Article Title Issue

What was it Deep Throat said?

The awarding of Pulitzer Prizes tends to be, by design, a low-key affair.


Regional Report Charlotte January 2010

As quickly as it came, Charlotte’s claim to being the real headquarters of the nation’s 14th-largest bank holding company vanished.


With a side of business

Business people, if they were honest with themselves, would have to admit to being the biggest self-help junkies around.

Hot Stocks for 2009

Plenty of words come to mind to summarize the stock market last year. But which one does it best? “Brutal,” says Frank Jolley, president of Jolley Asset Management in Rocky Mount. “Unfortunate,” says John Woodard, president of Woodard & Company Asset Management Group in Advance. “Fascinating,” says Bobby Edgerton, president of Capital Investment Counsel in Raleigh and possibly a fugitive from the planet Vulcan.

Legal Elite - Bankruptcy

2009 Legal Elite winner: Bankruptcy - Holmes P. Harden, Williams Mullen, Raleigh

Legal Elite - Tax/Estate planning

2009 Legal Elite winner: Tax/Estate Planning - Christy Eve Reid, Robinson, Bradshaw & Hinson PA, Charlotte

Looking under the TARP

Having trouble figuring out the rhyme and reason buried within the federal government’s Troubled Asset Relief Program? Me, too.

To go boldly

As this is written on deadline, early one morning 13 days before Christmas, the Three Kings from Detroit have been told there is no room for them at the inn.

‘The tragedy of life is not that man Loses but that he almost Wins’

G. Kennedy Thompson, the small-town son of a North Carolina mill manager, ascended to the top ranks of America’s financial industry — and thus the world’s top ranks, considering that all currencies lead to Wall Street — only to fall to earth with the spectacular collapse of his bank.

He doesn’t take plastic

I wanted to see the Old West, but it looked as if my initial vista might be through the bars of a hoosegow. I’d rented a car through a travel agency in Charlotte, and in the Albuquerque airport, the unhappy man behind the Hertz counter explained: No credit card, no keys.

Regional Report Eastern December 2008

Eric Bergevin knows banking’s situation is grave, but he believes that makes it a good time to start a bank unencumbered with bad loans, ruptured mortgages and gummy liquidity.

Born to run

After my haircut, Hamp Dowdy would strop his razor — punctuated by a harrumph and spit of tobacco juice into his coffee can — and shave around my ears. Then he’d shake talc on a horsehair brush and swab my neck as if beating out a brushfire. My dad would squeeze his thick wallet out of his bib overalls and give the old barber a dollar. All of which helps explain why I just took part in a bank run.

Down for the count

A few blocks away, in an executive suite 40 floors above damp streets, Bob Steel starts another day as his company’s last best hope. Just two months ago, the Durham native and former Wall Street investment banker had been lured from the Treasury Department and given a task as daunting as this day: Fix Wachovia Corp., the nation’s fourth-largest bank holding company, whose home here, along with BofA’s, makes this the nation’s No. 2 money center.

Economic outlook

Tar Heels were no better off last year than at the start of the decade, according to the North Carolina Justice Center, a Raleigh nonprofit. Median household income stood about where it did in 2000. During that time, the percentage of residents in poverty and those without health insurance grew.

Riding the bull



When a big deal means little

I like to think of myself as an Average Joe Six-Pack, but I know that’s not truly the case. I have a taste for decent red wines, I shop at Harry & David, and — God bless my conservative-leaning soul — I’m even an occasional guest on my local National Public Radio affiliate, so as to maintain my media-elite street cred. But let me nonetheless don the clothes of A.J. Six-Pack here to pose this question: How is a bigger, more powerful, Merrill Lynch-owning Bank of America good for me?

Gain amid the pain

Ken Thompson wasn’t the only chief executive of a big Tar Heel company forced out in the past year, and given the pain shareholders are feeling, more might go.

Parting is such sweet sorrow

It was clear Ken Thompson was in trouble, just not how much. Shares of Charlotte-based Wachovia Corp. had plunged, losing more than half their value as its 2006 purchase of mortgage lender Golden West dragged down earnings and the nation’s housing crisis deepened. The company had slashed its dividend 41%. When he relinquished his title as chairman, it was ostensibly to concentrate on his role as CEO to right the company. Yet less than a month later, the board forced him to retire.

Regional Report Charlotte August 2008

Durham native Robert Steel, 56, former vice chairman of Goldman Sachs and undersecretary of the U.S. Department of Treasury, became CEO of Charlotte-based Wachovia in July. He has a big mess to clean up. The bank expected to lose nearly $3 billion in the second quarter. What kind of leader did it get?

Economic outlook

The U.S. economy has softened, but there's no hard evidence it's in recession - defined by many economists as at least two straight quarters of decline in real gross domestic product.