Business Briefs: Pinnacle named Small Business Administration preferred lender

Business Briefs: Pinnacle named Small Business Administration preferred lender

July 11th, 2017 by Staff and Wire Reports in Business Around the Region

Pinnacle named Small Business Administration preferred lender

Pinnacle Bank, which acquired the former Capital-Mark Bank in Chattanooga in 2015, said Monday it has earned Preferred Lender Status from the U.S. Small Business Administration, giving Pinnacle final authority on SBA-backed loans.

Pinnacle Financial Corp. also earned Community Bank of the Year honors from SBA for Tennessee, an award Pinnacle has won every year since it began giving SBA loans in December 2013. Pinnacle generated the highest dollar amount and number of loans in the SBA 7(a) program in Tennessee with 20 such loans totaling $9.8 million last year.

Now that Pinnacle has joined forces with BNC Bancorp, the firm's SBA program will be based at the combined firm's office in Greenville, S.C. In SBA fiscal year 2016, BNC approved 52 SBA loans amounting to $42.1 million.

"We have a well-established SBA program in the Carolinas and Virginia that's done terrific business for a number of years," said Rick Callicutt, Pinnacle's chairman of the Carolinas and Virginia.

Pinnacle recently added SBA-focused advisor Jim Gugliemino at its Chattanooga office on Broad Street.


Porsche investigated over diesel emissions

German prosecutors say they've opened an investigation into employees of Porsche, which is a unit of Volkswagen AG, and an American subsidiary over the possible manipulation of diesel emissions.

Stuttgart prosecutors said Monday they are investigating suspicions of fraud and making false claims. They said the investigation is against persons unknown who were employed by Porsche and a U.S. unit which it did not identify.

Prosecutors elsewhere in Germany are investigating alleged wrongdoing at Volkswagen and Audi, another of the German automaker's units.

Volkswagen has acknowledged equipping about 11 million cars worldwide with software that sensed when cars were on test stands and turned emission controls on, then turned the controls off during every day driving to improve performance.


Wells Fargo to pay out $142 million settlement

Wells Fargo has received preliminary approval to pay out $142 million to customers affected by the bank's sales practices scandal.

A federal judge gave preliminary approval Saturday to the deal that would settle claims over fraudulent accounts going back to 2002.

The San Francisco-based bank and lawyers for customers reached the agreement earlier this year over accounts that Wells Fargo staff had opened without permission as they sought to meet unrealistic sales goals set by management.

In September, Wells Fargo agreed to pay a combined $185 million fine to state and federal regulators. The biggest scandal in the bank's history led to the abrupt retirement of its CEO, John Stumpf. Several other top executives have lost their jobs.


Consumer credit up by most in 6 months

American consumers increased their borrowing in May at the fastest pace in six months, reflecting a sharp rebound in the category that includes credit cards.

The Federal Reserve reported Monday that total consumer borrowing rose by $18.4 billion in May, the strongest gain since a $25.1 billion increase in November. In addition, April's gain of $8.2 billion, the weakest increase in nearly six years, was revised to a more respectable increase of $12.9 billion.

Consumer borrowing is closely watched for signals it can provide about consumer spending patterns.

With the labor market continuing to churn out jobs and the stock market at record levels, economists believe households will feel more confident about boosting their debt levels to support increased spending. Consumer spending accounts for 70 percent of economic activity.

The strength last month reflected a greater use of credit cards, which rose by $7.4 billion, much stronger than the $1.2 billion April increase. The category that includes auto loans and student loans increased $11.05 billion, slightly lower than April's $11.8 billion gain. Auto sales have been slowing this year after last year's record pace.


News outlets seek deal with Google, Facebook

News outlets are seeking permission from Congress for the right to negotiate jointly with Google and Facebook, two companies that dominate online advertising and online news traffic.

The News Media Alliance, which represents nearly 2,000 news organizations, said the two companies' dominance have forced news organizations to "play by their rules on how news and information is displayed, prioritized and monetized."

"These rules have commoditized the news and given rise to fake news, which often cannot be differentiated from real news," the alliance said in a news release Monday.

It won't be easy getting a congressional antitrust exemption to negotiate as a group. But the alliance's chief executive, David Chavern, said in an interview that trying is better than doing nothing.

The news industry has been hit with declining print readership and a loss of advertising revenue as it has moved online.

The outlets want stronger protections for intellectual property, support for subscription models and a bigger share of the online advertising market. Google and Facebook combined will account for 60 percent of the U.S. digital advertising market this year, according to the research firm eMarketer.