for their goods in the event two countries normalize relations further. Virginia agriculture has already benefited from the relaxation of the 47-year-old trade embargo with Cuba,...

By Terri Rupar | May 4, 2009; 07:30 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Ready for the Breakup

Nearly a decade ago, the merger between Time Warner and America Online was heralded as a surprising and revolutionary marriage between "old media" and "new media." By comparison, yesterday's revelation by Time Warner that divorce papers may be on the way came as a shock to almost no one, reports...

By Terri Rupar | April 30, 2009; 09:09 AM ET | Comments (0)

Washington's Jobless Rate Dips in March

Unemployment in the Washington area dipped in March from the previous month, falling to 5.9 percent from 6.1 percent in February. It's still up from 3.3 percent in March 2008 but better than the 9 percent rate recorded nationwide. It was the first time since September that unemployment fell from...

By Terri Rupar | April 29, 2009; 10:42 AM ET | Comments (1)

Early Briefing: Nonprofits Suspend United Way Memberships

Twenty-one area nonprofit groups have suspended their memberships in the United Way and joined a fledgling competitor, citing years of frustration with a steady decline in workplace giving in the Washington region and lingering distrust of the local United Way since it was nearly destroyed by scandal earlier this decade....

By Terri Rupar | April 29, 2009; 07:30 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Mixx Looks Beyond News

The McLean-based news site Mixx.com is hoping to persuade consumer product developers to draw on the wisdom of the Web as it launches a service that pairs its online community of news junkies with companies wanting to bounce ideas off a test audience, reports Mike Musgrove. The site's new service,...

By Terri Rupar | April 28, 2009; 07:30 AM ET | Comments (0)

Marriott, Host Shares Gain on Earnings Report

Marriott International shares gained more than 12 percent today, closing at $22. Though it reported a first-quarter loss, adjusted earnings beat the Street's expectations, so its stock rose. But not as much as those of Host Hotels & Resorts, also based in Bethesda, whose shares gained almost 17 percent...

By Terri Rupar | April 23, 2009; 04:59 PM ET | Comments (1)

NII Profit Slides, but Shares Up

NII Holdings' profit slid 34 percent in the first quarter, but its shares are still trading up about 8.5 percent this morning as it beat analysts' estimates. Profit fell 33.9 percent, to $70.6 million (43 cents a share) from $106.8 million (62 cents), while revenue dropped just 3 percent, to...

By Terri Rupar | April 23, 2009; 11:29 AM ET | Comments (0)

Sallie's First-Quarter Loss Narrowed

Sallie Mae reported a narrower loss of $21.1 million for the first three months of the year as the nation's largest student lender continued to struggle in the midst of the ongoing credit crunch and economic downturn. Sallie, formally known as SLM Corp., makes both private student loans and those...

By Terri Rupar | April 22, 2009; 06:08 PM ET | Comments (1)

FBR Reports First-Quarter Loss, Revenue Drop

FBR Capital Markets' first-quarter loss widened to $16.2 million (27 cents a share) from $10.2 million (16 cents) in the comparable period a year earlier. Revenue fell by more than half, to $49.9 million from $104.1 million. Revenue in its investment-banking unit took a tumble, falling to $7.9 million from...

By Terri Rupar | April 22, 2009; 09:03 AM ET | Comments (1)

Early Briefing: Hotel Industry Expects Difficult Year

The hotel industry expects another difficult year as loans come due and occupancy rates drop, but the Washington area is expected to bear up somewhat better than other parts of the country. At a meeting of hotel investors in Washington yesterday, industry researchers said they expect to see an increase...

By Terri Rupar | April 22, 2009; 07:30 AM ET | Comments (0)

Sandy Spring Profit Falls 88 Percent

The parent company of Sandy Spring Bank in Olney saw its profit plummet nearly 90 percent in the first quarter as non-performing loans added up and the company set aside cash for potential losses on its residential development loan portfolio. Sandy Spring Bancorp is one of the largest banking companies...

By Terri Rupar | April 21, 2009; 12:21 PM ET | Comments (0)

NVR Posts First-Quarter Profit

Home-building giant NVR, bouncing back from a 2008 fourth-quarter loss, posted a profit for the first three months of 2009, showing resiliency in the face of one of the nation's worst housing markets. The Reston-based company said profit for the quarter ended March 31, was $18 million, or $3.02 per...

By Terri Rupar | April 21, 2009; 11:28 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Ready to Watch TV on Your Phone?

Washington area residents could soon get "American Idol" and "30 Rock" on the go through a pilot program to bring free mobile digital television to cellphones and other wireless devices, Cecilia Kang reports. But seeing "Oprah" on the commute home comes with a caveat: Currently, no commercial mobile devices are...

By Terri Rupar | April 21, 2009; 07:30 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Looking to Online Video

In the Download this week, Kim Hart looks at the rise of popularity in online video. More people with high-speed Internet connections and more content mean a better time for several Washington firms that have been trying to figure out how make money while making it even easier for people...

By Terri Rupar | April 20, 2009; 09:36 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: General Growth's Bankruptcy

General Growth Properties, the giant shopping mall company whose holdings stretch from Tysons Corner to the planned community of Columbia and Baltimore's Inner Harbor, yesterday sought protection in bankruptcy court, citing debts of more than $27 billion. The bankruptcy heralds a wave of trouble in commercial real estate that threatens...

By Terri Rupar | April 17, 2009; 09:51 AM ET | Comments (0)

Gannett Profit Falls 60 Percent

Gannett's first-quarter profit fell almost 60 percent, to $77.7 million from $191.8 million in the first quarter of 2008. Revenue fell about 18 percent, to $1.38 billion, hurt by a 34 percent drop in publishing advertising as the U.S. and British economies struggle. But digital revenue grew, as the McLean...

By Terri Rupar | April 16, 2009; 12:38 PM ET | Comments (1)

Early Briefing: What Executives Made

The shareholders who own the Washington region's big public companies didn't do very well last year, as most stocks swooned amid the downturn. But most of the men and women who run those companies did not suffer proportionately, according to regulatory filings, Tom Heath reports. Malon Wilkus, chairman of American...

By Terri Rupar | April 15, 2009; 09:56 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Sallie Mae Fighting Loan Plan

With the Obama administration proposing to overhaul the programs a majority of American students use to finance their college education, the student loan industry is fighting back, Amit Paley reports. Reston-based Sallie Mae, the nation's largest provider of student loans, recently launched a lobbying blitz on Capitol Hill and the...

By Terri Rupar | April 14, 2009; 12:07 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Health Care and Six Flags

More than $19 billion in stimulus money intended to revamp the nation's health system has piqued the interest of some local tech companies that have in the past shied away from the complex health-care industry. And for companies with expertise in the business, stimulus dollars mean new opportunities, Kim Hart...

By Terri Rupar | April 13, 2009; 09:02 AM ET | Comments (0)

Balducci's Shutting D.C. Store

Gourmet grocer Balducci's is planning to shut down its only store in the District at the end of June in another blow for the embattled chain. The store on New Mexico Avenue near American University is one of four locations -- the others are in Ridgefield, Conn., and New York...

By Terri Rupar | April 10, 2009; 03:03 PM ET | Comments (7)

Early Briefing: Chevy Chase Drops Chevys

Chevy Chase Cars, whose Chevrolet sign on Wisconsin Avenue has been a Bethesda landmark for decades, is dropping Chevy in favor of Nissans, the company told its customers this week. Tom Heath reports that the 70-year-old dealership will continue to sell Acuras, Honda's luxury brand, but is ending ended its...

By Terri Rupar | April 10, 2009; 09:43 AM ET | Comments (1)

Early Briefing: Potential Boon for Satellite Firms

National Intelligence Director Dennis C. Blair announced this week that the United States plans to rely more on the private sector for its satellite mapping and reconnaissance needs. While the National Reconnaissance Office develops, builds and operates a new type of intelligence-gathering satellite, the Department of Defense and the U.S....

By Terri Rupar | April 9, 2009; 09:45 AM ET | Comments (0)

Avalon Pharmaceuticals Gets 'Going Concern' Notice

Avalon Pharmaceuticals of Germantown said its auditor has expressed concern about the biotech's ability to continue as a going concern. The company, which develops cancer treatments, said that without expense cuts or new revenue or financing, the company will not be able to fund its operations "significantly beyond May." Clinical...

By Terri Rupar | April 8, 2009; 04:24 PM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: AIG and Kincora

In 2005, when AIG was brought in on planned development Kincora in Loudoun County as an equity partner, developers touted the financial giant's "ability to ride economic cycles," reports Derek Kravitz. Then came the company's starring role in the nation's economic collapse, and the tarnishing of its once-sterling image. "I...

By Terri Rupar | April 8, 2009; 07:30 AM ET | Comments (0)

Patton Boggs Adds Bankruptcy Lawyers

Patton Boggs LLP has hired away three lawyers from Foley & Lardner to head its bankruptcy division, one of few business lines at law firms that are expanding in a slowing economy, staff writer V. Dion Haynes reports. Patton Boggs has named Erika L. Morabito, Michael P. Richman and Mark...

