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Banks: First quarter numbers from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation show Wisconsin's banks just completed their best first quarter since before the recession. Banks showed the highest overall earnings of any first quarter in four years, and more banks reported profits than in any quarter since March of 2008. Just over 8 percent of state banks reported losses in the first quarter, down from nearly 13 percent for the same period last year. Delinquent loans also fell to their lowest levels since the end of 2008, while the percentage of paid off bad loans fell to under 1 percent of total first quarter loans. One analyst says the number of foreclosure properties still owned by banks will remain a drag going forward, but state officials say growth in both earnings and capital shows a banking industry that's getting stronger. The state's largest bank, Green Bay-based Associated, reports the largest profit at just over $49 million; Guaranty Bank of Brown Deer and ISB Community of Ixonia report the largest losses at $5.7 million and $4.1 million, respectively.
Tribal casinos: The Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin's efforts to build an $800 million casino on the site of the former Dairyland Greyhound Park in Kenosha has long been tied up in the federal government, and now the project hits another snag after the tribe and its financing company announce a mutual decision to split. Reports say San Diego-based KMD Consulting Services failed to make monthly payments toward the tribe and the Dairyland property, while the tribe says it's already in discussions with two potential replacement partners -- and that the project will continue unabated. The Obama administration has said it would take another look at the Menominee's application, although final approval would be subject to review by the governor. Meanwhile, a proposal for another casino near the border -- this one in Beloit -- could be in jeopardy as lawmakers in Illinois consider a proposal to expand gaming in that state. The bill under consideration in the Illinois House names Rockford as a casino license site, and could spark a race to break ground first in the area as the Ho-Chunk Nation's Beloit plan moves through the regulatory process. Although the privately developed Rockford plan could proceed more quickly, the bill to authorize it faces an uncertain future. The Senate has yet to act on the House bill, and Gov. Pat Quinn has pledged a veto of that version.
Piggly Wiggly: A judge affiliated with the National Labor Relations Board orders the Sheboygan-based branch of the supermarket company to restore full-time status and benefits to 19 employees who received cuts last fall. The board agreed with the United Food & Commercial Workers Local 1473, which argued that Piggly Wiggly did not bargain in good faith by making the cuts just after the union's current contract expired in September. The union, which has been working without a new contract since that deal expired, also charged that the company failed to provide appropriate notice of the cuts or an opportunity to bargain over the changes. Company officials say they're disappointed but committed to complying with the decision. The decision is subject to appeal, and Piggly Wiggly Midwest says it is considering all options for the store in question on Sheboygan's south side.