Business

Business
9:46 am
Thu August 2, 2012

Don't want a smart meter? You'll have to pay for privilege

The state's biggest electricity provider says customers who don't want a smart meter will have to pay extra for the privilege.

Smart meters use radio signals to allow two-way communication between a customer's residence and the utility.

The meters let utilities know immediately who has lost power, among other things.  The company will also be able to remotely shut off power and turn it back on. 

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Business
3:39 pm
Fri July 27, 2012

Commission: Funding available for women-owned businesses

Mindexpansion MorgueFile

More than half of new businesses in Michigan are started by women. But women may not be aware of funding available to them.

The Michigan Women's Commission says women tend to start smaller businesses, rather than big manufacturing firms. They generally go to their bank or credit union for loans.

Suzy Avery directs the Women's Commission.

She says there are other sources for loans or grants that have been specifically set aside for women-owned businesses.

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Business
5:26 pm
Wed July 25, 2012

More new faces for Detroit's downtown business district

First National Building
wikimedia commons

500 new employees moved into downtown Detroit’s First National Building Wednesday. City officials and business leaders say it’s yet another sign of Detroit’s resurgent business district. 

They held a pep rally of sorts to welcome the new employees downtown. They’re from the title insurance and property valuation company Title Source, which has plans to move another 1000 employees downtown  from the suburbs soon.

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Business
7:47 pm
Mon July 16, 2012

Federal consumer watchdog agency will scrutinize credit reporting industry

Richard Cordray addresses a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau field hearing at the Detroit Institute of Arts.
Sarah Cwiek Michigan Radio

The  Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will start keeping close tabs on credit reporting companies, the Bureau's President announced Monday.

Richard Cordray told a field hearing in Detroit that CFPB—a relatively new federal agency created in the wake of the 2007-8 financial crisis--will start monitoring the largest credit reporting companies “just like we examine big banks” in September.

He says there’s still a lot we don’t know about the credit reporting industry, because no federal agency has had access to all the relevant information.

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Business
2:38 pm
Sun July 15, 2012

Michigan losing $242M in untaxed online sales

New books
Flickr/Sarah Sosiak

Michigan's Treasury Department says the state will lose about $242 million in tax revenue from Amazon and other online retailers.

States have trouble collecting sales taxes from sellers that don't have a physical presence within their borders. Amazon owns Grand-Haven-based audio book publisher Brilliance Audio, but Treasury spokesman Terry Stanton says Michigan considers it a separate entity.

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Business
6:33 pm
Tue July 3, 2012

Weather Channel buys Weather Underground

The Weather Underground is now a part of the Weather Channel.

The Weather Underground began in 1995 as a tiny operation of four people from the University of Michigan. It has since grown to a staff of about 50.

President Alan Steremberg says being part of the Weather Channel will give his company more resources to develop new products like apps and videos.

He says both companies will benefit from pooling their scientific resources.

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Business
12:01 pm
Mon July 2, 2012

No big spike in gasoline prices expected this week

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

AAA predicts 1.4 million Michiganders will travel during the Fourth of July holiday.

Most of them will be driving. GasBuddy.com says drivers should not expect to see a big spike in gasoline prices.

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Business
11:01 pm
Sun July 1, 2012

Michigan State University study finds Americans don't like to haggle online

More than a million Michiganders will be traveling during the Fourth of July holiday period. Many of them made hotel reservations online.

A Michigan State University professor says making online hotel reservations is an unsatisfactory experience for many people.

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Business
12:59 pm
Sat June 30, 2012

Improving Michigan's ports, waterways could generate jobs

MEDC

Michigan's agriculture leaders gathered in Detroit recently to talk about how the state's ports and waterways can be used more effectively.

Michigan's agriculture industry generates about $91 billion a year. But some think transportation of the state's products could be improved.

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Business
2:47 pm
Wed June 27, 2012

Benton Harbor, St. Joseph resort plan secures some funding

The Entrance to the Harbor Shores Clubhouse, part of the $575 million Harbor Shores project planned for Benton Harbor and St. Joseph
Harbor Shores Facebook.com

St. Joseph-based developer Edgewater Resources is reportedly in the process of raising $70 million for a new resort on the city's river.

The Wall Street Journal reports:

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Business
1:01 pm
Mon June 18, 2012

Michigan leaders seek business partnerships with Turkey

Turkish flag
user alexeyklyukin flickr

Michigan and Turkey share a passion for cars, spend a lot of time farming, love entertaining visitors and both have a close connection with water.

More than 50 Michigan leaders went to Turkey earlier this month for a four-day conference titled the “Turkey-Michigan Forum: University-Industry Collaboration and R&D Trends.” Attendees came from the private sector, public sector and academia.

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Business
8:39 am
Thu June 14, 2012

New campaign asks Ann Arbor visitors to stop giving money to panhandlers

beta-gibbs.pcsb.org

New posters in downtown Ann Arbor businesses will ask visitors to stop giving money to panhandlers.  The effort by the mayor's office and businesses asks people to give money to local resources for the homeless instead. 

The posters say panhandlers often use the money to buy drugs and alcohol.  This concerns some local homeless residents.  They say this isn't always the case.  

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Business
5:00 am
Mon June 11, 2012

What The Truck? Grand Rapids considers new regulations for food trucks

'What The Truck' parked near the Fulton Street Farmers' Market on Saturday. The food truck owners say the proposed regulations for food trucks in the city are too restrictive.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

This week Grand Rapids officials will debate whether food trucks should be allowed in the city. People will get a chance to weigh in on the proposed rules Tuesday night. The rules would allow food trucks but limit when and where they could operate.