By Dan Beyers | April 7, 2009; 09:47 AM ET | Comments (0)

NII Holding's Shares Continue To Slide

Shares of NII Holdings Inc., a Reston wireless service provider to Latin American businesses, reduced its 2009 subscriber growth forecast Monday, sending shares sharply lower. The stock fell 18 percent Monday, and are down another 6 percent in morning trading. The Associated Press reported that the company said it now...

By Dan Beyers | April 7, 2009; 09:42 AM ET | Comments (1)

Morning Brief: Cheap Flights To NY

Southwest Airlines is wading into the airfare wars between New York and the Washington area, with an announcement of new one-way flights from Baltimore for as little as $49. The airline is introducing three daily nonstop flights between LaGuardia and Baltimore-Washington International Marshall airports beginning June 28, according to this...

By Dan Beyers | April 7, 2009; 08:55 AM ET | Comments (3)

Sallie Mae Plans To Return Jobs To U.S.

By Thomas Heath Sallie Mae announced today plans to move 2,000 overseas jobs back to the United States from locations in India and Phillipines. The jobs are projected to cost the Reston-based student lender about $35 million annually because of higher labor expenses. A few new jobs will be in...

By Dan Beyers | April 6, 2009; 09:14 AM ET | Comments (16)

Early Briefing: ZGS Head to Lead Telemundo Station Group

Ronald J. Gordon, who helped turn ZGS Communications in Arlington into a major player in the Spanish-language broadcast market, is leaving later this month to become president of the Telemundo Station Group. Network officials say Gordon, who will be based in Miami and New York, has been assigned to oversee...

By Terri Rupar | April 3, 2009; 09:58 AM ET | Comments (0)

Washington Area Unemployment Over 6 Percent

Unemployment in the Washington metro area was 6.1 percent in February, up from 5.6 percent in January and 3.2 percent in February of 2008. It was the first time the local unemployment rate went over 6 percent since at least 1990, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers. The labor...

By Terri Rupar | April 1, 2009; 11:13 AM ET | Comments (0)

Rosetta Stone Prices IPO

Arlington-based Rosetta Stone set a price range for its initial public offering that at its midpoint values the company at $100 million. The seller of language programs said in a regulatory filing that it plans to price its shares at $15 to $17 a share and that 6.25 million shares...

By Terri Rupar | April 1, 2009; 10:42 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Local Dealerships Have Been Preparing

Washington area dealerships that sell General Motors and Chrysler vehicles have been trimming costs and reducing the number of cars on their lots for more than a year in expectation that the two American manufacturing icons might be forced into bankruptcy. Dealerships said they have continued advertising to assure the...

By Terri Rupar | April 1, 2009; 08:52 AM ET | Comments (0)

Report Shows Impact of High-Tech Jobs

TechAmerica (formerly AeA and the Information Technology Association of America) today released its 12th annual Cyberstates report, which shows that Virginia had the highest concentration of tech workers in the country in 2007, at 9.2 percent. Maryland ranks fifth, at 8 percent, and the District ranks sixth, at 7.3 percent....

By Terri Rupar | March 31, 2009; 02:31 PM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Alliant Winners Named

The General Services Administration named 59 companies as winners of a $50 billion contract to supply information technology services to the federal government. The contract, called Alliant, is the largest government-wide IT services contract ever awarded by the GSA. It is worth up to $50 billion over the next five...

By Terri Rupar | March 31, 2009; 07:30 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: The New Contractors

Kim Hart writes about the opportunities that the federal government is creating for Washington technology firms -- even those that have not typically sold services to agencies. Companies that have traditionally focused on creating Web services for consumers and energy-saving technology for big corporations see lucrative chances to break into...

By Terri Rupar | March 30, 2009; 09:37 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Freddie's Revelations

Half a year after the government seized Freddie Mac, confusion about its role is stoking tensions between the company and its regulator, including a dispute this month over how much the mortgage giant should reveal to private investors about its financial troubles, Zachary Goldfarb reports. Federal officials who took over...

By Terri Rupar | March 27, 2009; 07:30 AM ET | Comments (0)

Slowdown Hurting Architects

An index indicating architects' workload did not hit a historic low last month, as it did the four previous months, but it still indicated a contraction in the industry. The American Institute of Architects' billings index was at 35.3 (a score above 50 indicates an increase in billings), up from...

By Terri Rupar | March 26, 2009; 02:12 PM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Interest in Government Work

The lines for the CIA were out the door at the spring career fair last week at George Mason University in Fairfax, and the Environmental Protection Agency and various Defense Department booths were doing booming business as well. Two months after President Obama took office vowing to make federal service...

By Terri Rupar | March 26, 2009; 07:30 AM ET | Comments (0)

Chairman Sees Substantial Losses at Post in 2009

The Washington Post will follow a money-losing 2008 by losing "substantial money" in 2009 and will continue to cut costs, Post Co. Chairman Donald E. Graham said in a letter to shareholders atop the company's annual report released today. The Post Co. newspaper division -- which is dominated by the...

By Terri Rupar | March 25, 2009; 01:30 PM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Opposition to Expanding Unemployment in Va.

A group of Republican lawmakers and officials with the Virginia Chamber of Commerce said expanding unemployment benefits to receive $125 million in federal stimulus funding would mean higher taxes for businesses once the stimulus money is exhausted. Virginia, which recorded a 6.4 percent unemployment rate in January, is already eligible...

By Terri Rupar | March 25, 2009; 07:30 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: BearingPoint Nearing an End?

, reports MIchael Rosenwald. The company, which is in bankruptcy protection, last night said it reached a deal with parties including PricewaterhouseCoopers and Deloitte -- to sell "substantially all of its businesses." Deloitte is buying a "significant portion" of the public services business for $350 million, and Pricewaterhouse is buying...

By Terri Rupar | March 24, 2009; 07:30 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Struggles in Biotech

Rockville-based Human Genome Sciences got a drubbing on Wall Street earlier this month after results for of a study of hepatitis C drug Albuferon. The difficulties the company faces are replicated throughout the pharmaceutical and biotech industries, which are under increasing pressure to garner huge profits from their drug treatments...

By Terri Rupar | March 23, 2009; 12:07 AM ET | Comments (0)

Local Reaction to Congress, AIG Bonuses

By Thomas Heath Here is what some of the Washington areaCongress's decision to go after bonuses at AIG, which has received more than $100 billion in taxpayer money to help it stay afloat. "While the public and taxpayer anger is completely understandable and justified, we should be focused on preserving...

By Terri Rupar | March 20, 2009; 04:51 PM ET | Comments (0)

West Virginians Look to Washington

Today's story on unemployment in the Washington area reminded me of an Associated Press article I ran across last week. The first sentence was, "Four counties in West Virginia's Eastern Panhandle are planning a joint marketing effort aimed at luring jobs and investment from the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area." That...

By Terri Rupar | March 20, 2009; 03:33 PM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Bonuses, and Worries at Fan and Fred

Legislation to severely tax bonuses at companies receiving government aid may imperil the Obama administration's housing recovery program by igniting an exodus of employees from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, employees said, Zachary Goldfarb reports. Both House and Senate versions of legislation to tax bonuses single out District-based Fannie Mae...

By Terri Rupar | March 20, 2009; 07:30 AM ET | Comments (1)

Early Briefing: About the Bonuses

Executives at companies including FBR Capital Markets received bonuses despite not meeting performance goals. Payments like this at companies nationwide come in the form of discretionary pay and retention awards as well as bonuses paid out after directors on the companies' compensation boards adjusted compensation plans or lowered performance goals....

By Terri Rupar | March 19, 2009; 09:10 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: A Surprise Visit at AOL

AOL employees got a surprise visit yesterday from Steve Case and Ted Leonsis, who showed up at a company-wide meeting to greet the new CEO and help bolster a staff recently hit by layoffs and turnover. Case and Leonsis, along with new chief executive and ex-Google executive Tim Armstrong, tried...

By Terri Rupar | March 18, 2009; 09:35 AM ET | Comments (0)

Strayer Makes Back Some of Its Loss

Yesterday, shares of Strayer Education (STRA) fell more than 12 percent, closing at $150.45. Dow Jones Newswires had an article on a report by a Boston consulting firm that said the growth rate for applications at the company's schools was slowing dramatically. The Off Wall Street report, based on Free...

By Terri Rupar | March 17, 2009; 03:53 PM ET | Comments (1)

Early Briefing: Replacing Blackwater

The decision not to renew the Iraq security contract of Blackwater Worldwide, now known as Xe, when it expires in early May has left the State Department scrambling to fill a protection gap for U.S. diplomats and civilian officials there. DynCorp International of Falls Church and Triple Canopy of Herndon,...

By Terri Rupar | March 17, 2009; 07:30 AM ET | Comments (0)

Arlington Asset Investment/FBR Group's Losses

Arlington Asset Investment Corp., formerly Friedman, Billings, Ramsey Group, said it lost $268.5 million ($1.77) in the fourth quarter of 2008, compared with a loss of $270.4 million ($1.77) in the last quarter of 2007. For the year ended Dec. 31, it posted a loss of $417.5 million ($2.76), compared...

