finance

Banking
4:21 pm
Tue October 22, 2013

Study: Community Banks Essential, But Challenged

Credit TWP / Creative Commons

Community banks are a vital part of the credit landscape, according to a new report. Despite their popularity with customers, their numbers are shrinking. Federal regulators joined with state authorities to take an in depth look at community banking around the country in what's being viewed as the most comprehensive study of its kind. 

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Avoiding Risk?
4:20 pm
Fri October 18, 2013

In Hartford Controversy, State Files 11-Count Complaint Against Hybrid Insurance

Earl O'Garro of Hybrid Insurance Group, pictured in a biographical video.
Credit Fortnight Journal

The state insurance department has filed an 11-count complaint against Hybrid Insurance Group, the company that has defaulted on a state loan and failed to pay $670,000 in insurance premiums for the City of Hartford. Hybrid's CEO Earl O'Garro has 20 days to respond, and must appear at a hearing scheduled for November 21.

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Earnings
1:29 pm
Fri October 18, 2013

General Electric Reports Fallen Profits, But Record Backlog

The afterburner of a General Eletric J79 turbojet engine. The company reports a large order backlog helping to offset a slump in profits in the third quarter.
Credit Threecharlie / Wikimedia Commons

General Electric saw a fall in third quarter profits, but investors sent shares up anyway, because of a record backlog of orders for the company.

Fairfield-based GE is considered a bellwether for the U.S. economy because of its wide reach across many industries. In the third quarter, profits fell by 18 percent to just over $3 billion, brought down by a fall in revenues at GE Capital, the conglomerate’s finance arm. The numbers were also hit by the expense of foreign currency transactions.

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Earnings
4:50 pm
Thu October 17, 2013

Stanley Black & Decker Sees Shutdown Impact

Credit TT Zop / Wikimedia Commons

Stanley Black & Decker has lowered its profits forecast for the full year, saying that the real economic impact from the government shutdown is one factor in its prediction.

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Opening Government
1:29 pm
Thu October 17, 2013

Back to Work, But No Reason to Celebrate, Says Murphy

Senator Chris Murphy.
Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR

It’s back to work for hundreds of thousands of furloughed government employees. President Obama has signed legislation ending the partial government shutdown and averting a U.S. default. But U.S. Senator Chris Murphy said there’s no reason to celebrate.

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Former Trinity Head Probed
8:07 am
Thu October 17, 2013

Dobelle Put on Leave as Westfield Investigates Spending

Westfield State President Evan Dobelle
Credit Westfield State University

Westfield State University in Massachusetts put president Evan Dobelle on administrative leave Thursday and hired a Boston legal firm to investigate his administration. Dobelle was criticized for charging personal expenses on school credit cards and spending lavishly on foreign travel.

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National Debt
8:21 pm
Wed October 16, 2013

As It Happened: The Fight Over The Debt Ceiling, Shutdown

Senate Minority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., walks to the Senate floor after agreeing to the framework of a deal to avoid default and reopen the government, on Capitol Hill on Wednesday.
Carolyn Kaster AP

Originally published on Wed October 16, 2013 10:23 pm

Update at 10:18 p.m.: House Approves Bill:

The crisis is over. With about two hours before the country reached the debt ceiling, the House has approved the bill and it is now it's way to the White House. We've posted separately on that development and we are putting this live blog to bed.

Our Original Post Continues:

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Government Shutdown
8:44 am
Wed October 16, 2013

When Will The Government Run Out Of Money?

Quoctrung Bui

Originally published on Wed October 16, 2013 12:19 pm

In the course of any given month, the government collects billions of dollars in taxes, spends billions more, and borrows money to cover the difference between what it collects and what it spends.

If Congress doesn't raise the debt ceiling soon, the government won't be able to borrow money to cover the difference anymore and won't be able to pay all of its bills.

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Hartford Insurance Scandal
4:05 pm
Tue October 15, 2013

Financial Problems at Work, and at Home, for O'Garro

Earl O'Garro's Marlborough home.
Credit Town Of Marlborough

The story of hundreds of thousands of dollars in missing insurance premiums in the city of Hartford continues to unravel. And the man at the center of the drama appears to have significant financial problems of his own: one of his homes now faces foreclosure.

When he was a student at Wesleyan University, Earl O'Garro felt like it was a crime to be rich. At least, that's what he said in an online profile posted a few years back

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Stock Market
9:45 am
Mon October 14, 2013

Economics Nobel: Nobody Knows What Stocks Are Going To Do Today

The Nobel Foundation

If you want to honor today's Nobel laureates in economics, turn off CNBC and ignore everyone who says they know what the stock market is going to do today, tomorrow, or next week.

The award went to three economists — Eugene F. Fama, Lars Peter Hansen and Robert J. Shiller — for their work studying asset prices.

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Another Nobel Comes to New Haven
7:17 am
Mon October 14, 2013

Yale's Shiller Shares Nobel Economics Prize

Robert Shiller
Credit M. Hager. © World Economic Forum swiss-image.ch via Wikimedia Commons

Americans Robert Shiller, Eugene Fama, and Lars Peter Hansen have won the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences.

