Business Notebook, March 27

March 26, 2013 

Bi-Lo will lay off workers at Mauldin headquarters

Bi-Lo is laying off more than 100 workers at its former corporate headquarters in Mauldin. Spokesman Brian Wright said Monday 130 employees were being laid off starting next month because of the company’s merger with Winn-Dixie. Bi-Lo LLC bought the Jacksonville, Fla.-based grocery store chain in 2011 for $560 million. The newly merged company will be based in Florida. Mauldin Mayor Dennis Raines says the news is troubling but says he’s been assured by Bi-Lo officials that the company will not pull out of the city entirely. Bi-Lo was founded in South Carolina in 1961. In 2010, the company completed a financial restructuring and emerged from bankruptcy protection.

American Express, Wal-Mart prepaid cards now backed by FDIC

American Express and Wal-Mart announced Tuesday that their prepaid debit card accounts will now be backed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., making them one of the last major providers to sign on to the government backstop. This is a significant move for the prepaid card market as it matures into a viable financial services industry, one that has experienced remarkable growth in recent years. Unlike checking accounts that carry up to $250,000 in mandatory deposit insurance per customer, reloadable prepaid cards are under no such obligation. A vast majority of card operators opt for the coverage, but until now American Express had not.

T-Mobile to carry iPhone 5 in April

T-Mobile will start offering the iPhone 5 on April 12. The company is currently the only major U.S. carrier not to offer Apple’s popular smartphone. At an event in New York on Tuesday, CEO John Legere said the lack of an iPhone “was such a huge void in our device portfolio.” T-Mobile is charging $100 up front, then another $20 per month for two years, on top of the service fees for voice, text and data that start at $50 per month – cheaper than others. Customers could leave T-Mobile during that time, but would still have to pay the installments.

Cyprus banks could reopen Thursday

Cypriot businesses were under increasing strain to keep running on Tuesday after financial authorities stretched the country’s bank closure into a second week in a harried attempt to stop depositors rushing to drain their accounts. Cyprus’s central bank governor, Panicos Demetriades, said “superhuman efforts are being made” to open banks on Thursday. “Temporary” restrictions will be imposed on financial transactions once the banks do, he said, but would not specify what they would be.

The Associated Press and The Washington Post contributed.

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