By Terri Rupar | March 16, 2009; 12:32 PM ET | Comments (3)

Early Briefing: Marriott's Arne Sorenson

Arne Sorenson tells reporter Michael Rosenwald that 11 years ago, Bill Marriott took his first bet on him, making Sorenson the chief financial officer of the hotel chain. Last week, Sorenson was promoted to president and chief operating officer, and analysts see that as Marriott's next big bet. Even though...

By Terri Rupar | March 16, 2009; 07:30 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: New Leader at AOL

AOL announced a new leader, just two years after the outgoing executives were chosen to turn around the struggling dial-up and content company. Google Senior Vice President Tim Armstrong will replace Randy Falco as chairman and chief executive, said parent company Time Warner. AOL president and operating chief Ron Grant...

By Terri Rupar | March 13, 2009; 07:30 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Local Wounded Giants

Steven Pearlstein takes a look at last year's Post 200 companies and sees wounded giants, hunkered down and cutting back, their balance sheets under stress and their stock prices hammered. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were nationalized, and Allied Capital may no longer be a going concern. Chevy Chase Bank...

By Terri Rupar | March 6, 2009; 07:30 AM ET | Comments (1)

GD, Northrop Announce Job Cuts

Two major government contractors, General Dynamics and Northrop Grumman, announced layoffs today. The cuts at Falls Church-based GD are coming from its Gulfstream aircraft unit, as fewer corporations are willing or able to shell out money for a private plane. The company said demand for large-cabin and green aircraft demand...

By Terri Rupar | March 5, 2009; 12:13 PM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: No Ground-Breakings

Not a single office building has been started in the District since October. "Things are frozen. Nobody's doing anything," Gerry Widdicombe, director of economic development for the city's Downtown D.C. Business Improvement District, told reporter Dana Hedgpeth. It is the first time in nine years that there's been such a...

By Terri Rupar | March 5, 2009; 07:30 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Local Economy Faces Trials

Neil Irwin and Dana Hedgpeth take a look at the local economy, which has been largely insulated from previous economic downturns, protected by business activity tied to the federal government. But, they write, this time local companies -- and residents -- face trials unlike any in at least a generation....

By Terri Rupar | March 4, 2009; 07:30 AM ET | Comments (0)

S&P Downgrades Radio One

Standard & Poor's Rating Service said it lowered its corporate credit rating on Radio One to B- from B and made the rating outlook negative. "The ratings downgrade reflects our concern over Radio One's ability to maintain compliance with financial covenants due to weak radio ad demand amid the deepening...

By Terri Rupar | March 3, 2009; 04:58 PM ET | Comments (0)

FBR Capital Markets Gives Bonuses to 2 Executives

FBR Capital Markets said in a regulatory filing that two executives are getting bonuses, even though no performance bonuses were earned under the company's Incentive Compensation Plan because the goals weren't met. The executives are CFO Bradley J. Wright and general counsel William J. Ginivan. The bonuses were approved, the...

By Terri Rupar | March 3, 2009; 10:52 AM ET | Comments (1)

JER Has Less Cash, More Delinquencies

JER Investors Trust's earnings report shows increasing difficulties. The buyer of commercial real estate also said that as of Feb. 28, it had $2.7 million in unrestricted cash, down from $8.4 million as of Dec. 31. In its portfolio of commercial mortgage backed securities, the company said delinquencies of 60...

By Terri Rupar | March 3, 2009; 08:40 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Moffett Leaves Fannie in Frustration

David M. Moffett said yesterday that he is stepping down after just six months as the government-appointed chief executive of Freddie Mac. Associates said he was frustrated with the intense scrutiny by federal regulators and the short leash they keep the company on, according to Zachary Goldfarb. His resignation comes...

By Terri Rupar | March 3, 2009; 07:30 AM ET | Comments (0)

Sunrise May Seek Bankruptcy Protection

Sunrise Senior Living, one of the nation's largest providers of senior housing and a major Washington area company, said it may seek bankruptcy protection if it can not strike a new deal with a key group of lenders by the end of this month. The McLean company is struggling with...

By Terri Rupar | March 2, 2009; 02:41 PM ET | Comments (1)

American Capital Posts Loss, Is in Breach of Covenants

Bethesda-based American Capital reported this morning that it lost $1.68 billion in the fourth quarter of 2008 and $3.11 billion for the full year, saying that "is a result of the economy falling into a severe recession including the tremendous reduction in liquidity in most markets leading to a reduction...

By Terri Rupar | March 2, 2009; 11:42 AM ET | Comments (0)

Allied Posts $1 Billion Loss, CEO Steps Down

As we discussed this morning, Allied Capital released its earnings today. It lost $1 billion in 2008 and said it is "discussion with these lenders and private noteholders regarding a comprehensive restructuring of these debt agreements to provide long-term operational flexibility. There can be no assurance that the company will...

By Terri Rupar | March 2, 2009; 11:28 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Before Allied's Earnings

It's Monday, which means the Business section goes all local. This week, Michael Rosenwald takes a look at Allied Capital, the District-based buyout firm that's scheduled to report earnings today. "This is life-or-death time for Allied," said Troy Ward, an analyst at Stifel Nicolaus. The company said almost two weeks...

By Terri Rupar | March 2, 2009; 07:30 AM ET | Comments (0)

Morning Brief: Shopping Centers Cut Hours

Local shopping centers are feeling the pinch of the economic downturn, reports staff writer Ylan Q. Mui. Westfield Group said shorter hours will take effect next week at most of its U.S. shopping centers, including Montgomery, Wheaton Plaza and Annapolis malls. Those centers will change weekday hours to open...

By Alejandro Lazo | February 25, 2009; 10:02 AM ET | Comments (0)

Morning Brief: Local Economy Worse Than Predictions

Every year The Washington Post brings together a group of local experts and asks them to predict how the local economy faired. This year, even those who most accurately predicted the course of the Washington-area economy in the Post's Local Economy Challenge 2008 failed to guess the depth of...

By Alejandro Lazo | February 23, 2009; 09:35 AM ET | Comments (1)

Morning Brief: Stimulus to Fund Local Projects

Metro and Maryland have detailed how they will use some of their share of the stimulus package money. The Transportation Planning Board of the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments approved $230 million in projects for Metro on Wednesday, including $40 million to replace its oldest buses and crumbling rail station...

By Alejandro Lazo | February 19, 2009; 10:20 AM ET | Comments (0)

Greater Atlantic Classified as 'Undercapitalized'

Greater Atlantic Bank of Reston said in a regulatory filing that the Office of Thrift Supervision sent it a notice saying it is undercapitalized. The bank must file a capital restoration plan by March 16, as well as obey restrictions on asset growth, dividends and fees. The cease and desist...

By Terri Rupar | February 18, 2009; 12:48 PM ET | Comments (0)

BearingPoint Files for Bankruptcy Protection

McLean-based consultancy BearingPoint filed for bankruptcy protection under Chapter 11, the company announced today, saying it plans to continue business uninterrupted while reorganizing. "The filing was made with a 'pre-arranged' restructuring plan with the support of the Company's senior secured lenders. As a result, the Company expects that it will...

By Terri Rupar | February 18, 2009; 10:18 AM ET | Comments (0)

Morning Brief: Economic Stimulus Helps Locally

The economic stimulus bill facing a vote in Congress would provide enough money to modernize more than 300 schools in the District, Maryland and Virginia and would boost unemployment benefits to more than half a million people, staff writers Mary Beth Sheridan and Michael Laris report. The Obama administration...

By Alejandro Lazo | February 13, 2009; 09:20 AM ET | Comments (0)

Morning Brief: Two Washington Banks Merge

Two Washington area banks controlled by the same local businessman have decided to merge forces. Independence Federal Savings Bank yesterday said on Wednesday that it plans to merge with ColomboBank of Rockville. The deal would create a $300 million thrift controlled by Washington businessman Morton A. Bender. Reports staff...

By Alejandro Lazo | February 12, 2009; 09:23 AM ET | Comments (1)

Morning Brief: Hardware Store Memorialized

Nichols Hardware is a 95-year-old family-run operation in Purcellville. Now longtime customers have decided to make a documentary of the place to memorialize it. The film follows a year in the life of the store, and the filmmakers hope to draw audiences who share their amazement that such an...

By Alejandro Lazo | February 11, 2009; 09:33 AM ET | Comments (0)

Honest Tea's Goldman On Leadership

In On Leadership, Steven Pearlstein and Ben Bradlee ask executives whether there's a right way to downsize and who's doing it right. Seth Goldman of Bethesda-based Honest Tea weighs in, saying that while his company is actually hiring right now, honesty and respect in layoffs is key. Check out the...

By Terri Rupar | February 10, 2009; 11:04 AM ET | Comments (0)

Morning Brief: Stimulus Hits D.C. Home Buyers

One part of the stimulus bill may end up have some big local repercussions for local homebuyers. A tax credit designed to jump-start the housing market may, tucked into the Senate version of the stimulus bill under debate in Congress, may end up short-changing those who are looking to...

By Alejandro Lazo | February 10, 2009; 10:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Morning Brief: A Look At Fairchild Without Steiner

On Mondays we take a look at all business news that is local. Staff writer Michael S. Rosenwald has an intriguing look at the life and legacy of Jeffrey Steiner, the enigmatic chief executive of McLean's Fairchild Corp., which Rosenwald writes is struggling to survive the downturn. "He was...

