Archive for July, 2012

SunTrust CEO: ‘I think we are Goldilocks, just the right size’

From management trainee to CEO of Atlanta-based SunTrust Banks, Bill Rogers hasn’t worked anywhere else since graduating from UNC-Chapel Hill three decades ago. While his career path is unlikely to be followed by many younger employees these days, Rogers, 54, talks about the advantages of working for a large company because of the breadth of experiences it can provide. Rogers also discusses the financial crisis and what SunTrust executives and consumers learned from it.

Bill Rogers

Bill Rogers

Q: You did not expect to spend your entire career at SunTrust. What happened?

A: I thought I’d work here a couple of years and then go back to graduate school and get a real job. But I loved it here. I also got married. We wanted to start a family and I didn’t have any money. So going to graduate school full-time didn’t work into my plans. But the company afforded me an opportunity to go to graduate school at night. I went to Georgia State and got an MBA on the slowest possible …

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Pew: Support for capitalism down in U.S.

(Associated Press)

(Associated Press)

The economic morass that has plagued much of the country in recent years has not only hit many a wallet but also knocked support for capitalism, according to a new Pew Research Center study.

The study, which gauged economic sentiment globally, found fewer Americans, 67 percent, believe people are better off under in a free market economy even though some people are rich and some are poor. In 2007, the start of the recession, 70 percent believed people were better off under capitalism.

Pew called “faith in capitalism” another victim of the “great recession.” In fact, more support for capitalism was found among Brazilians, Chinese and Germans than among Americans, the study found.

Pew said people who are suffering are less likely than those who aren’t to think people are better off under capitalism. Men are also more likely than women to think people are better off in a free market economy.

Pew surveyed 26,000 people in 21 countries between March …

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Workers “not fully engaged” in their work, study shows

Nearly two-thirds of U.S. workers are “not fully engaged in their work” and are” struggling to cope with work situations that don’t provide sufficient support,” a new study by Towers Watson, a professional services company has found.

The reports says workers are having a hard time finding the kind of positive connection to their companies that yields consistent productivity.

The reason: “almost a decade of pressure to do more with less and respond to the challenges of global competition, ever-evolving technology and the ongoing need for strict cost management.”

Well, that about sums it up.

Employers ultimately pay the price.

“It makes companies more vulnerable to lower productivity, higher inefficiency, weaker customer service, and greater rates of absenteeism and turnover,” said Julie Gebauer, of Towers Watson.

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Yahoo: 450,000 accounts breached

(Associated Press)

(Associated Press)

Yahoo acknowledged Thursday that a recent security breach led to 450,000 users’ passwords and email addresses being leaked, but the company insisted few were connected to valid accounts.

Yahoo said the passwords and email addresses were from its Yahoo Contributor Network, which is a content-sharing platform. The company said hackers were able to gain access to an “old file” that contained the user information, although only 5 percent of passwords were valid.

Tech websites identified the hackers as D33Ds Co,, which essentially was able to trick the Yahoo database into divulging private information, which D33Ds then posted, according to CNET. The tech site called it a “fairly significant security failure on Yahoo’s part.”

Yahoo said it was changing passwords associated with the network and notifying companies whose users’ accounts may have been breached.

An AP report quoted the hackers as saying, “We hope that the parties responsible for managing the …

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Georgia no longer No. 1 in foreclosures

Georgia had the highest foreclosure rate in the nation in May: 1 of 300 housing units.

Things improved in June. A little.

The latest report from RealtyTrac had Georgia 4th in foreclosures, with one in 336 housing units with a filing.

California, Arizona and Nevada led the way, so to speak.

The best news: The June numbers represented a nearly 11 percent decrease from May.

The bad: the total number of Georgia properties with a foreclosure filing in June 2012 was still about 25 percent higher than what was reported a year ago, in June 2011.

Also, with one foreclosure per 63 housing units over the first six months of 2012, Georgia ranked 3rd in the nation, after Nevada and Arizona.

Foreclosure numbers come and go, and it can be easy to read too much into the short-term data. But they do provide an indicator of how the  economy is going, and analysts have been projecting better things ahead for the housing market.

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Funeral home gets Starbucks franchise

(Associated Press)

(Associated Press)

Maybe Starbucks’ Willow Blend brew is best suited for this setting.

