Ent, ADP joining forces for payroll processing

Filed under: Banking & Finance |

Ent Federal Credit Union is partnering with Automatic Data Processing and will begin processing business payrolls.

The deal also enables Ent to offer tax compliance, time and labor management and human resource services.

Wayne Paton, Ent vice-president of small business and corporate services, said the service will streamline the payroll process and reduce risks for members, while saving time and money.

Ent will have access to ADP’s more than 1,400 member service associates .

U.S. Bank celebrates

U.S. Bank has a lot to be happy about.

The nation’s sixth largest financial institution has pushed the number of its grocery store branches past 500 and boasts a 38 percent increase in Small Business Administration loans.

The bank is opening five grocery store branches in California, Colorado, Oregon and Tennessee. One of the new Colorado branches is inside the Safeway in Conifer.

U.S. Bank has the third-largest in-store banking network in the nation, behind Wells Fargo with 630 branches and Citizens Bank with 514.

The bank provided a record 4,703 SBA loans to small businesses during 2006.

U.S. Bank ranked second in the nation among SBA bank lenders and third overall among bank and non-bank SBA lenders in loan dollar volume, according to the SBA.

The bank ranked sixth nationally in overall loan volume.

BofA online trading grows

The Bank of America free online stock trading program has increased its reach.

Last week, the bank expanded the program to seven additional states, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and Washington D.C., and said it is speeding up the program’s nationwide introduction.

The program allows investors to make up to 30 free online equity trades per month if they deposit at least $25,000 in Bank of America accounts.

The bank hopes the program will encourage consumers to do more business at its more than 5,700 branches.

Compass: remote deposit

Compass Bank has introduced a remote deposit service that allows business clients to deposit checks electronically.

Customers can scan checks they wish to deposit using a certified scanner. After balancing and verifying the deposits, the deposit is transmitted to the bank via the Internet. The process usually takes a few minutes to complete.

Compass Bank operates one branch in Colorado Springs and nine in Denver, as well as 412 branches nationwide.

Technology stocks on rise

Performance of technology stocks spiked during the last half of 2006, and analysts believe the trend will continue into 2007.

Technology stocks climbed nearly 22 percent during the last 12 months on the Nasdaq Composite Index and about 13 percent on the Standard and Poor’s 500.

Analysts predict that gains in corporate productivity, coupled with the idea that many large companies are overdue to invest in new technology, will propel stock performance next year

Less than a decade ago, about seven countries regularly invested in technology stocks. Today, about 30 countries do.

One of the biggest and most watched stocks is expected to be Microsoft Corp., because it plans to launch its Vista operating system in January.

SEC targets senior fraud

The Securities and Exchange Commission filed an emergency enforcement action last week against a New York.-based adviser and two of his corporations to stop a scheme that has bilked $2 million from at least seven investors, most of whom are senior citizens.

Peter J. Dawson, BMG Advisory Services Inc. and Ethan Thomas Co. Inc. were charged with making fraudulent solicitations and misappropriating funds.

The SEC is seeking temporary restraining orders to freeze the defendants’ assets, require them to provide financial statements and prohibit them from committing future violations.

The complaint also seeks a final judgment assessing civil penalties and orders the defendants to repay their illegal gains.

The SEC claims that instead of investing money, Dawson misappropriated funds, withdrawing more than $100,000 of his clients’ money for his own use.

Hedge fund competition

Goldman Sachs Group is the largest hedge fund money manager in the nation, with about $29.5 billion in assets, according to a study by Chicago-based Hedge Fund Research Inc.

The study ranked hedge funds in six investment strategies — emerging markets, distressed, event driven, long and short equity, fixed income and macro — and ranked about 9,000 hedge fund management firms with holdings totaling $1.34 trillion.

The study also revealed that the nation’s largest banks continue to claim a bigger piece of the hedge fund market, and that large investment firms are continuing to grow.

One standout, Morgan Stanley bought stakes in two hedge-fund firms and purchased a third.

Because of the growth and increased competition, fewer firms are boasting standout profits.

As of Sept. 30, the average hedge fund was up 7.1 percent compared to last year.

Rob Larimer covers banking and finance for the Colorado Springs Business Journal.