By Alejandro Lazo | February 9, 2009; 09:33 AM ET | Comments (0)

Report Examines Housing, Commuting Tradeoffs

We've been making the tradeoff for years: moving to farther-out suburbs where the housing is cheaper, then paying for it with longer commutes. The Urban Land Institute'sTerwilliger Center for Workforce Housing is out today with a report that breaks down the cost of these choices in the Washington area,...

By Dan Beyers | February 9, 2009; 09:30 AM ET | Comments (1)

Morning Brief: Madoff Lists Includes Local Names

The alleged Ponzi scheme by Bernard L. Madoff has claimed several big local names as its victims. Nearly 250 Washington area names, including some of the region's most prominent and wealthiest business people, are on a new list of possible customers of the New York investment firm operated by...

By Alejandro Lazo | February 6, 2009; 08:44 AM ET | Comments (2)

Morning Brief: Unemployment Benefits Hard To Get

Carrie Kenworthy of Manassas was laid off from her $80,000-a-year job as a mortgage loan officer in 2007. Then she tried to file for an extension in unemployment benefits in July. The Virginia Employment Commission denied her claim three times. Her appeals took more than two months because of...

By Alejandro Lazo | February 5, 2009; 08:37 AM ET | Comments (0)

Washington Unemployment Rises to 4.7 Percent

UPDATED: 5:45 p.m. Washington area unemployment climbed to 4.7 percent in December, the highest level since 1993 but one of the lowest for a major metropolitan area. That compares with a jobless rate of 3 percent a year earlier and 4.4 percent in November, according to the Bureau of Labor...

By Terri Rupar | February 4, 2009; 12:20 PM ET | Comments (1)

Morning Brief: Corporate Executive Board Makes Cuts

Washington area companies are not immune to the recession. The Corporate Executive Board of Arlington is planning to cut or change about a fifth of the research products and services it provides to businesses, which will mean an undetermined number of layoffs, the company's chief executive told staff in...

By Alejandro Lazo | February 4, 2009; 09:19 AM ET | Comments (1)

Morning Brief: Automakers Set For DC Show

Automakers are revving up for a chance to get some face time with lawmakers in Washington this month at the 67th Washington Auto Show, reports staff writer Kendra Marr. In Detroit last month, Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) was the lone federal legislator to grace the show, setting off a...

By Alejandro Lazo | February 2, 2009; 08:46 AM ET | Comments (0)

Morning Brief: Construction Workers Hope For Stimulus

Santiago Castro is one person who is hoping President Obama's stimulus package works. The father of three small children has barely cobbled together enough money to pay the $2,000-a-month mortgage on his Oxon Hill home with his wife's part-time salary from Dunkin' Donuts and his unemployment check. Castro recently...

By Alejandro Lazo | January 30, 2009; 09:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Morning Brief: Commercial Property Debt Looms

Staff writers Dana Hedgpeth and Dan Keating take a thorough look Thursday morning at Washington's commercial property market. A third of the loans used to finance Washington area commercial buildings and then sold to Wall Street are coming due in the next five years, leaving investors scrambling to find...

By Alejandro Lazo | January 29, 2009; 10:20 AM ET | Comments (1)

Morning Brief: Local Unemployment Climbs

The jobless rate locally soared in Maryland, the District and Virginia in December, showing that the Washington area is not immune to the downdraft of the recession. Bureau of Labor Statistics data released Tuesday offered more evidence of an economy growing increasingly fragile, even in these local jurisdictions, which traditionally...

By Alejandro Lazo | January 28, 2009; 10:21 AM ET | Comments (0)

Morning Brief: Fannie Mae Looks to Treasury for Cash

Mortgage giant Fannie Mae is looking to tap government rescue money. Fannie said Monday that it expects to request up to $16 billion from the Treasury Department, marking the first time the federally run mortgage giant will hit the government's largesse. Rival Freddie Mac has already received $13.8 billion from...

By Alejandro Lazo | January 27, 2009; 09:25 AM ET | Comments (0)

Sallie Mae Cuts Executive Pay

"The best thing we can say about 2008 is it is behind us," Sallie Mae chief executive Albert Lord says in this memo to managers: To: All Management Incentive Program Participants From: Albert L. Lord Date: January 26, 2009 RE: 2008 Management Incentive Payouts That 2008 was a challenging year...

By Dan Beyers | January 26, 2009; 04:25 PM ET | Comments (0)

Morning Brief: The Dynamics of Hiltons' Move

Following Hilton Hotels' announcement that it plans to move to the Washington area, staff writer Michael Rosenwald now asks: can two major competitors coexist in the same region? For more than 50 years, Marriott International has been the Washington area's premiere lodging company. Other firms have popped up around...

By Alejandro Lazo | January 26, 2009; 08:44 AM ET | Comments (0)

Morning Brief: Capital One Reports 4Q Loss

Capital One Financial ended 2008 in the red after a massive $1.42 billion loss in the fourth quarter. Its $46 million loss for the year was the first annual loss in the bank's history. The bank joined a growing chorus of banks in predicting that 2009 will be even...

By Alejandro Lazo | January 23, 2009; 08:48 AM ET | Comments (1)

Morning Brief: Hilton Coming To Washington

Hilton Hotels, one of the world's largest lodging firms, is coming to Washington. The company said Wednesday that it is moving its corporate headquarters -- and several hundred jobs -- to the D.C. region this year, parking itself squarely in the back yard of a major competitor, Marriott International. The...

By Alejandro Lazo | January 22, 2009; 10:40 AM ET | Comments (0)

Morning Brief: An Office With a View

A few office workers in the District will want to be sure to show up on inauguration day. As dignitaries, floats and marching bands make their way down Pennsylvania Avenue, the balconies, windows and roofs from Third Street to the White House will be the most coveted real estate...

By Alejandro Lazo | January 16, 2009; 10:22 AM ET | Comments (0)

Morning Brief: Governors Face Hard Choices

Hampered by projected shortfalls that top $1 billion in both states, Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley and Virginia Gov. Timothy M. Kaine are being forced to retool their agendas. As staff writers Tim Craig and John Wagner report today: "The two begin their General Assembly sessions today with their spending...

By Alejandro Lazo | January 14, 2009; 07:24 AM ET | Comments (0)

Morning Brief: Sprint Nextel Cuts Herndon Jobs

Troubles continue to mount at Sprint Nextel. The telecommunications giant said Thursday it will lay off 160 employees from its Herndon operations. The announcement comes amid questions about the success of the company's high-speed Internet technology venture with Clearwire. The layoffs will come from staff at Sprint's building that...

By Alejandro Lazo | January 9, 2009; 09:06 AM ET | Comments (0)

Morning Brief: Paulson Sees End To Fannie, Freddie

Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson, Jr. on Wednesday laid out a vision in which the two local mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac would no longer exist. In his final speech scheduled as Treasury secretary, Paulson proposed replacing mortgage-finance companies with highly regulated utilities that would play a...

By Alejandro Lazo | January 8, 2009; 09:01 AM ET | Comments (2)

Morning Brief: Area Unemployment Rises

More evidence is emerging that the economic downturn is hitting the Washington area. Staff writer V. Dion Haynes reports that unemployment in the Washington region reached its highest level in November since June 2003, inching up to 4.4 percent from 4.1 percent the month before. Overall, though, the region created...

By Alejandro Lazo | January 7, 2009; 08:49 AM ET | Comments (0)

Morning Brief: Housing Bust Hits Condo Buyers

The housing bust is taking its toll on those buyers who put down payments on projects that now stand completed and not fully sold. Staff writers Paul Schwartzman and Renae Merle report on the trials and tribulations of those who put down payments on condominiums at the 550-unit Dumont....

By Alejandro Lazo | January 6, 2009; 09:17 AM ET | Comments (0)

Morning Brief: Annapolis Landmark Changes Hands

Steve Duffy and his sister, Kerry Duffy Doyle, have long made it a policy to know either 70 percent of the names of their clients or 70 percent of what they drink every morning. The couple and their coffee shop, the City Dock Cafe, sent a buzz through Maryland's capital...

By Alejandro Lazo | December 31, 2008; 09:40 AM ET | Comments (0)

Morning Brief: Hargrove Wins Inaugural Contract

This morning, staff writer Anita Huslin takes a closer look at Hargrove, the local firm that for the fifth time in its 60-year history is in charge of planning and executing all of the official balls, parties and other events celebrating the inauguration of a new president. This year,...

By Alejandro Lazo | December 30, 2008; 10:45 AM ET | Comments (0)

Morning Brief: Passing Up Holiday Parties

The holiday spirit is touching some local companies and organizations. Staff writer William Wan reports today that some of these companies have foregone fancy holiday parties and canceled their fruit baskets to clients, instead funneling the money to local food banks for the needy. Such donations have come from...

By Alejandro Lazo | December 19, 2008; 09:13 AM ET | Comments (0)

Morning Brief: Constellation Takes French Offer

Constellation Energy Group has taken a pass on Warren Buffett's offer. Instead, a big French utility agreed to pay $4.5 billion for a half interest in the company's nuclear power plants and a Midwest utility controlled by Buffett got $593 million in cash plus a 10 percent stake in...