Right now food trucks have to part of a special event, like ArtPrize for example. But some have found a way to operate in a sort of legal grey area under the same rules that mobile ice cream trucks operate.

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Business
12:00 pm
Sat June 9, 2012

Detroit Bus Co. officially up and running

Detroit Bus Co. Facebook page

Downtown Detroit gets a new transportation option this weekend with the official launch of the Detroit Bus Company - a privately owned service launched by 25-year-old entrepreneur Andy Didorosi.

For $5, you get an all-day pass to ride. Right now, Didorosi is offering customers service on a 13-stop downtown loop.

"And then after that's successful and has a good ridership we plan to add our Royal Oak-Ferndale-Hamtramck-Detroit loop very quickly, because we have a lot of demand for that one," Didorosi said.

The Detroit Bus Company will run Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, and during Detroit Tigers home games.

Didorosi says he hopes to someday be put out of business by reliable public transit.

Business
1:42 pm
Tue May 29, 2012

Protecting your social media privacy (from your boss)

State lawmakers are discussing whether to limit employers' ability to demand passwords to social media sites.

A bill would bar companies from asking employees or job applicants to hand over passwords to their Twitter, Facebook or other accounts.

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Business
1:11 pm
Thu May 24, 2012

Amway to build new facility, add jobs, in Michigan

Headquarters of Amway in Ada, Michigan
amyway.com

Amway plans to spend up to $81 million to build a new facility in West Michigan.

The direct-sales company says it received a $1.6 million grant from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation for the project. The new facility will manufacture and process vitamins and supplements for Amway's Nutrilite brand.

From their press release:

This investment includes a new $81 million nutrition plant at the company's Spaulding Avenue site in Ada, Michigan, near Amway World Headquarters. The new plant is expected to create 200 jobs over the next three years.

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) today approved a $1.6 million Michigan Business Development Program incentive from the Michigan Strategic Fund (MSF) to support construction of this nutrition products manufacturing facility for Access Business Group LLC, an affiliate of Amway.

Amway says it employs 4,000 people in Michigan. Amway was started in 1959 by Rich DeVos and Jay Van Andel.

Business
10:55 am
Thu May 24, 2012

AP: US Supreme Court rules in favor of Detroit-based Quicken Loans

flicker.com user:trame

 WASHINGTON (AP) - The Supreme Court says home loan applicants cannot sue a mortgage company for charging them a loan discount fee without giving them a loan discount.

The high court on Thursday unanimously ruled for Quicken Loans, which was fighting a lawsuit from Tammy and Larry Freeman and other families. The company argued Congress wrote the law to say only that the fee would be illegal if Quicken split it with someone else. The justices, in an opinion written by Justice Antonin Scalia, agreed.

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Business
11:02 pm
Thu May 17, 2012

Officials break ground for new retail complex in Detroit

Detroit Mayor Dave Bing and Governor Rick Snyder and the Gateway Shopping Center groundbreaking ceremony.
Sarah Cwiek Michigan Radio

Calling it the first such new retail development in the city in decades, officials broke ground on the site of a future 36-acre shopping center Thursday.

Detroiters have long noted the city’s lack of many quality shopping options—especially when it comes to buying groceries.

Officials hope the Gateway Shopping Center--on the former Michigan State fairgrounds at 8 Mile and Woodward-- will help fill some of that void.

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Business
5:50 pm
Thu May 17, 2012

State AG officially wades into Lansing casino fight

State Attorney General Bill Schuette has officially lodged his opposition to a proposed Lansing casino with the federal government.

The attorney general sent a letter to the U.S. Department of the Interior about the Sault Sainte Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians' casino plan.

The tribe is in the middle of a land deal with the city of Lansing. That's the first step toward a planned $245 million casino near the state Capitol.

In the letter, Schuette says the state "is gravely concerned about the consequences" of allowing the casino to operate. He says it would justify the operation of a casino far from the tribe's reservation lands. The same tribe - which is based in the Upper Peninsula - already operates a casino in Detroit.

Schuette's letter says the tribe's plan violates state and federal law.

The tribe disagrees. A spokesman says the tribe plans to vigorously pursue its right to do the project.

Once the land sale is complete, the tribe will ask the federal government to take the land into trust. That would allow the tribe to conduct gaming on that land. A court fight is expected.

Business
5:46 pm
Mon May 14, 2012

Ally Bank to sell some assets, place another in bankruptcy, to pay off taxpayers

Detroit's Ally Bank, formerly known as GMAC, says it will sell off foreign subsidiaries and put its mortgage division into bankruptcy, in an attempt to pay back its government bailout.

The U.S. Treasury gave more than $17 billion to GMAC when it bailed out GM.

The money was meant to prevent the collapse of loan availability for GM vehicles and GM dealers.

So far, GMAC, now Ally Bank, has paid back $ 5.5 billion.   

But it was unclear how the company would pay back the rest. Its mortgage arm loses money every quarter on subprime mortgage loans made before the bank crisis of 2008.

Now Ally says it will put its mortgage division into bankruptcy, and sell off foreign subsidiaries.   The company says that will allow it to repay a total of 2/3 of what it owes the Treasury before the end of the year, leaving a balance of about $6 billion. 

Ally officials say they will provide bankruptcy financing for the mortgage arm, known as Res Cap, and strike a financial deal with the company's creditors, so that Ally can come out of the mortgage division's bankruptcy with no additional liabilities.

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