published Friday, October 5th, 2012

Business Briefs: CapitalMark boosts earnings

CapitalMark boosts earnings

For the 15th consecutive quarter, CapitalMark Bank & Trust reported higher profits over a year-ago in the most recent three month period. The Chattanooga bank said Thursday its third quarter earnings more than tripled last year's level, rising to $2 million, or 72 cents per share. So far this year, CapitalMark has earned $5.4 million, more than double the year-ago level.

"Along with top-line growth, we demonstrate continued strengthening of profitability, driven by our unique and efficient banking model," said R. Craig Holley, the bank's CEO.

Burner Systems buys CEM assets

Chattanooga-based Burner Systems International Inc., which makes gas-fueled appliance components, has acquired certain assets of CEM S.A. Group, a Chilean-based manufacturer of top burners, valves and other related items.

Eric Griesemer, Burner Systems' chief executive, said the acquisition is "a solid step forward in our strategy to broaden our global presence and enhance scale in the gas component supply base."

Terms of the transaction were not disclosed by Burner Systems, which employs about 1,200 people globally. It has about 175 people at its headquarters and manufacturing operations in Lookout Valley.

Mortgage rates fall to record low

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday that the rate on its 30-year home loan dropped to a record low 3.36 percent. That's down from last week's rate of 3.4 percent, which was the lowest since long-term mortgages began in the 1950s.

The average on the 15-year fixed mortgage, a popular refinancing option, dipped to 2.69 percent, down from last week's record low of 2.73 percent.

Rates are falling after the Federal Reserve started buying mortgage bonds to help strengthen a housing recovery that began earlier this year. The Fed plans to continue the program until there is substantial improvement in the job market.

Low rates are persuading more people to refinance, which could help the broader economy. Mortgage applications surged nearly 17 percent last week, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. Roughly 83 percent of those applications were to refinance existing loans.

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