By Alejandro Lazo | December 18, 2008; 07:19 AM ET | Comments (0)

Morning Brief: Scheme Claims Local Victims

The Madoff scheme appears to have some local victims. Staff writer Megan Greenwell reports today that the umbrella group that provides funds to almost every Jewish nonprofit group in the Washington region might have lost more than $10 million to the widening scandal. The investment firm operated by Bernard...

By Alejandro Lazo | December 17, 2008; 09:37 AM ET | Comments (0)

Morning Brief: Upset Over Home Purchase Program

Last month the D.C. Council voted to suspend $11 million of the Home Purchase Assistance Program's $34 million budget -- a popular housing program that helps residents with down payments and closing costs. On Tuesday, the council heard directly from those affected. Dana Grinage, whose voice cracked, told council...

By Alejandro Lazo | December 16, 2008; 09:08 AM ET | Comments (0)

General Growth Continues Negotiations With Banks

General Growth Properties is still in talks with lenders. The owner of Tysons Galleria, Landmark Mall and the Mall in Columbia said Monday morning that it had yet to reach "unanimous agreement" with a consortium of banks on an extension to pay back $900 million worth of loans and that...

By Alejandro Lazo | December 15, 2008; 11:35 AM ET | Comments (0)

Morning Brief: Washington Area May Slow In 2009

The Washington region has held up despite the recession this year. Next year might not be so easy. The Washington region is expected to end the year with as many as 36,000 more jobs than last year, but analysts are forecasting a much dimmer outlook for next year, saying...

By Alejandro Lazo | December 15, 2008; 11:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

General Growth Refinances Some Debt; Deadline Looms

General Growth Properties, the struggling Chicago real estate behemoth that owns Tysons Galleria, Landmark Mall and the Mall in Columbia, said Friday morning it had refinanced some of its debt, but it still faces a major deadline as it negotiates terms for $900 million worth of mortgages due to be...

By Alejandro Lazo | December 12, 2008; 11:54 AM ET | Comments (0)

Morning Brief: Mall Owner Faces Debt Deadline

General Growth Properties, the Chicago real estate behemoth that owns Tysons Galleria, Landmark Mall and the Mall in Columbia, faces a major deadline today as it tries to negotiate new terms for $900 million worth of loans on two Las Vegas properties. The company took on substantial debt when...

By Alejandro Lazo | December 12, 2008; 10:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Newsweek Offers More Buyouts, to Cut 10 Jobs

This item was reposted from The Ticker blog on Economy Watch. Newsweek magazine, which is owned by The Washington Post Co., told employees today that the magazine is extending early-retirement, or "buyout," packages offered earlier this year and will lay off 10 employees. Newsweek, like all news weekly magazines, has...

By Terri Rupar | December 11, 2008; 02:45 PM ET | Comments (0)

Morning Brief: Local Leaders Want Green Jobs

Local leaders are looking for a piece of the green jobs pie. With President-elect Barack Obama already drafting an economic stimulus package that could provide up to $1 trillion, local elected officials combined forces Wednesday to pursue support for environmentally friendly public works projects. According to a report by staff...

By Alejandro Lazo | December 11, 2008; 09:06 AM ET | Comments (0)

NPR to Cut Workforce

Dennis Haarsager, interim president and chief executive of NPR, sent out a memo today saying the company is canceling two shows, News & Notes and Day to Day, and cutting 7 percent of its workforce. Many of the 64 filled and 21 unfilled jobs that are getting cut are linked...

By Terri Rupar | December 10, 2008; 03:22 PM ET | Comments (8)

Morning Brief: Mortgage Giants Take Hill Grilling

Federal mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac took a grilling Tuesday on Capitol Hill. A congressional panel told former Fannie chief executive Franklin D. Raines that he and his colleagues acted irresponsibly in making decisions that led to the housing crisis. Raines, in turn, blamed the federal regulator...

By Alejandro Lazo | December 10, 2008; 08:46 AM ET | Comments (1)

Danaher Expands Job Cuts

Manufacturing conglomerate Danaher said Monday evening that it would take further measures to cut costs as the global economic downturn hampers its ability to grow through acquisitions and slows sales. The company said it would cut a total of 1,700 jobs and close 13 factories in the fourth quarter as...

By Terri Rupar | December 9, 2008; 03:26 PM ET | Comments (0)

Morning Brief: Fannie, Freddie Knew Of Risks

We begin today with more news from the mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Staff writer Zachary Goldfarb reports that internal Freddie documents show senior executives at the company were warned years ago they were offering mortgages that could pose dangers to the firm. At Fannie, top executives were...

By Alejandro Lazo | December 9, 2008; 08:08 AM ET | Comments (2)

Morning Brief: Policy Wins At Fannie, Freddie

In this week's Washington Business section, we take a deeper look at how Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are doing under conservatorship. Staff writer Zachary Goldfarb examines how the companies are handling their sometimes contradictory missions of making money and serving the public good. "Fannie and Freddie have always...

By Alejandro Lazo | December 8, 2008; 07:17 AM ET | Comments (0)

Looking for B. Francis Saul II

I called up a handful of businesspeople I know around Washington after local business legend B. Francis Saul II agreed to sell his Chevy Chase Bank for $520 million to McLean-based Capital One last week. I was looking for some good stories about Saul, who is notoriously private and never...

By Terri Rupar | December 7, 2008; 08:00 PM ET | Comments (0)

BearingPoint Approves Plan to Boost Share Price

BearingPoint, the McLean information technology company whose stock has ceased being traded on the New York Stock Exchange, took steps on Friday to boost its share price so that it will be in compliance with the exchange's rules. Shareholders approved a plan for a reverse stock split at a one-for-50...

By Alejandro Lazo | December 5, 2008; 03:26 PM ET | Comments (0)

More Layoffs at FBR Capital Markets

FBR Capital Markets, a publicly traded affiliate of Friedman, Billings, Ramsey Group, is laying off 70 more employees, or a little over 10 percent of its workforce, as it continues to grapple with a struggling economy. FBR Capital Markets, based in Arlington, employed 758 a year ago. It downsized over...

By Tom Heath | December 5, 2008; 12:37 PM ET | Comments (1)

Morning Brief: A Local Banking Dream Is Realized

Richard Fairbank, the chief executive of Capital One of McLean, had long desired the landmark Washington bank Chevy Chase, but he thought the privately held company was out of reach. Then, just a day after telling his business associates about what he had dreamed, Fairbank learned that a New...

By Alejandro Lazo | December 5, 2008; 08:38 AM ET | Comments (1)

Morning Brief: Capital One to Buy Chevy Chase

In a local match-up born out of the financial crisis, Capital One, the McLean credit card company, is expected to buy Chevy Chase Bank, a landmark Washington financial firm with branches throughout the region, sources familiar with the matter told the Washington Post. Capital One, which would pay $520 million...

By Alejandro Lazo | December 4, 2008; 08:28 AM ET | Comments (0)

Carlyle Group Announces 100 Layoffs

The Carlyle Group, the District-based private equity giant, will lay off 10 percent of its staff due to the current economic conditions, a spokesman said yesterday. The company, which employs around 1,000 full-time staffers in 33 offices around the world, said it will lay off around 100 employees, who were...

By Tom Heath | December 3, 2008; 02:18 PM ET | Comments (0)

Morning Brief: Inauguration Business Parties On

The city's bartenders must be happy. For four days in January (you guessed it, inauguration weekend) bars in the District will be open 24 hours a day. Staff writer David Nakamura reports that, under emergency legislation approved by the D.C. Council on Tuesday, any District establishment with a liquor...

By Alejandro Lazo | December 3, 2008; 08:53 AM ET | Comments (0)

Carlyle's Rubenstein Sees Opportunities Ahead

By Thomas Heath The Washington region is going to grow and many parts will prosper under the incoming Obama Administration and the federal government's impetus to spend up to a trillion dollars to stimulate the economy. So says David Rubenstein, one of the co-founders of The Carlyle Group. Rubenstein spoke...

By Tom Heath | December 2, 2008; 11:27 AM ET | Comments (1)

Morning Brief: Stalling Development

The promise of new homes and high-end retail is running headlong into a withering economic slowdown and paralyzed credit markets, bringing new construction to a virtual stop throughout the Washington area and fueling anxiety among those who dreamed that their neighborhoods were the next frontiers. "There's a question mark over...

By Alejandro Lazo | December 2, 2008; 08:32 AM ET | Comments (0)

Value Added: A Trip To The Spa

By Thomas Heath So you want to escape from the economic malaise and set your mind adrift with a 50- minute deep facial or a 50-minute deep massage for $95 each. Sounds like an unaffordable indulgence these days, doesn't it? The $11 billion U.S. spa industry, which has enjoyed several...

By Dan Beyers | December 1, 2008; 08:58 AM ET | Comments (5)

Morning Brief: Washington Feels Economic Pinch

Monday morning brings us a look at all business news that is local. The economic view first: the Washington area, long considered one of the most economically resilient in the country, is beginning to feel the pinch of the sharp national downturn. The unemployment rate for the Washington area...

