Tuesday Trends sample: Credit unions rising, recycling grant program mixed and Hostess falling
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Credit unions: Wisconsin's state-chartered credit unions showed increases in net income and total assets in the first quarter of 2012, according to data compiled by the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions. Compared to the fourth quarter of 2011, Wisconsin's 199 state-chartered credit unions posted a net income of $49.4 million, an increase of 21.4 percent over the previous quarter and up 77.5 percent from a year earlier. They also grew their assets to $22.88 billion from $21.92 billion, an increase of 4.4 percent. The return on average assets ratio grew from 0.59 percent to 0.88 percent in the quarter, while net worth dipped slightly from 9.96 percent at the end of 2011 to 9.73 percent. DFI officials said that while lending was basically flat in the first quarter of 2012, credit unions were able to improve their net income through prudent expense management and a drop in delinquent loans.
Recycling grant program: The state's two largest cities file suit against the two top Walker administration officials late last week over what they argue were improper diversions from the state's segregated recycling grant program. In the complaint, filed Friday in Dane County court, the cities of Madison and Milwaukee allege that the state departments of Administration and Natural Resources took $13.1 million from the program in fiscal year 2010-2011 without any authorization from or oversight by the Legislature. The suit also charges that the state budget's use of so-called "tipping" fees for expenses unrelated to recycling violates the state constitution. The cities say the diversion effectively turned "an otherwise proper fee into an unconstitutional tax on individuals and municipalities." The Walker administration had previously argued that improvements in recycling markets and technology enabled the state to use some funding from tipping fees for economic development and other uses.
Hostess: The Ft. Worth-based cake company informs its 18,500-person workforce that their jobs could be at stake should the company's emergence from a Chapter 11 bankruptcy restructuring force a sale or shutdown of the business. According to filings with the state Department of Workforce Development last week, that warning includes up to 184 Wisconsin positions with Hostess or affiliate Interstate Brands. Those jobs are spread across nine cities: Brookfield, De Pere, Eau Claire, Greenfield, La Crosse, Madison, Oshkosh, Sheboygan and Wausau.