A funeral home in northwest South Carolina will house a Starbucks as part of an expansion in August, according to local station WSPA.com. Chris Robinson, owner of Robinson Funeral Home in Easley, told the station his business is adding a new wing where Starbucks will install equipment and provide menus.

Robinson, who has hired staff to run his Starbucks franchise, said the shop in his “Coffee Corner” is a perfect fit for the funeral home, where java flows regularly to soothe a grieving soul. The funeral director said the coffee shop will be open to the public, not just those mourning the dearly departed.

Mourners, however, won’t know they’re getting Starbucks until they enter the funeral home. The TV station says the agreement stipulates no outside signage because it is not a full-service store. The funeral home also said it’ll have its own brew free of charge, unlike the …

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Is that co-worker calling in sick faking it?

Have you noticed more workers around you calling in sick on Fridays or Monday during the dog days of summer?

You’re onto something, according to Monster.com, the employment service.

Monster just released the results of a survey of U.S. workers that found 49 percent admit to calling in sick during summer months to enjoy the weather.

While 51 percent say they never play hooky from work, 8 percent say they call in sick frequently; 11 percent do so occasionally; and 30 percent admit to doing it once or twice in their career.

Monster, which helps people find jobs, said 1,395 respondents took its online survey.

A recent Wakefield Research Study found some of the more creative reasons workers who called in sick fessed up to:

“Gas is too expensive”

“I’m dieting”

“I’m having toenail issues”

“My numerologist told me not to come in”

“It’s Elvis’s birthday”

“All my clothes are in the washer right now, I have nothing to wear”

“Stumbled on the love of my life”

The increased call-ins …

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Americans make more than parents, but no more likely to get ahead

The vast majority of Americans are making more money than their parents did at the same age, but most still aren’t able to move up to a higher income bracket, new research from The Pew Charitable Trusts shows.

People in the lowest income bracket are doing the best compared to their parents when it comes to earnings, with 93 percent in the bottom fifth having improved their lot. At the same time, that group is the least likely to move out and up from their income bracket.

Overall, 84 percent of Americans had higher incomes than their parents, with adjustments for inflation, the non-profit organization found.

The lack of mobility among income groups may be the most noteworthy finding in the report.

Pew said that 43 percent of people raised in the lowest fifth of income earners did not leave that bracket. Only 4 percent climbed into the top fifth.

A number of factors affected mobility, or the lack of it, Pew said.

“The ideal of the American Dream is complex, and we see again that …

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DirecTV, Viacom resume talks to restore MTV, BET other channels

Earns-DirecTV

(Associated Press)

(Updated 8:36 a.m.)

After a barrage of criticisms leveled at both sides, satellite TV provider DirecTV and programming provider Viacom sat down to resume talks on a new content deal Wednesday.

The resumption followed DirecTV’s decision to pull the plug on more than two dozen channels supplied by Viacom – among them MTV, BET, Comedy Central,  Jersey Shore, Nickelodeon, and CMT – after the two could not reach a deal by midnight Tuesday.

Spokespersons from both companies said talks had resumed, according to The Wall Street Journal. Chief Executive Officer Mike White said Wednesday talks were continuing but the two sides remained  “pretty far apart.”

Around 20 million DirecTV subscribers are affected by the blackout and they had plenty to say about  both companies on Twitter and on this blog.

“Shutting down was the right choice and one hopes it serves as a warning signal to other entertainment providers that their products are not worth significant cost …

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FTC: Prepaid cards shortchange on minutes

Hot Weather(Updated 12:18 p.m.)

The Federal Trade Commission is cracking down on companies that pitch prepaid phone cards but don’t deliver the advertised minutes because of hidden charges.

The latest target is DR Phone Communications, which advertises prepaid cards used by consumers making calls overseas. Some of the cards, which can be found convenience stores, grocery stores and kiosks, are marketed under names such as “Beautiful Asia,” “Vietnam Best” and “Pearls of Africa.”

The FTC said it purchased 169 of DR Phone’s card and all of them failed to deliver the number of minutes advertised. The agency said the cards on average delivered around 40 percent of the advertised minutes.

Efforts were being made to reach DR Phone and David Rosenthal, who is also mentioned in the complaint, for comment.

While large letters at the top of posters advertising the cards say “No Fees, “No Connection Fee” and “No Maintenance Fee”, the small print at the bottom makes what the FTC calls “vague …

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