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News stories tagged with "finance"

Photo: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/87764589@N07/8415073338/">marshmettnn tallahassee</a>, Creative Commons, some rights reserved
Photo: marshmettnn tallahassee, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

Investigation launched into student debt relief industry

Governor Cuomo's newly formed Student Protection Unit has launched an investigation into the student debt relief industry.

Led by the state Department of Financial Services (DFS), it's designed to be a consumer watchdog for New York students. And, one day after being established in the 2014 Executive Budget address, the unit has issued subpoenas to 13 companies in its first official action.  Go to full article
Photo: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/51035555243@N01/29848901/">Thomas Hawk</a>, Creative Commons, some rights reserved
Photo: Thomas Hawk, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

NY officials agree on JPMorgan settlement funds

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Attorney General Eric Schneiderman have agreed to spend the first $163 million from New York's share of the national settlement with JPMorgan on mortgage relief and housing programs this year.

The first installment of the state's $613 million share will be divided, with $81.5 million going to the state's general fund and earmarked for use by New York's two housing agencies.  Go to full article
Sen. Charles Schumer watches as Alcoa CEO Klaus Kleinfeld addresses his employees in Massena in 2011.
Sen. Charles Schumer watches as Alcoa CEO Klaus Kleinfeld addresses his employees in Massena in 2011.

Should we care about Alcoa's Dow Jones demotion?

This week the Dow Jones industrial average announced it will drop Alcoa and two other companies from its roster, replacing them with Nike, Visa, and Goldman Sachs. It's the biggest change to the 30-firm roster in nine years.

The New York Times called Alcoa's exclusion "a symbolic comedown." And it sure seems like it - clunky old aluminum out, Michael Jordan and "the swoosh" in.

One North Country financial planner told us it was "a sad day for the North Country". Alcoa practically built Massena, and remains northern New York's largest private sector employer. About 1000 people work there now.

But does the slight from the vaunted Dow Jones really matter?  Go to full article

St. Lawrence County "walking a financial tightrope," says NYS audit

An audit by state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli says St. Lawrence County is "walking a financial tightrope". The audit found the county's fund balance decreased 68 percent from 2007 to 2011. Legislators used surplus funds to close budget gaps and keep property tax increases last year to an already-high 14 percent.  Go to full article
Wall Street. Photo: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/jpellgen/">jpellgen</a>, CC <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/deed.en">some rights reserved</a>
Wall Street. Photo: jpellgen, CC some rights reserved

NY comptroller sees mixed year on Wall Street

Profits on Wall Street are going to be up this year, according to a new report from New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli. But he says they're still below their pre-recession highs.

The report also finds fewer job losses in the securities industry, but still many economic uncertainties ahead.  Go to full article

As local goverments struggle, NY State finances show signs of good health

Local governments in New York continue to flounder, but there are signs that the state's finances are improving as Governor Cuomo and his budget director Robert Megna announced last week that the state finally got an upgrade in an assessment from a major rating agency.

Standard & Poor's changed the state's outlook from "stable" to "positive". Megna says he hopes that lays the groundwork for an improvement in the state's credit rating, which has been ranked as weak for decades: "This outlook revision is professional evidence from an outside observer that New York is once again on the right track."  Go to full article
Tarry Tatro and Irene Clarke in front of the People's United branch
Tarry Tatro and Irene Clarke in front of the People's United branch

In Alburgh, Vermont, citizens recruit a bank

When you drive across the bridge from Rouse's Point, New York, into Vermont, the first town you hit is Alburgh. It's a small community, about 2,000 people. And its geography is unusual: it's on a peninsula that borders Quebec, is surrounded by Lake Champlain, and doesn't touch any land in the United States.

Alburgh may be small and isolated, but the People's United branch has been on Alburgh's Main Street for as long as most people can remember. And when the local bank announced it would close, townspeople decided that was just too isolated. Sarah Harris has our story.  Go to full article

Hacketts' bankruptcy no surprise

An iconic North Country retailer has filed for bankruptcy. Hacketts stores filed a petition for Chapter 11 bankruptcy yesterday. President and COO Herbert Becker said in a press release the move will allow the company to "assure its financial viability while repaying creditors". He said Hacketts intends to keep its existing stores in Ogdensburg, Massena, Tupper Lake, and Sackets Harbor open.

Hacketts was founded in Ogdensburg in the mid-1800s. At its peak two years ago, Hacketts had expanded to nine stores as far-flung as Pulaski and Hamilton. But that growth hid massive debt in Hacketts' parent company, Seaway Valley Capital Corporation, owned by Thomas Scozzafava, brother of Assemblywoman Dede Scozzafava. Martha Foley talks with David Sommerstein, who has reported extensively on Seaway Valley and Hacketts, about what the bankruptcy means.  Go to full article
The Canton store that was once Ames, then Wise Buys, then Hacketts -- now shuttered.
The Canton store that was once Ames, then Wise Buys, then Hacketts -- now shuttered.

Seaway Valley & Hacketts: a special report

This morning, we have a special report on how two North Country retailers, Hacketts and Wise Buys, came together in a shifting delta of deals and dreams. And debt, because this is a story of a bold idea for a homegrown venture gone sour. Republican Dede Scozzafava's run for Congress helped turned the spotlight on the business dealings of her brother, Tom, and her involvement in them. But the fortunes of Wise Buys and Hacketts had been in the headlines for years. They were joined two years ago in a new company, headed by Tom Scozzafava. Seaway Valley Capital Corporation has now absorbed other local businesses as well, including Sackets Harbor Brewery and Alteri's bakery in Watertown. Dede Scozzafava plays no active role in the company, but she is one of its most valued lenders. The company is now buried under $37 million in debt, double its assets. A look at the company's public filings shows a thicket of complex debt instruments, used to raise capital and pay off other loans. Stockholders have lost millions of dollars. As with all struggling companies, it wasn't supposed to turn out this way. In this special report, David Sommerstein untangles the complicated story of Seaway Valley, Hacketts, and Dede and Tom Scozzafava.  Go to full article
Assemblywoman Dede Scozzafava (R-Gouverneur)
Assemblywoman Dede Scozzafava (R-Gouverneur)

Dede Scozzafava: "I'm proud of my investment"

Seaway Valley Capital Corporation has become a concern in Assemblywoman Dede Scozzafava's campaign for Congress. According to her personal finance disclosure form, Scozzafava has at least $1 million invested in the company. Financial filings show her firm, Seaway Capital Partners, loaned Seaway Valley more than $400,000 last month.

Dede Scozzafava was mayor of her hometown of Gouverneur and has enjoyed broad support while serving in the state Assembly since 1999. Her public stature is often cited by investors as a factor in their decisions to buy stock in her brother's company. And now that their investments are nearly worthless, they want answers. "I can't defend any of that," Scozzafava says, "because I'm not involved in any decision making in the public company." Dede Scozzafava is vice-president and chief operating officer of Seaway Capital Partners, the firm that started Wise Buys in 2003. In 2007, Seaway Capital sold its share in Wise Buys to Seaway Valley in exchange for preferred shares of stock. Scozzafava told David Sommerstein she has always been just a "passive investor" in the new company.  Go to full article

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