SC business notebook

January 9, 2013 

JP Morgan Chase lays off 400 Florence mortgage workers

JP Morgan Chase laid off 300 employees Monday at the Chase Mortgage Banking office in Florence, the Florence Morning News reported. The move came on the heels of an agreement between federal regulators and 10 of the nation’s largest banks, including JP Morgan Chase, to end an going review of foreclosure proceedings in the aftermath of the Great Recession. The $8.5 billion settlement, announced Monday, makes cash available for homeowners who might have been victims in the so-called “Robo-signing” abuses from 2009-11. In exchange, the feds agreed to end the foreclosure abuse review, which had been mandated by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency in 2011. The abuse review required lenders to find and compile thousands of loan record documents. Because the bank won’t need to compile the review documents, it won’t need as many workers in its mortgage divisions. Chase officials wouldn’t confirm a direct correlation between the layoffs and the settlement agreement, but spokesman Amy Bonitatibus of Chase Business Mortgage Banking said, “Fewer homeowners are falling behind on their mortgages, so we need fewer employees to assist those who are struggling. Affected employees will be offered severance packages based on years of service. The Florence office will continue to employ about 1,000.

American Roadside Burgers opens Saturday at Cross Hill Market

American Roadside Burgers opens at 11 a.m. Saturday at Cross Hill Market, the new Whole Foods-anchored shopping center on Fort Jackson Boulevard near Devine Street. The restaurant, designed to pay tribute to burger stands of the past, also will sell chicken sandwiches, wings and salads, as well as fries, onion rings, tater tots and mac and cheese. Desserts range from milkshakes to the company’s signature Lugnuts, warm powdered sugar doughnuts. The fast casual restaurant also will serve beer and wine and will feature outdoor dining on its patio.

Ports Authority asks for cruise terminal challenge to go straight to court

The South Carolina State Ports Authority has asked state regulators to allow a challenge to a permit for a new $35 million Charleston cruise terminal to head directly to court. The Department of Health and Environmental Control last month approved a permit to add new pilings under an existing riverfront warehouse for the new terminal. In doing so, regulators said the terminal doesn’t change what has been happening on the waterfront of a city that has had a port for centuries. Opponents of the city’s expanded cruise industry are appealing the permit and, at its meeting Thursday, the DHEC board will consider whether to review the issue.

Fire on new Boeing 787 started in battery

Boeing is confirming that a fire on one of its new 787s appears to have started in a battery, as scrutiny of the problem increases. Also Tuesday, the National Transportation Safety Board said it will send two more investigators to Boston to examine the Japan Airlines plane. The NTSB says the battery had “severe fire damage.” The fire happened on the ground Monday, with no passengers on board.

The Florence Morning News and The Associated Press contributed.

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