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences on Monday honored the three "for their empirical analysis of asset prices." The Nobel committees have now announced all six of the annual $1.2 million awards for 2013.

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Show Malloy The Money
4:23 pm
Fri October 11, 2013

Hybrid Insurance Defaults on State Loan

The insurance company that failed to pay nearly $700,000 in premiums on behalf of the City of Hartford now has another problem. 

The state wants its money back, too. According to a letter sent to Hybrid Insurance CEO Earl O'Garro, the state Department of Economic Development said Hybrid has defaulted on a $100,000 loan.

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Controversy? #HartfordHasIt
3:52 pm
Fri October 11, 2013

Hartford's Treasurer, His Wife, and the Workplace

Credit Heather Brandon / WNPR

Earlier this week, we brought you the story of how an insurance firm had failed to pay nearly $700,000 in premiums on the city's behalf.  We also told you that the broker has business ties to the family of City Treasurer Adam Cloud. Now, the story apparently has some legs.  The Courant has dug into it, as has columnist Kevin Rennie.

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National Debt
4:13 pm
Thu October 10, 2013

Treasury Secretary: Debt Default Would Have Dire Consequences

Treasury Secretary Jack Lew testifies during a Senate Finance Committee hearing on Thursday.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

Originally published on Thu October 10, 2013 1:49 pm

Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew urged lawmakers on Thursday to raise the government's borrowing limit or face the prospect of causing lasting damage to the U.S. economy.

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White House
5:50 pm
Wed October 9, 2013

Obama Nominates Janet Yellen To Head Federal Reserve

President Obama claps during a press conference to nominate Janet Yellen to head the Federal Reserve in the State Dining Room at the White House on Wednesday.
Win McNamee Getty Images

Originally published on Wed October 9, 2013 4:49 pm

Saying "American workers and families will have a champion in Janet Yellen," President Obama officially nominated her to chair the Federal Reserve, once Ben Bernanke completes his term in January.

Yellen "is the kind of person who makes everybody around her better," Obama said, adding that Yellen is "extremely well qualified" and "renowned for her good judgement."

Obama made the announcement at the White House on Wednesday, flanked by Yellen and outgoing Fed chief Ben Bernanke. If confirmed, Yellen will be the first woman to head the American central bank.

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Show Me The Money
1:42 pm
Wed October 9, 2013

Update: Hartford, the Mayor, the Treasurer, and the Unpaid Insurance

Hartford City Hall.
Credit Heather Brandon / WNPR

A couple of days ago, we told you the story of political name-calling in Hartford that centered around a basic fact: a broker for the city had failed to pay almost $700,000 in insurance premiums on the city's behalf. That broker, Hybrid Insurance Group, has ties to the family of city treasurer Adam Cloud.

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The Wheelhouse Digest
11:37 am
Wed October 9, 2013

Foreshaw Asks for Clemency; Explosives in Fairfield; Debt Crisis

Tamara Miller, daughter of victim Joyce Amos, testifying at today's clemency hearing for Bonnie Foreshaw.
Credit CT-N

The federal shutdown has been tough on a lot of people, as was made eminently clear this morning during the Wheelhouse episode of Where We Live, when plenty of impassioned callers made their frustrated views known. Making matters a little tougher, the U.S. Treasury Department is running out of cash to pay its bills. More on that below in The Wheelhouse Digest, plus a link to watch the Bonnie Foreshaw clemency hearing live from Niantic.

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Economy
5:44 am
Wed October 9, 2013

Treasury Officials Mull Credit Default Solutions

The Treasury Department says it will begin running out of money to pay its bills by Oct. 17, if the partial government shutdown isn't over by then. That prospect worries the financial markets. Treasury debt plays a fundamental role in the global economy, and economists agree that a debt default would have dire consequences. But some Republicans insist that a default doesn't have to happen.

U.S. Debt
5:48 pm
Mon October 7, 2013

In A Debt Crisis, U.S. May Have To Decide Payment Priorities

House Republicans have proposed directing the Treasury Department to pay bondholders first if there is not enough money available to pay all the nation's debts.
Carolyn Kaster AP

Originally published on Wed October 9, 2013 12:02 pm

The government is just 10 days away from defaulting on its debt. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew has said that by Oct. 17, the department will likely have less money on hand than it needs to pay all its bills.

"The reality is that if we run out of cash to pay our bills, there is no option that permits us to pay all of our bills on time, which means that a failure of Congress to act would for the first time put us in a place where we're defaulting on our obligations as a government," Lew said on NBC's Meet The Press on Sunday.

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Nepotism or Desperation?
4:12 pm
Mon October 7, 2013

In Hartford, a Finger Points at City Treasurer

Hartford City Treasurer Adam Cloud (L) and Mayor Pedro Segarra (R).
Credit City of Hartford

In Hartford, a dispute over $600,000 of insurance payments has led to a state investigation and questions about city Treasurer Adam Cloud. But the treasurer says the mayor is out to get him.