By Alejandro Lazo | November 30, 2008; 10:15 PM ET | Comments (0)

Morning Brief: Small Businesses Wary of Bailout

Chris Kelly, a 31-year employee, awaits customers at Champion Billiards & Barstools in Rockville, which is holding a going-out-of-business sale. (By Kevin Clark -- The Washington Post) Small businesses are concerned that the government's announcement this week of what amounts to a bailout attempt for consumers and small-business owners...

By Alejandro Lazo | November 28, 2008; 09:37 AM ET | Comments (0)

Morning Brief: Price At The Pump A Bright Spot

There is some bright business news these days. The recent plunge in gas prices from their historic highs this summer has meant relief for small business owners and drivers. Stacie Banks and her family use their van and two Honda Elements to deliver arrangements of orchids, chrysanthemums, carnations and Gerber...

By Alejandro Lazo | November 26, 2008; 08:14 AM ET | Comments (0)

Morning Brief: Lay-Offs Hit Washington Families

The Washington area is well known for its economic resilience. Nevertheless, several large employers have announced lay-offs and staff writer Brigid Schulte takes a look at the experiences of middle class families that have lost a wage earner today. Each of the families learned how fast the slide to the...

By Alejandro Lazo | November 25, 2008; 08:04 AM ET | Comments (0)

Carlyle Pulls Back Overseas

The Carlyle Group is shutting down its 12-person Warsaw office and is laying off another seven people throughout Asia as it pulls back from two specialized ventures in emerging markets. The firm has closed down its team in Central and Eastern Europe, which was formed to pursue leveraged buyouts and...

By Tom Heath | November 24, 2008; 06:29 PM ET | Comments (0)

Morning Brief: The Voice Behind Video Games

It is Monday morning, and time to take a look at the latest local business news. First meet Craig Sechler of Northwest Washington. He is the voice behind dozens of characters in interactive video games, an intriguing, sometimes eerie, always challenging subculture that is as invisible to many people...

By Alejandro Lazo | November 24, 2008; 08:23 AM ET | Comments (0)

Value Added: Sitting Down With Manny Friedman

By Thomas Heath I had been trying to get Manny Friedman to talk to me for almost two years. He is the "F" in FBR. That's Friedman, Billings, Ramsey Group, the Rosslyn-investment bank that made its three founders very wealthy from their plays in banking back in the early 1990s....

By Dan Beyers | November 23, 2008; 07:45 PM ET | Comments (3)

Morning Brief: Freddie, Fannie Halt Foreclosures

Mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will suspend foreclosures and evictions for the holidays. The two companies, which were seized by the government in September, said they want to keep people from losing their homes. They said they are taking the step so they can include more people...

By Alejandro Lazo | November 21, 2008; 08:06 AM ET | Comments (0)

Morning Brief: Inauguration Frenzy Hits Washington

Some visitors coming to Washington for President-elect Barrack Obama's inauguration are getting caught up in a frenzy in which thousands of people have come out of the woodwork to make a quick buck by offering their houses for rent. But the arrangements -- with deals being brokered largely between amateurs,...

By Alejandro Lazo | November 20, 2008; 09:05 AM ET | Comments (0)

Morning Brief: Fannie May Be Dropped BY NYSE

Fannie Mae it is at risk of being dropped from the New York Stock Exchange. The disclosure on Tuesday illustrates how far the giant has fallen. The company was once the largest public company in the Washington area and a bedrock of the U.S. financial industry. The announcement came...

By Alejandro Lazo | November 19, 2008; 08:32 AM ET | Comments (0)

Morning Brief: Treasury Invests In Four Local Banks

With the Treasury Department's rescue plan in full swing, more financial institutions with a Washington area presence are tapping the government funds. The Treasury said on Monday that it has made investments in four banks that operate in the Washington area. The Treasury has agreed to invest $175.3 billion...

By Alejandro Lazo | November 18, 2008; 08:12 AM ET | Comments (0)

Bad Auto, Credit Card Debts Rise At Capital One

For more evidence that consumers are struggling as the economy sours, one need not go further than McLean-based Capital One. In a monthly regulatory filing, the credit card giant and bank said on Monday that consumers had an increasingly difficult time paying off their credit card debt and auto...

By Alejandro Lazo | November 17, 2008; 12:33 PM ET | Comments (0)

Provident Bank Taps Treasury Rescue Funds

The American taxpayer now owns a $151 million slice of Baltimore-based Provident Bank. Provident Bankshares, the parent company of the bank, said on Monday morning that the Treasury Department had bought both senior preferred shares and warrants to purchase the company's common stock. The investments through Treasury Secretary Henry...

By Alejandro Lazo | November 17, 2008; 12:01 PM ET | Comments (0)

Morning Brief: Broker Raffles His Annapolis House

It is Monday morning and time to take a look at the local business scene. Some people in the housing market are getting increasingly creative when it comes to selling. Tom Walters, a mortgage broker, is raffling off his home, selling tickets for $50 for his $1 million six-bedroom,...

By Alejandro Lazo | November 17, 2008; 08:05 AM ET | Comments (0)

CapitalSource Steps Closer To Becoming Bank

CapitalSource of Chevy Chase has taken another step toward becoming a commercial bank. CapitalSource is undergoing a transition from commercial lender and real estate investment trust to bank holding company. These days that model is seen as more stable since deposits have become a more reliable source of money...

By Alejandro Lazo | November 14, 2008; 04:45 PM ET | Comments (0)

Morning Brief: Fannie, Freddie Costs Could Climb

There are lots of big local news stories today. First off, the seizure of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, is poised to get more expensive and some are cautioning that the takeover might cost the government more than suggested, reports staff writer Zachary A. Goldfarb. The turmoil in the financial...

By Alejandro Lazo | November 14, 2008; 08:05 AM ET | Comments (0)

Morning Brief: Mt. Pleasant Empties With Downturn

Up and down the commercial heart of Mount Pleasant storefronts are empty, a reflection of the broader economic downturn. As staff writer Paul Schwartzman reports today: "The palm reader left months ago, as did the laundromat, computer center and two food markets. Across the way, the charred vestiges of...

By Alejandro Lazo | November 13, 2008; 08:14 AM ET | Comments (2)

Morning Brief: Fannie, Freddie Attack Foreclosures

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are at the forefront of the national economic story again. The two mortgage giants are an integral part of a government plan unveiled on Tuesday to help delinquent borrowers out of foreclosure. The new program ushers in a more simplified process for determining who is...

By Alejandro Lazo | November 12, 2008; 08:06 AM ET | Comments (0)

Farmer Mac Feels Freddie, Lehman's Pain

Farmer Mac, the country cousin to mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, took a beating from its investments in Fannie and investment bank Lehman Brothersin the third quarter. The company's misfortunes illustrate how the demise of some of the United States' biggest financial giants has reverberated throughout the...

By Alejandro Lazo | November 11, 2008; 05:05 PM ET | Comments (0)

Morning Brief: BearingPoint Focuses on Debt

BearingPoint is stepping up its efforts to renegotiate its debt load. Kenneth A. Hiltz, a managing partner with the turnaround firm AlixPartners, takes over as the company's new chief financial officer. His job will be finding ways of conserving cash and negotiating with the company's lenders, BearingPoint said in a...

By Alejandro Lazo | November 11, 2008; 07:47 AM ET | Comments (0)

NVR Chairman Will Forgo Salary For Third Year

Add Dwight C. Schar, the executive chairman of Reston-based homebuilder NVR, to the list of local executives who are announcing pay cuts due to the rough economy. Schar will forego his $1.5 million salary and take no bonus in 2009 as his company weathers the worst housing downturn in...

By Alejandro Lazo | November 10, 2008; 11:39 AM ET | Comments (0)

Strayer Will Move to Herndon

CB Richard Ellis said Monday morning that Strayer Education is consolidating its headquarters at Dulles Station East, a new building that sits along the Dulles Toll Road in 2010. The company is currently based in Arlington. Why should we care? The 12-year lease should help to moderate the surge...

By Alejandro Lazo | November 10, 2008; 09:39 AM ET | Comments (0)

Morning Brief: A Look at Commercial Real Estate

We focus exclusively on local business on Mondays and this week we took a look at one of the region's key industries: commercial real estate. We found that the slowdown in consumer spending and the credit crunch have put the brakes on retail projects throughout the region. Developers here...

By Alejandro Lazo | November 10, 2008; 08:07 AM ET | Comments (0)

Value Added: Sitting On Dry Powder

My colleague Dana Hedgpeth and I recently spent an hour over coffee with Michael Glosserman, managing member of the JBG Holding Co., which is one of Washington's most prominent private equity real estate firms. JBG's investors include the Yale University Endowment, which is sort of a badge of honor...

By Dan Beyers | November 9, 2008; 08:00 PM ET | Comments (1)

Morning Brief: Sunrise's Loss And Discovery Gains

Sunrise Senior Living reported a net loss of $68.7 million in the third quarter as it wrote down the value of some its abandoned development projects and expenses from its accounting restatements continued to weigh on its finances. "This quarter was very difficult as we incurred a significant net...

By Alejandro Lazo | November 7, 2008; 08:28 AM ET | Comments (0)

How Will Obama Affect Our Economy?

What will an Obama Administration mean for me? That is one of the biggest questions facing the Washington area business community these days. The Greater Washington Board of Trade took at stab at answering that question on Thursday morning. It hosted a forum with Politico consisting of two panels,...

