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Another Memphis bank repays TARP

Another Memphis bank is TARP-less.

Magna Bank has redeemed the shares Uncle Sam bought from the bank a few years ago as the economy was in danger of becoming completely unmoored and an industry-wide rescue of the banking sector became necessary.

Magna issued 14,485 preferred shares to the U.S. Treasury in December 2008. As of June 30, Magna had redeemed all but 7,575 of those shares.

The U.S. Treasury informed Magna at the end of July that its application for participation in the Small Business Lending fund had been preliminarily approved, so Magna used that money to help redeem the rest of the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) shares. Meaning the bank can now return to business as usual, in a manner of speaking.

Of the three largest banks based in Memphis (in descending order: First Tennessee Bank, Independent Bank and Magna Bank) only First Tennessee and Magna accepted a TARP investment.

And both have now repaid it.

Magna’s TARP repayment was part of a wave of TARP repayment by 22 small and community banks that was made possible recently by borrowing from the government’s Small Business Lending Fund.

Gibson Guitars vs. Uncle Sam

Lots of people have retweeted and Facebooked about the story I wrote in Monday’s edition of The Daily News related to the fed’s recent raid of Gibson Guitar facilities in Memphis and Nashville.

It’s because the news took an unexpected turn with some seemingly off the cuff remarks at a press conference by Gibson’s CEO. He touched on a debate that’s increasingly spreading around the country about the size, power and limits of the federal government.

Gibson, for their part, is still hitting that theme hard.

@gibsonguitar tweeted on Monday: “Plz Retweet! Support Gibson Guitar vs. unreasonable raid by Feds by becoming a Gibson fan on Facebook: “http://t.co/Y0rpZKi

On Gibson’s Facebook page, one user wrote: “I think it would be cool if you guys should make a limited edition guitar that has a Don’t Tread On Me flag on it to symbolize the injustice done to the company recently. Just a thought.”

AutoZone breaks a record

One Memphis-based public company is doing so well that last Wednesday, its triple-digit stock price hit a record.

An all-time high, to be more specific.

AutoZone shares closed at $304.10. Just in the last six months, the stock is up a little more than 14 percent.

AutoZone reports fourth quarter earnings Sept. 20. The consensus expectation among analysts is that the company will report a profit of $6.95 per share, up from $5.66 during the same period in 2010.

In other words, the Memphis-based auto parts retailer remains firmly in the zone.

 

 

(UPDATE: A few hours after posting this, AutoZone roared past the high I noted above and topped $306 during trading Monday.)

The Power of the Pyramid?

 

The futures of The Pyramid and the soon to be merged city and county schools systems have again crossed paths.

When The Pyramid was just an idea in the late 1980s, it was common for civic leaders to talk about the “power of The Pyramid.” Yes, this was among the phrases that passed for legitimate political discourse at the time as long as it was coupled with another phrase – “world class” — to describe the next bricks and mortar structure that was going to do for Memphis what Memphians themselves couldn’t do for the city.

It turns out there may be something to the “power of The Pyramid” after all. There is certainly an alignment of timelines.

Bass Pro Shops has set a new target date for the reopening of The Pyramid for August 2013. As that was happening, U.S. District Court Judge Hardy Mays ruled in the schools consolidation case and set the start of the schools merger for the beginning of the 2013-2014 school year which will also be August of 2013.

As Bass Pro Shops set the new reopening date for The Pyramid, the city of Memphis announced as part of the deal that construction work for the adapative reuse of The Pyramid would begin Oct. 1.

As all of the attorneys for all of the players in the schools consolidation lawsuit were in mediation just a few feet away from City Hall at the federal building, the settlement they came up with included a new 23-member school board – all nine Memphis City Schools board members, all seven Shelby County Schools board members and seven new board members to be appointed by the Shelby County Commission. And what date did the parties in the lawsuit set as the start date for the new countywide school board – Oct. 1.

So far, no one has used the phrase “world class” to describe the merged school system to come in two years. But with a 23-member school board, some on the board could have a real problem being heard — yet another Pyramid parallel.

 

 

Pinnacle’s move is weather permitting

In today’s edition of The Daily News, we discussed the past, present and future fate of Downtown’s historical One Commerce Square.

Pinnacle Airlines began its move to the landmark tower Aug. 8. So far, about 156 employees have relocated from Nonconnah Corporate Center near Memphis International Airport. Come December, One Commerce will house 650 associates of the Memphis-based airline.

Last fall, we reported the logistical challenges involved in moving Pinnacle’s control center from point A to point B in one fell swoop. Unlike the tower’s other portfolio of tenants – including Independent Bank, Great American Steamboat Co., and a pending restaurant provider – Pinnacle’s move is weather permitting, said spokesman Joe Williams.

“Construction is still going on and we don’t really plan to move (the control center) until probably sometime in the October time frame,” Williams said. “The end of the summer flying season would be over by then and it would be prior to the time when historically airlines experience snow and bad weather and that sort of thing, particularly in the Northeast, where we do a lot of flying.”

Dansette

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