Sunday, February 22, 2004

Queen City Rewind


The week in business news in Greater Cincinnati

HEADLINERS

Another local bank will disappear later this year when National City Corp. completes its purchase of Provident Financial Group Inc. From four big local banks in the late 1980s, the deal leaves Fifth Third as the only major bank headquartered in Cincinnati. Consumers are on watch as the region's bankers expect competition to heat up.

Bill Erpenbeck. From talking about probation two weeks ago, he now could face a jail sentence of nearly two centuries for bank fraud or obstruction of justice. Erpenbeck and his father, Tony, were indicted by a grand jury last week on the latter charges.

Some of the city's biggest business minds are working on financial difficulties at the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and other arts groups. The orchestra projects a $1.45 million operating deficit this year, and taking more money out of a shrinking endowment is "unsustainable," orchestra trustees say.

About 25,000 members of the National Baptist Convention USA will come to an expanded downtown convention center in 2008. It's still four years away, but the confab means filled hotel rooms and incentives toward community healing.

THE NAME GAME

U.S. Bank didn't waste much time buying a newspaper ad urging customers to leave rival Provident Bank because of the National City acquisition. Customers might remember the old First National Bank of Cincinnati, which became Star, then Firstar, then U.S. Bank. U.S. Bank is now based in Minneapolis.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK

"Is the city administration run by a bunch of fools? I don't know. That's irrelevant. The fact that you stick it to a dummy doesn't mean that you haven't stuck it to him. It's easier to defraud a dummy than a smart person." This is U.S. Magistrate David Perelman's rationale for denying bail to would-be developer LaShawn Pettus-Brown. City officials allege that Pettus-Brown received nearly $200,000 of city of Cincinnati money and reneged on a promise to renovate the Empire Theater in Over-the-Rhine.

APPLAUSE, APPLAUSE

A new $11 million venture investment may help Think3 Inc., the software company that moved here last fall, go public. This isn't the Internet bubble of 1999, but somebody's still investing money in the Internet revolution.




BUSINESS HEADLINES
Herbal entrepreneur proving that sex sells
Firms rally to image of U.S.
Delta faces long haul with pilots
Look Who's Talking: Kent Lutz
Local aims, global goals
Northlich, Willow get top ad awards
Counteracting the 'ugly American'
Tristate business notes
Consider customers' experience
Prepping for loan pays big dividends
Patients can tote data
Judge sides with film studios in DVD ruling
Queen City Rewind
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