By Alejandro Lazo | November 6, 2008; 01:00 PM ET | Comments (0)

Morning Briefing: Commercial Real Estate Plunges

Commercial real estate, which has long been a major industry in the Washington area, is looking to chalk up one of its worst years since the bust of the early 1990s reports staff writer Dana Hedgpeth. "In the Washington area, there is a concern that new developments won't break ground,...

By Alejandro Lazo | November 5, 2008; 07:47 AM ET | Comments (0)

Gannett Chief Says In Memo He Will Take Pay Cut

Another one takes the cut. Craig Dubow, chairman and chief executive of McLean-based Gannett, said in an internal memo on Monday evening that he is voluntarily taking a 17 percent salary reduction of $200,000 starting this month and continuing in 2009. That would put him on track for a salary...

By Alejandro Lazo | November 4, 2008; 01:04 PM ET | Comments (0)

Morning Briefing: Sallie Chairman Accepts Pay Cut

Anthony P. Terracciano, chairman of Sallie Mae, will take a yearly pay cut and delay some of his stock awards as the company weathers a rough time for the student lending business. Anthony P. Terracciano, chairman of Sallie Mae, will take a pay cut. (Via Bloomberg News) The student...

By Alejandro Lazo | November 4, 2008; 07:52 AM ET | Comments (0)

Morning Briefing: CapitalSource Director Resigns

CapitalSource of Chevy Chase continues to make changes in the midst of the financial crisis. The company said in a filing on Monday that Jason M. Fish, a co-founder and director since 2000, resigned last week as vice chairman of the board. The company did not give a reason...

By Alejandro Lazo | November 3, 2008; 07:41 AM ET | Comments (0)

Morning Briefing: Maryland Business Activity Drops

More evidence that the economic downturn is hitting close to home emerged on Thursday. A survey of Maryland businesses in the month of October by the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond found a steep decline in its index of general business activity. Those surveyed by the bank reported sharp declines...

By Alejandro Lazo | October 31, 2008; 08:34 AM ET | Comments (0)

CapitalSource to Drop REIT Status

CapitalSource of Chevy Chase will cease to be a real estate investment trust next year because managing its portfolio of mortgage-related investments would be "imprudent and perhaps impossible," the company said Thursday. CapitalSource said in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that the decision by its board of...

By Alejandro Lazo | October 30, 2008; 06:50 PM ET | Comments (0)

Comstock Remains on Nasdaq, for Now

Comstock Homebuilding of Reston will continue to be traded on the Nasdaq Stock Market -- for now. Comstock said Thursday that it has received a notice from the exchange, granting the company a request for a continued listing. The company has until April 13 to keep its shares above a...

By Alejandro Lazo | October 30, 2008; 05:57 PM ET | Comments (0)

BearingPoint Trying to Renegotiate Debt

Troubles continue to mount for McLean's BearingPoint. The management and consulting firm said late on Wednesday that efforts to sell itself, or parts of its business, had gone nowhere and that it will now look to renegotiate the terms of some of its debt with lenders in order to comply...

By Alejandro Lazo | October 30, 2008; 11:55 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Fannie's Disappearing Capital

By Alejandro Lazo So it turns out that nearly half of the capital mortgage giant Fannie Mae was sitting on in the months before being taken over by the government is now worthless. That's the news this morning from staff writer Zachary A. Goldfarb. He reports that District-based Fannie has...

By Alejandro Lazo | October 30, 2008; 07:58 AM ET | Comments (0)

Earnings Up for Two REITs, ManTech

A round of earnings reported on Wednesday gives a brief snapshot of the health of the Washington area's economy in the midst of the financial crisis. There was relatively bright news for two local real estate companies, with First Potomac Realty Trust of Bethesda saying profit tripled and Federal Realty...

By Alejandro Lazo | October 29, 2008; 07:05 PM ET | Comments (0)

Legg Mason Posts Loss But Stock Rises

By Alejandro Lazo The investment firm Legg Mason posted a second-quarter loss on Wednesday as revenue dropped and the market meltdown lead to a massive charge related to shoring up its money market funds. The Baltimore-based asset manager reported a loss of $103.8 million, or 74 cents per share, in...

By Dan Beyers | October 29, 2008; 12:12 PM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Is The Takeover Working?

For signs of just how difficult it is for the government to rescue the economy, one need look no further than Treasury's takeover of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. In the nearly two months since the government seized control of the mortgage finance giants, little progress has been made to...

By Dan Beyers | October 29, 2008; 08:12 AM ET | Comments (0)

Roundup: Gannett, ICO

From staff and wire reports *Gannett said it will cut another 10 percent from the workforce at its local newspapers by early December. The latest reductions, to come by early December, follow a 10 percent cut announced in August. Neither round affects USA Today. McLean-based Gannett isn't revealing a specific...

By Terri Rupar | October 28, 2008; 04:01 PM ET | Comments (0)

Profit Up, Forecast Down At Under Armour

From the Associated Press: Under Armour said Tuesday its third-quarter profit rose 28 percent, but the company lowered its full-year profit outlook in anticipation of a tough holiday shopping season that will affect the fourth quarter. "While the company has delivered strong results for the first nine months of the...

By Dan Beyers | October 28, 2008; 10:09 AM ET | Comments (0)

Capital One, PNC, SunTrust Take Gov. Money

We are reposting this item from our EconomyWatch blog, The Ticker. By Binyamin Appelbaum Fifteen banks have added their names to the list of institutions accepting government investments. The companies include McLean-based Capital One, which said it will take $3.55 billion from the Treasury Department. The new banks join the...

By Dan Beyers | October 27, 2008; 11:52 AM ET | Comments (0)

Gannett Third-Quarter Profit Down 32 Percent

From the Associated Press Gannett said its third-quarter profit fell 32 percent, to $158 million (69 cents a share) from $234 million ($1.01), as it saw less advertising revenue than last year as part of broader cutbacks in a worsening economy. Revenue at the nation's largest newspaper publisher fell 9...

By Terri Rupar | October 24, 2008; 10:25 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: A Parking Lot, for Now

*The corner of K Street and Connecticut Avenue is among downtown Washington's most prestigious, a crossroads District leaders believe is worthy of the glass, steel and stone tower that a developer envisions. But now, citing the economic downturn, a developer has sought the District's permission to turn one of the...

By Terri Rupar | October 24, 2008; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Roundup: PNC, Sallie Mae, WSB, CarMax

From staff and wire reports *PNC Bank plans to open 41 branches and 180 ATMs in Giant Food stores in the District, Maryland, Virginia and Delaware next year. The companies said more branches and ATMs will be added during their 10-year agreement. The agreement comes several months after Chevy Chase...

By Terri Rupar | October 23, 2008; 04:12 PM ET | Comments (0)

NII Profit Up, Shares Down

NII Holdings of Reston said today that third-quarter profit grew 12.5 percent, to $91.8 million (54 cents) from $81.6 million (46 cents) in the comparable quarter a year earlier. Revenue grew 38. 4 percent, to $1.18 billion. The company, which provides mobile phone access in Latin America, said ended the...

By Terri Rupar | October 23, 2008; 02:17 PM ET | Comments (0)

Long & Foster Names New President

By Maryann Haggerty In the midst of the worst real estate market in years, Long & Foster Cos. has promoted David H. Stevens to president and chief operating officer. Stevens, 51, has a background in finance, not brokerage. Since 2006, when he joined the company, he has been president of...

By Terri Rupar | October 23, 2008; 12:38 PM ET | Comments (0)

Sandy Spring Bancorp, Eagle Bancorp Report Profit

Sandy Spring Bancorp of Olney said third-quarter profit fell 34 percent, to $5.4 million (33 cents) from $8.2 million (50 cents). Results include a pretax impairment charge of $2.3 millino related to a writedown in goodwill in Equipment Leasing Co., a subsidiary. Assets dropped 8 percent, to $3.2 billion. Loans...

By Terri Rupar | October 23, 2008; 11:27 AM ET | Comments (0)

FBR to Consider Strategic Alternatives

By Alejandro Lazo Friedman, Billings, Ramsey Group of Arlington said today that it would considering selling itself as losses continued to mount in the third quarter. Its core business of making mortgage investments has been hammered in the midst of the real estate downturn. The real estate investment firm, which...

By Terri Rupar | October 23, 2008; 11:11 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Employers Cutting Back

*Employers are moving to aggressively cut jobs and reduce costs in the face of the nation's economic crisis, preparing for what many fear will be a long and painful recession. "The customers I've spoken to are all living under a sense of fear," said Paul Villella, chief executive of HireStrategy,...

By Terri Rupar | October 23, 2008; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Radio One Shares At New Lows

By Anita Huslin Urban media company Radio One was warned that it was failing to meet Nasdaq listing requirements after its stock plummeted to all-time lows this week. Fund managers dropped shares of the Lanham company on Tuesday in response to its removal from the SmallCap 600 index by Standard...

By Terri Rupar | October 22, 2008; 06:16 PM ET | Comments (1)

IT, Shipbuilding Mean Profits For General Dynamics

Stephen Manning Associated Press Defense contractor General Dynamics said Wednesday that third quarter earnings were up 16 percent on higher sales in its shipbuilding unit and information technology business, topping Wall Street's earnings forecast. The Falls Church-based company earned $634 million, or $1.59 per share, for the quarter, up from...