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Yale University
8:18 am
Tue October 1, 2013

Yale Receives Largest Gift in School History

Connecticut Hall at Yale University in New Haven.
Credit Ragesoss / Wikimedia Commons

Yale University received a $250 million gift from 1954 graduate Charles B. Johnson, the largest gift in the school's history. “This is an extraordinary commitment from one of Yale’s most loyal alumni,” Yale President Peter Salovey said. “It builds on Charlie’s long history of generosity to Yale."

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Government Shutdown
3:24 pm
Mon September 30, 2013

The Looming Shutdown: Senate Rejects Second House Measure

Speaker of the House John Boehner, a Republican from Ohio, arrives for a Republican Conference meeting at the U.S. Capitol on Friday in Washington, D.C.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Mon September 30, 2013 11:56 pm

Not even an hour after the House voted in favor of a bill that would avert a shutdown of the federal government, but also delay a key part of President Obama's Affordable Care Act, the Senate rejected it with a vote of 54-46.

With less than an hour before the government runs out of authority to spend money, the ball is now back in the court of Speaker John Boehner in the House.

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Bridgeport
11:37 am
Mon September 30, 2013

Malloy Defends Borrowing for Bass Pro Shops

Governor Malloy on Friday after a Bond Commission meeting.
Credit Jeff Cohen / WNPR

Governor Dannel Malloy on Friday defended state borrowing that will help finance the opening of Bass Pro Shops at Steelpointe Harbor in Bridgeport. The state will invest more than $30 million to bring the sporting goods retailer to anchor the long-delayed commercial development.

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Government Shutdown
9:44 am
Mon September 30, 2013

Connecticut Braces for a Failed Budget Deal

Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR

Connecticut's budget office is working with state agencies to prepare for a possible shutdown of the federal government. In a letter last week to agency heads, Office of Policy and Management Secretary Benjamin Barnes said if Congress fails to reach a budget deal, there could be "significant impact" on staff and programs that rely on federal funding.

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Sandy Relief
10:46 am
Sun September 29, 2013

Malloy Announces Online Sandy Relief Application for Small Businesses

Cosey Beach in East Haven, Connecticut, on October 28, 2012.
Credit Jan Ellen Spiegel

Governor Dannel Malloy pointed small businesses in Connecticut who were affected by Superstorm Sandy to a new state website, Connecticut Recovers, to apply for a share of $10.5 million in federal grants. The site is intended to streamline the process of filing for relief.

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The Wheelhouse Digest
11:32 am
Thu September 26, 2013

Lembo's Fiscal Review; Wind Turbine Ban Extended; Hemp Bake Sale Denied

Kevin Lembo.
Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR

Connecticut is doing a little bit better getting ready for rainy days, we learned from Kevin Lembo this week, but when there's fair weather, the state legislature made sure we won't be generating energy from wind turbines anytime soon. Read about that and more in today's Wheelhouse Digest... where UConn has us thinking about the legality of digesting hemp brownies.

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Ponzi Schemes
11:46 am
Wed September 25, 2013

Feeder Fund Investors May Get Madoff Payout

Bernard Madoff's 2009 mug shot.
Credit US Department of Justice

People who lost money in the Bernard Madoff Ponzi scheme after investing in feeder funds could get a share in more than $2 billion recovered by the government. So far, feeder fund investors have been shut out of compensation.

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Government Shutdown
6:03 am
Wed September 25, 2013

Your Government Shutdown Questions, Answered

If Congress can't come to an agreement to fund the government, there will be a shutdown on Oct. 1.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Mon September 30, 2013 9:29 pm

There's a showdown underway in Congress.

The Republican-controlled House has voted to keep the government running only if the Affordable Care Act is defunded, and the Democratic-controlled Senate isn't likely to go along with that plan. If the two sides can't resolve their differences by Oct. 1, the U.S. government will shut down.

We asked you what you wanted to know about the potential government shutdown, and journalists from NPR's Washington Desk tracked down the answers:

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Health Care
9:08 am
Thu September 19, 2013

Health Care Costs Are Projected To Outpace Economic Growth

Increased use of generic drugs caused a slight drop in the price of prescription drugs in 2012.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu September 19, 2013 9:43 am

The nation's health spending will bump up next year as the Affordable Care Act expands insurance coverage to more Americans, and then will grow by an average of 6.2 percent a year over the next decade, according to projections by government actuaries.

That estimate is lower than the typical annual increases before the recession hit. Still, the actuaries forecast that in a decade the health care segment of the nation's economy will be larger than it is today, amounting to a fifth of the gross domestic product in 2022.

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Economy
6:12 pm
Wed September 18, 2013

The Fed's Surprising Decision: Should You Cheer Or Boo?

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke arrives to speak at a news conference Wednesday in Washington, D.C. The Fed cut its economic growth forecasts and said it would keep buying bonds in a bid to keep interest rates down.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

If you are trying to buy a home, you just got good news: The Federal Reserve said Wednesday it is not going to try to drive up long-term interest rates just yet.

Stock investors are happy for you. They like cheap mortgages too because a robust housing market creates jobs. To celebrate, they bought more shares, sending the Dow Jones industrial average up 147.21 to an all-time high of 15,676.94.

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