Whirlpool opens campus in Michigan
Whirlpool Corp. has announced the opening of its new, state-of-the-art Riverview Campus in Benton Harbor, Mich.
"With the opening of this beautiful and spacious campus, we are looking forward to a continued future with the city of Benton Harbor, which we have been proud to call home for over 100 years," said Jeff Fettig, chairman and CEO. "The Riverview Campus allows Whirlpool Corp. to deliver on improvements in productivity, operations, energy efficiency and overall employee experience."
An investment of $70 million, the Riverview Campus, which is located at 600 W. Main St. in Benton Harbor and covers 245,275 sq. ft., is registered with the U.S. Green Building Council and is seeking LEED Gold certification.
Construction began with a groundbreaking ceremony in November 2010, as part of the company’s plan to consolidate its 15 owned and leased facilities into three centralized office campuses. The three campuses now include the existing Administrative Center and Technology Center Campuses, as well as the multiple building Riverview Campus. The company also plans to retain its Hilltop South offices at 150 Hilltop Rd. in St. Joseph and the Harbor Town offices at 145 East Main St., Benton Harbor.
In addition to the Michigan campus, Whirlpool continues to invest in U.S. manufacturing jobs and $1 billion in its U.S. footprint from 2010 to 2014, including:
• A new $200 million production facility and distribution center recently opened in Cleveland, adding 130 new jobs to the work force there.
• Acquisition of the former WC Wood facility in Ottawa, Ohio, adding about 400 jobs and bringing total employment in the State of Ohio to approximately 10,000.
• A $175 million investment in the company’s Clyde, Ohio laundry facilities, which produce energy- and water-efficient laundry products.
• A $20 million investment in its Amana, Iowa, refrigeration plant to drive improved productivity and efficiency.
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NRF: Swipe fees haven’t dropped enough
The National Retail Federation is responding to a report from the Federal Reserve, which revealed that debit card swipe fees collected by the nation’s largest banks have significantly dropped since reform regulations took effect last fall.
The Federal Reserve’s report showed that the average debit card swipe fee charged by large banks covered under last year’s regulations dropped to an average of 24 cents in the fourth quarter of 2011, down from an average of 43 cents in 2009. Debit swipe fees for banks with less than $10 billion in assets, which were not covered by the regulations, remained unchanged as expected.
The NRF, however, said the decrease in swipe fees charged is not enough and expressed disappointment over this result.
"We believe the numbers for the big banks are too high and had the Fed followed the law there would be significantly greater savings for merchants and their customers," NRF SVP and general counsel Mallory Duncan said. "This is working the way the Fed set it up to work, but the Fed didn’t fully comply with what Congress required. This is better than paying the full monopoly prices we paid before but they are still partial monopoly prices."
This is true. In fact,
This is true. In fact, restrictions on swipe fees, or fees banking institutions charge merchants on debit card transactions, have begun to take impact. As a result, interchange fee income has begun to drop at some of the nation's largest banking institutions. Source for this article: Interchange fee revenue plummets for banks.
March pending home sales rise
The Pending Home Sales Index, a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings, rose 4.1% to 101.4 in March from an upwardly revised 97.4 in February and is 12.8% above March 2011 when it was 89.9, according to the National Association of Realtors. The data reflect contracts but not closings.
The index is now at the highest level since April 2010 when it was 111.3.
“First-quarter sales closings were the highest first-quarter sales in five years,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist. “The latest contract signing activity suggests the second quarter will be equally good.
“The housing market has clearly turned the corner. Rising sales are bringing down inventory and creating much more balanced conditions around the county, which means home prices will be rising in more areas as the year progresses,” he added.
The PHSI in the Northeast slipped 0.8% to 78.2 in March but is 21.1% above March 2011. In the Midwest, the index declined 0.9% to 93.3 but is 16.9% higher than a year ago. Pending home sales in the South rose 5.9% to an index of 114.1 in March and are 10.6% above March 2011. In the West, the index increased 8.7% in March to 108.0 and is 9.0% above a year ago.
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