By Dan Beyers | October 22, 2008; 09:31 AM ET | Comments (0)

FBR Capital Markets Posts Loss

Update from staff writer Alejandro Lazo Arlington-based FBR Capital Markets booked a $28.6 million loss in the third quarter, as its investment banking business plummeted in the midst of the financial crisis. It is the biggest loss yet for the company, which spun-off from its parent, the Friedman, Billings, Ramsey...

By Terri Rupar | October 22, 2008; 09:25 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Not-So-Small Businesses

*U.S. government agencies made at least $5 billion in mistakes in their recent reports of contracts awarded to small businesses, with many claiming credit for awards to companies that long ago outgrew the designation or never qualified in the first place, a Washington Post analysis shows. In the data, federal...

By Terri Rupar | October 22, 2008; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Value Added: Investing In A Downturn

Here's Tom Heath's latest column on Washington's business community: I met Dwight Bush a few years ago when he was part of a group that tried to buy the Washington Nationals from Major League Baseball. Bush, 51, is a well-known Washington corporate banker. He speaks softly and deliberately, like many...

By Dan Beyers | October 21, 2008; 01:00 PM ET | Comments (1)

NVR's Profits Slide On Housing Slowdown

By Alejandro Lazo Reston-based homebuilder NVR said its profit fell 60 percent in the third quarter as orders for new homes declined and fewer mortgage loans were made in the midst of the slumping housing market and ongoing financial crisis. The company said its net income for the third quarter...

By Dan Beyers | October 21, 2008; 10:02 AM ET | Comments (0)

Lockheed's Profits Rise, Boosted By IT

By Stephen Manning Associated Press Bethesda defense contractor Lockheed Martin said Tuesday that third-quarter earnings rose 2 percent as the company recorded strong sales in its information technology business, along with a one-time gain from the sale of a rocket launch business. Lockheed, which makes F-35 fighter jets, raised its...

By Dan Beyers | October 21, 2008; 09:56 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Affordable Trumps Luxury

Donatelli Development in recent years has constructed mostly luxury condominiums and apartments on sites overlooking Metro stations in Northwest Washington. But in what city officials say is a reflection of the changing dynamics of the real estate market, the District Monday chose Donatelli to build nearly 400 units of affordable...

By Dan Beyers | October 21, 2008; 08:40 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: The Legal Squeeze

Banks are not the only businesses tightening their belts. Washington area law firms are retooling due to a financial crisis that is bringing growing pressure from corporations and a drop in work in mergers and acquisitions, litigation and commercial real estate. At least one global firm with a D.C. office,...

By Dan Beyers | October 20, 2008; 08:31 AM ET | Comments (0)

Capital One Posts Third-Quarter Profit

From staff and wire reports Capital One posted a third-quarter profit of $374.1 million ($1 a share), compared with a loss of $81.6 million (21 cents) in the comparable period a year earlier on expenses tied to closing its subprime mortgage unit. The McLean credit card issuer and bank said...

By Terri Rupar | October 16, 2008; 04:19 PM ET | Comments (0)

Profit Drops at Danaher, Orbital Sciences

From wire reports Danaher of the District said third-quarter profit dropped 23 percent, to $371.9 million ($1.11 a share) from $483.7 million ($1.03) in the comparable quarter a year earlier. Revenue for the diversified manufacturer that makes bar code readers, medical products, and Sears' Craftsman tools was up 17 percent,...

By Terri Rupar | October 16, 2008; 11:03 AM ET | Comments (0)

Learning Tree Off the Market

From the Associated Press Learning Tree International of Reston said it has taken itself off the market because of the financial crisis that has made it difficult for potential buyers to get credit. Learning Tree, which provides training materials and courses for information technology, said in a statement that "current...

By Terri Rupar | October 14, 2008; 05:37 PM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Md.'s Hoyer Holds His Nose

House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer, en route to a leadership meeting, is unhappy about additions to the plan, but is urging colleagues to vote for it. (By Melina Mara -- The Washington Post) Metro Staff writer John Wagner checks in with House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.)...

By Dan Beyers | October 3, 2008; 08:45 AM ET | Comments (3)

Early Briefing: Who Speaks For Fannie, Freddie?

Who speaks for Fannie Mae and Freddie Max now? Their government overseer, apparently. The mortgage finance giants have dismantled their powerful lobbying corps, removing two dozen people who made up one of Washington's most formidable advocacy teams. The departures came after the government announced that all lobbying by the companies...

By Dan Beyers | October 1, 2008; 08:35 AM ET | Comments (0)

Data File: Tight Labor Market Continues

By V. Dion Haynes While unemployment rates in Virginia and Maryland rose in August, the jobless rate for some parts of the Washington region remained steady and others dropped, according to new data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics Tuesday. Unemployment in the District, Arlington and Alexandria remained at...

By Dan Beyers | September 30, 2008; 02:11 PM ET | Comments (1)

Early Briefing: A New Banking Giant

The merger Monday of Wachovia and Citigroup combines two of metropolitan Washington's largest banks, creating a potential powerhouse accounting for nearly a quarter of the region's deposits. Wachovia was the region's largest bank, with $20.8 billion in deposits in 2007, and its combination with Citi, the seventh-largest, left local...

By Dan Beyers | September 30, 2008; 09:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: A Gut-Wrenching Ride

Staff writer Alejandro Lazo checks in on Washington's 20 largest public companies in the Post 200 to see how they are faring this year -- and judging from their collective stock performance, it is not a pretty picture. Given the turmoil, however, two names jumped out: Capital One, up 12...

By Dan Beyers | September 29, 2008; 08:22 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Anxiousness And Anger On Main St.

The president and the presidential hopefuls plan to huddle today to press the case for a $700 billion bailout for Wall Street that they say is necessary to also save Main Street. We hear from those on the front lines in today's paper: D.C. real estate agent David Crossland can...

By Dan Beyers | September 25, 2008; 08:50 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Budget Troubles and Foreclosures

*In the year since Maryland launched a series of foreclosure prevention programs, the state has helped just 88 troubled borrowers get into new loans or keep up with their payments, at a cost of about $17.9 million. State officials say their efforts have been hamstrung by borrowers who wait too...

By Terri Rupar | September 24, 2008; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (1)

Value Added: Carlyle's Bill Conway On The Bailout

Here's Tom Heath's latest column on Washington's business community: It was just a few months ago when I was eating a hamburger with Carlyle Group co-founder Bill Conway at a Northern Virginia restaurant and he was predicting that the mayhem on Wall Street would get worse and last at least...

By Dan Beyers | September 23, 2008; 01:45 PM ET | Comments (6)

Early Briefing: Fairfax Home Prices Tick Up

* Home sales in Fairfax County rose 10.7 percent last month, the county's first double-digit increase in a year and a half, according to the most recent data from the company that tracks local real estate listings. The flurry of sales activity suggests that prices have dropped low enough to...

By Dan Beyers | September 23, 2008; 08:39 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Some D.C. Bond Rates Double

*The interest rates on some of the District's bonds doubled this week as a result of intense tightening in the credit markets. That means the city will have to fork over several hundred thousand more dollars to creditors this week, said D.C. Treasurer Lasana Mack. He added that the District...

By Terri Rupar | September 18, 2008; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

New Chairmen For Fannie, Freddie

By Zachary A. Goldfarb The government Tuesday appointed the former chief executive of one of the nation's largest accounting firms to chair the board of Fannie Mae and a turnaround specialist and former deputy mayor of the District to chair the board of Freddie Mac. The government removed the chief...

By Dan Beyers | September 16, 2008; 12:12 PM ET | Comments (3)

Mattress Discounters Seeks Bankruptcy Protection

Bloomberg News Mattress Discounters sought bankruptcy protection from creditors for the second time in six years, citing declining sales. The closely held Upper Marlboro company, known for its "Have a good night's sleep on us" jingle, listed both debt and assets of $10 million to $50 million in Chapter 11...

By Terri Rupar | September 11, 2008; 12:35 PM ET | Comments (1)

Early Briefing: Changes Start at Fannie, Freddie

*The new chief executives of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac arrived at the companies' campuses and set about the challenging task of expanding their funding of mortgages in the near term and protecting taxpayers from losses in the long term. Once among the biggest companies in the country, Fannie Mae...

By Terri Rupar | September 9, 2008; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Freddie's CEO Shuffle And New Details On Pay

Sunday night we shared with you memos from the outgoing and incoming chief executives at Fannie Mae. Today, staff writer Zachary A. Goldfarb has collected memos from the top executives at Freddie Mac. First up is former CEO Richard Syron's goodbye to Freddie employees. Then you can read incoming David...

By Dan Beyers | September 8, 2008; 05:11 PM ET | Comments (1)

Early Briefing: The Fannie-Freddie Rescue

*The government seized control of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in a dramatic bid to restore faith in the embattled mortgage giants and arrest a vicious cycle that has driven the nation's economy into a steep downturn. The companies, with a combined 11,000 employees, have funded more than two-thirds of...

By Terri Rupar | September 8, 2008; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

 
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